One Writer’s Story

When I was little and people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always the same: a writer and illustrator.

I dropped the illustrator part once I got to third grade and realized that my art skills weren’t good enough to get me into the advanced art classes, but I never faltered on my desire to be a writer when I grew up.

I wrote a Thanksgiving play in fourth grade for my family to perform. I had a TV in my room, but rather than watching TV after I finished my homework, I wrote short stories and read.

Once I got to high school, I took the minimum of math and science classes required by the fine state of New Jersey and instead bulked up on my English and foreign language classes. I took Spanish, French and Russian!

This whole foreign language thing confused my career path for a bit–did I want to be a linguist? A diplomat? Something else I could do with my foreign language skills? I looked for colleges that had strong language programs, but I ultimately chose American for its Foreign Language and Communication Media program, which basically amounted to a major in print journalism and a minor in Spanish. From the first journalism class I took with the brilliant Jane Hall, I knew I wanted to pursue writing as a career when I grew up.

I’d wanted to work for Vogue growing up, but going to American, in the heart of our nation’s capital, I fell into writing about politics and fell head over heels for it. I stayed in D.C. for three years after I graduated, and I worked for Campaigns & Elections magazine, covering the business of, well, campaigns and elections. I was writing about important developments in the political industry for political insiders–and I loved it.

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From a media dinner way back when.

In early 2008, I was depressed and ready to change my life. I left my job and moved to New Jersey and moved in with my parents for three months while I got my feet back on the ground. I’d always wanted to work for magazines, and save for a few exceptions, there’s no other place to do that than NYC, home to all the major publishing houses.

I sent my resume to any opening I could find at Hearst, Conde Nast, Meredith, you name it. A friend from D.C. set me up for a coffee with a friend of his from New York magazine, a place I would have died to work for–until this editor told me I’d be qualified for an internship.

Wait, what? I was 25 years old, and I’d written cover and feature stories for a national magazine. I’d edited a network of websites in the early primary states. (R.I.P., C&E State Network.) I had three years of solid magazine experience and a few years of good internships.

Right. At a trade magazine, he told me.

It was then that I realized that my dreams of working for a sexy, glossy magazine, a magazine that I’d find on a newsstand, might have to be edited, just a bit.

I took a job at a legal magazine, covering intellectual property law. I covered a lot of copyright issues, which, of course, involve media, and I was genuinely interested in this job–until I got laid off.

Within two weeks, I was working for another magazine at the company, covering legal technology. I was significantly less interested in this, and this is also when I decided to start to change my life.

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Thumbs up for life changes.

I started losing weight, and I started this blog.

I knew when I started a blog, I wanted to do it right. I wanted to put my all into it. I’d started several blogs before this one, but my heart wasn’t in it, and I never stuck with them, but now I know that’s because I just didn’t find something that ignited a passion inside of me like health and fitness have.

I love writing for you guys, but here is another 2012 resolution of mine: to write more, and for a larger audience.

My job is tremendously fulfilling, and I love it, but I also miss being published. I’ve written for Glamour.com, WomansDay.com, and LearnVest.com, (in addition to serving on staff for Campaigns & Elections, IP Law & Business and Law Technology News, where I wrote quite a lot) and I want to add to that list in 2012. I want to continue to bring that passion for health, fitness, nutrition and running to more people.

One more thing. 2012 is also the year I finish my book proposal.

21 comments on “One Writer’s Story

  1. Kimra

    I love this! I also started out writing for work, and it’s still how I identify myself in many ways. I need to figure out ways to keep writing in my life now that it isn’t my profession.

    You go, BOOK PROPOSAL AUTHOR. (I’m dying to know what the book is! Obviously.)

    Reply
  2. Katie

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I can’t say more…just do it [thanks NIKE]. Do what you love.

    I once read an interview with Andre 3000 from Outkast (funny, I know. He’s actually quite interesting). He said “Find your purpose. Do it to the death. Share it with everyone who wants to experience it. Better yourself with every chance you get.” It seems like your following his words without even realizing it.

    Keep it up!

    Reply
  3. Dana

    I went to AU too (Kogod-International Business)! I always wanted to be in something creative such as marketing/advertising/writing, but with some kind of international focus. I also knew I didn’t want to stay in DC. Well, flash forward to graduation and the first job offer I got offered me a way to NYC so I took it even though I knew it most likely wouldn’t fulfill me and wouldn’t be what i wanted long term (~7 months in and I know I was right about that!). Sad as it may be, the best part of my work day is reading Google Reader on my phone while listening to conference calls.
    I realized I was learning so much and getting so much enjoyment from reading blogs that I should try it for myself as an outlet for all the things I love but don’t get to deal with on a daily basis. I’m so new to blogging, but so far I am loving having a proactive hobby that focuses on what I really enjoy (though I still have so so much to learn about it!)and who knows, maybe one day in the future it will lead me to a career in something I do love.
    Congrats on the decision to do a book proposal (so exciting :)!!

    Reply
  4. Gina

    You always have to continue to pursue what you love! You’re so lucky that you have identified a passion in yourself, because not everyone has that. You have to embrace that unique quality, and always push toward doing that! Good for you!

    Reply
  5. Life's a Bowl

    You’ve accomplished so much already! Can’t wait to read future stories on the blog and other publications 😀

    P.S. Did you go to college in DC before living here? I grew up here and happily moved back after college 🙂

    Reply
  6. Kim K

    so damn exciting!!!!! congratulations on all the accomplishments thus far! i always wanted to be an english teacher and a short story writer – instead i work in finance, write a blog, and am part of a bookclub. man i wonder what would have been if i had made some different choices!

    Reply
  7. Lizzy

    Love this post! & I feel like I just learned so much about you even though we went to school together and have known each other for years. I’ve always been a big believer in chasing your dreams and going after them. You’ve proved to us over and over again how capable you are of doing this. I wish you the best of luck in 2012…I am always here cheering for you! Xo

    Reply
  8. Shannon

    Great, great post. I feel like that time after college when we sort of “fall into” careers is tough – our jobs may not line up with what we want to do eventually, and it can be so difficult to change paths. Good for you for taking charge and pursuing what you know you want to do!

    (I always wanted to be a writer too. I “fell into” social media marketing and ended up really liking it. Thank god for blogs, which let us write as much as we want!)

    Reply
  9. Gwen

    I was just thinking about this today at the gym. Even when I was little I wanted to be a journalist. It varied from print to TV, but always loved the media. I too hope to write a book one day. Go girl! And go Eagles! AU 2003 right here!

    Reply
  10. Kay Bee

    Love this entry! I also started blogging when I started to lose satisfaction with my job and needed an outlet. I also admire you for how far you’ve come on your weight loss journey, as it’s something I’m working on as well. I’m sure you’ll accomplish your goal for this year and can’t wait to see it in print!

    Reply
  11. Debra

    I also have had several blogs but none of them feel as right as the one I’m writing now. Thanks for sharing how you got “here”. It definitely gives me hope.

    Reply

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