Monday, January 24, 2011

Going Back To What I Know

It's been a year since I was "downsized" from Consumers Energy and it's been an interesting year at that. I didn't expect to lose my job, nor did I expect to go back to what is my first love and what I did for a living upon graduation from college -- newspaper reporting and writing.
  I was a newspaper reporter for 12 years. I worked for two mid-sized dailies -- one in my hometown of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and the other in Battle Creek, Michigan. The Battle Creek paper sent me to USA Today for six months as a loaned employee. I've also written for the Chicago Tribune
  I left all that in 1993 to work in the trade press, and in 1999 I moved to the dark side and was a writer in Corporate America. In the corporate world, you can write what you want, so long as it toes the company line. Stories I wrote for company publications had made-up quotes -- heck, sometimes there wasn't even an interview!
  Fast forward to 2011 and I answer an ad for my local paper for freelance writers. I start getting calls and ironically start writing for a woman I knew well at the Battle Creek paper. Assignments start coming in. Deadlines loomed.
  My first interview was with a University of Michigan professor who, along with his wife, built a straw bale house in the area. The interview and tour of his home went very well. I was armed with my reporter's notebook, pen and a gadget I never used when I was a newspaper reporter -- a digital voice recorder.
  I'm happy to report I survived the assignment, albeit fretting that I had quotes and other information right. I couldn't just put words in this man's mouth, whether he said them or not. That's a hard habit to break. But I'm glad I broke it.
  What I was assured by a writer friend is it's like riding a bike -- you don't forget how to do it. My wise friend was right. I'm pedaling -- maybe not as fast as I'd like to go, but I'm getting there! Have a look and see what you think.

Jackson Citizen Patriot - Straw Bale House Story

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Yeah, it took me this long...

So...all excited, I start this blog in October. Then I chicken out and don't post anything...much to the chagrin of my younger brother, Andrew, also a writer.
 Why did I do that, you ask? Well, I started my career as a journalist -- mainly because I was better at asking other people questions and writing about them than I was writing about myself. Family trait -- we're not big on revealing ourselves.
 Add to it I was actively pursuing full time employment and figured I didn't need my thoughts out in the blogosphere.
  What the heck -- I'm a 50-year-old experienced writer and editor who has been turned down multiple times in the last year, partly I think, because I am a 50-year-old experienced writer. Youth does have its advantages.
  Again, join me in my journey -- I am now a self-employed writer and taking on new clients every day.This blog will chronicle that journey and whatever else pops up to the top of my brain!