In 10th grade I received rave remarks on an English class essay. That night, I stood in my parents’ kitchen and said, “I want to be a writer.” I majored in communications/journalism at Shippensburg University in central Pennsylvania. Communications introduce me to the sociology of how people communicate, while journalism taught me the fundamentals of writing and research. Internships taught me I didn’t want to be a reporter.
Instead, I found a job with a landscape architect writing and proofing proposals. I learned a lot about small business, flowers and trees. A trade article I wrote for the firm planted the seed of freelance writing. I soon put my editorial skills to work in publishing. I spent years reviewing press releases, planning editorial calendars, drumming up stories, writing and editing. I worked alongside graphic designers, advertising reps and printers to compile layout and publish on deadline.
Then my interest in food and nutrition drew me to a public relations position at Produce for Better Health Foundation. PR blurred with corporate communications and food marketing. I wrote copy for a range of B2B and B2C pieces including websites, press releases, research reports, capabilities collateral and brand guidebooks. I worked in leadership teams on nutrition policy, brand development and public relations strategy. I got promoted. I managed staff and tons of projects. I hired freelancers to get the writing done so I could oversee the department. I loved the position, but missed the writing.
After eight years, I left that job to begin freelancing in January 2007. Today, I still get to work in publishing, PR and corporate communications, as well as in the fields of fresh produce and nutrition. And like in 10th grade, I also still want to be a writer. The difference is now I write every day — not just about what I know in the areas of expertise I’ve built, but also about what I like to know. Life is discovery and writing helps me keep it that way.