RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.
Pop Quiz: Who Are You?
By Shirley Jump
When I first started writing, I thought I wanted to be the next Jane Pauley. I could just see myself, leaping after the big story, landing the big headlines and the cheers of the newsroom. Then, after a few years at a city newspaper, I realized I didn’t have what it took to be an investigative reporter. I didn’t like butting into people’s lives, I didn’t like stirring up trouble and I especially didn’t like hunting down a story that didn’t want to be found.
It was an epiphany that shaped my life from there on out and changed my career course. I started freelancing, instead of being a staff reporter, and like Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman,” I had the power over who and when and what I wrote about. It was great. It didn’t pay as well but it worked out much better for my conscience and my heartburn level.
It may take you a while before you figure out what kind of writer you want to be. To help you, try this “Pop Quiz.” Take some time with these answers – give them some thought. You might find you are a different writer in your heart than you are in your head.
POP QUIZ ON YOU
If you’re having trouble figuring out your roadblocks to success, take this quick quiz. Ask yourself:
- What are my strengths and weaknesses? Am I procrastinator? Am I good at research or concepting?
- What kind of articles do I like to read?
- Do I have the personality to write investigative journalism pieces, personal essays, think pieces, research articles, or lighter features?
- Do I enjoy research and statistical work or am I happier interacting with people and learning about their stories and adventures?
- Am I willing to try my hand at a number of different article genres until I find what works best for me?
- Do I see writing as a regular part of my life or just a temporary endeavor?
- Am I interested in writing articles as a full-time or part-time job?
- Do I have the courage to put my articles in the mail? To face the inevitable criticisms and rejections? To meet the challenge when my work is accepted?
- Am I willing to put in the time to study the market, research my article ideas, and study the craft of writing?
- Do I have the discipline to do this on my own? Would I be better off collaborating with another writer or expert?
- What kind of writer do I want to be? When I close my eyes, where do I envision my work appearing?
- Most importantly: Do I have the persistence, dedication, and drive to make my dream come true?
Doing this kind of self-analysis helps you understand your own weaknesses and strengths. By knowing yourself well, your writing and publishing efforts will be far more successful because you can adapt your approach to fit your particular forte.