I started The Widest Letter so I could be seen by editors and marketers but lately I’ve wanted more from this site, and from me. I’ve learned a few things in my writing career and if anyone wants to listen, I’m more than willing to share. If you appreciate writing tips, curious about the life of a newbie freelancer, or like to geek out on habit formation and personal development, this site is for you. Welcome.
Let’s start from the beginning: Why am I a writer?
One of the clearest memories of childhood is my mother writing a school absence note for me. I can still see my mom sitting in a chair holding a hardcover dictionary, carefully looking up words before putting pen to paper. My mother was clearly uncomfortable with the task (if only there was spell check and autocorrect back then!) but she wanted the school staff to see her family in a good light. It took me several years and a few life experience to get it. The way I see myself is not always the way the world sees someone with brown skin. My writing skills is one way to shut down negative assumptions about me, and I like that.
Fast forward a decade later in college (that’s 18-year-old me pictured) I was sick (again!) and had to miss my political theory course. My roommate who was in the class with me shared that the professor liked my essay so much that he read it aloud to other students. She said something that stuck with me (paraphrasing, of course): “You may not understand what you’re saying but you can sure write around it.”
I know that sounds like an insult veiled as a compliment but I really didn’t care. Her comment thrilled me. My writing could persuade people. Maybe even trick them? Writing felt like my super power.
Why do I write? I write because can I change the narrative of how the world views me and because I’m good at it. I’ve been using my superpower for several years now, first as a journalist, then as a higher education writer, and now as a freelance writer and consultant. Getting paid to write is a wonderful job, and I’m grateful I get to do it.
- Why are you a writer? Jot it down and post it in your office to serve as a reminder. Writing is hard and it’s easy to get deflated over a clunky sentence or an editor who’s trying to underpay you. Remember why you decided to pursue this career path. You got this!