“Because, in truth, I didn’t become a writer the first time I put pen to paper or when I finished my first book (easy) or my second one (hard). You see, in my view a writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway. Wasn’t until that night when I was faced with all those lousy pages that I realized, really realized, what it was exactly that I am.”
– Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” featured in Oprah.com
My latest story, about luxury condo auctions, is now up: “At Brooklyn’s first luxury condo auction, agent advises ‘buyer beware.'”
To get an idea just how long it had been since I’d written an article, my last one was published in January.
But I didn’t sit idle long. I moved back home to Richmond, saved money, had a two-month stint at a law firm (yeah, I’m not kidding), ran a 5k (a big feat for this former non-runner and couch potato), created my online portfolio (still under construction, but I’m so excited to publish it!) and moved to New York to freelance.
I like staying busy, what can I say?
Coming up with the lede used to be my favorite activity. I’d usually have one in my head before I even sat down to write the story. This time, I was intimidated. I hadn’t written one in so long, I felt I’d forgotten how to do it. I probably fudged with the introductory paragraph for about an hour (which is what newswriting 101 tells you NOT to do), and the rest came out in halting spurts of jumbled thoughts. Still, the key is practice, and I already have another assignment to tackle.
As my editor said, it’s like riding a bicycle.
“Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. … It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head — even if in the end you conclude that someone else’s head is not a place you’d really like to be.”
— Malcolm Gladwell, “What the Dog Saw”