I loved writing “Research Prospects: The Ford Research and Innovation Squad Gives My Ford a Glimpse Into Our Automotive Future” for MyFord.com, the online magazine for Ford owners. It’s one of the best things about being a freelance writer: Getting to learn something new every day. I love interviewing experts about new technology. (And I earn cool points with my dad when I write about all this intriguing stuff.)
I learned about how scientists are evaluating materials to help keep in-car bacteria at bay, I found out that Ford’s Traffic Jam Assist™ will one day help make start-and-stop freeway traffic less crazy-making. And I even got the skinny on biometric seats. What’s that? You’ll just have to check out the article.
On the day when a human being first set foot on the moon, I wasn’t one of the millions of people watching Neil Armstrong on TV.
Not that I wasn’t old enough to turn on the tube back in 1969. I was an 11-year-old kid on a camping trip atop Mingus mountain in Arizona on that cloudless summer night, squished into our truck cab with my parents and my nine-year-old brother. I still had s’mores stuck to my fingers as my brother and I did the noiseless elbow-jabbing and jockeying for space that occupied much of our time on family trips.
“Listen up. Here it is,” my dad said, and we fell silent, straining to hear the faint, crackling radio broadcast and staring up at the moon through the bug-smeared windshield as we heard Armstrong tell us he was taking “one giant leap for mankind.”
I just completed the proposed 2013 editorial schedule for the diabetes publication I edit for a client. Then I started updating a Halloween article for my regional parenting editors.
So funny how those of us in the writing/editing business are always partially living in a completely different season. I sometimes have to stop and remind myself that I don’t REALLY have to be thinking about Halloween just yet. (Although buying a little chocolate never hurt anyone…)
I recently came across some old date books with journal entries written by my late mother-in-law, Pat. She wrote some of the entries about becoming an elememtary school teacher; some about both of her kids getting the measles, one after the other; some about being tires of planning and fixing dinner. (Some things never change.)
Did she have time for long journal entries? Hardly. She was busy working, taking kids’ temperatures and putting food on the table.
So she did what she could when it came to noting the little things in her day. What a treat it is to read, decades later, those little details about how much it cost to buy a used car, how long the measles lasted and all the other little things that make up a life and a family.
Sometimes she just wrote a few sentences. Or a list. She apologized for not being religious about writing in her diary. But there’s no need to apologize to your family members who will enjoy and treasure your words a generation or two from now. (They might even appreciate the fact that you kept it short and sweet.)
Thinking long and hard about the direction the publishing world is taking, and the direction I want to go with my writing business.
When I started in this freelance-writing business (after getting a journalism degree, working for a newspaper and then working as a technical editor for a number of years), I thought I’d want to write strictly for consumer magazines and newspapers for my entire career.
That was before blogging and social media; before newspapers took a steep dive, along with many magazines; before so many online writing opportunities appeared. It was also before the custom-publishing world had all the opportunities it now offers.
As I look at where I want to go in the next few years, I’d love to hear from other writers who are also considering their options. What are you doing today that you never dreamed you’d be doing? Where do you want to be in five years? What’s the best decision you’ve made for your career?
Thanks! Looking forward to your comments here.