Have you ever committed yourself to a course of action in order to force yourself to take on a challenge? Last year, I e-mailed the then-new editor of The Voice Magazine and said I’d like to write for the magazine. I pressed “send” quickly, before I could manufacture reasons why not to.
Six months and more than 30 articles later, I’m still writing. After my first article, “Essay Avoidance: The Fine Art of Procrastination,” was published last November, I decided to write an article for every issue. I had no idea if I could compose original articles week after week, but I found looming deadlines strangely motivating.
Reflecting on my first six months, I realize that, despite the difficulty in discovering a topic to write about every week, It’s been an overwhelmingly positive experience. Here’s why:
It pays. we’re taught not to be mercenary, but money does make the world go round. Writing for The Voice Magazine pays. It’s probably the biggest single reason why I can answer the challenge of putting out an article every week. It’s not easy, but the pay I get for these articles offsets a good chunk of my AU tuition.
Writing makes me a better writer. Practice makes perfect in many endeavours. The more I write, the better I get. Any writing is good practice for any other writing. Writing articles for The Voice gives me the ability to write better essays, a skill AU courses give me plenty of opportunity to practice.
Free writing coach. The Voice’s editor, Karl, gives me writing advice?for free. He tells me what works, what doesn’t, and what can be better and how. And he does it nicely. For free.
Looks great on a résumé. I’ve been in the workforce for over 30 years and have been on both sides of the hiring equation. Anything that you can put on a résumé that will distinguish you from all the other candidates has great value.
I’m building a portfolio. You never know where life’s path is going to take you. A portfolio of published writing is a tangible asset that does not depreciate.
Writing has cachet. Writers seem to have some aura around them (to non-writers, anyway.) “I am a writer” invokes visions of an intellectual free-spirit, toiling away at a future literary classic in a hut at the bottom of the garden. “I am a writer” forestalls any questions about what I write. I could be writing recipes, raunchy e-books, or top-ten novels; nobody dares to ask. They just think It’s cool that I write.
Research makes me smarter. Because I mainly write student-focused articles, I need to read student-focused material. Researching learning methods, student services, and current issues benefits me as a student. It also gives me a legitimate excuse for indulging in a book or surfing the internet: I’m actually researching. Honest.
Everyone’s got a voice. Everybody has something to say. If You’re interested in a topic, you can be certain someone else is too. Not every student is interested in the same subjects, but every student is here to learn.
Now It’s your turn to seize an opportunity for growth. You’ve got a voice and readers would love to hear it. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org before you create reasons not to.
Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario