I am a writer


This chapter is definitive of my career as a journalist at UMD and it's place in the concluding part of this book was very fitting. The chapter helped me to answer many of the questions that I would expect myself to be able to answer after four years of studying this subject. Do I want to be a writer by Stewart O'Nan's standards? Absolutely not. Am I a writer according to Susan Orlean. Most definitely.

I have learned a very specific skill set that will undoubtedly be put to good use in my future endeavors. By Susan Orlean's standards I am a writer because I like talking to people. I love language. I am deeply curious. I find the world and the people in it a marvel. I am confident that next year, when I'm waist-deep in law school, I will look to these qualities to carry me through. I know how to talk to people. I know what information I need to gather how to formulate questions in order to get that information. I know how to listen. I know how to watch events unfold. I know how to organize the information I've gathered and package it together for my reader.

I can know and love all of this without being a writer the way that Stewart O'Nan is a writer. I do not intend to take my work with me wherever I go. Although I am deeply curious about everything I encounter I will not carry a notebook with me, always hold a manuscript, or write instead of talk. This is my nightmare. I don't intend to have a career like this. I enjoy keeping my work and leisure time separate. I don't mean to say that Stewart O'Nan doesn't but I do mean to say that I wouldn't be able to if I followed his rules. In fact, reading his journalism philosophy gives me a bit of anxiety. I could never work the way he does.

The other notion in this chapter that I am slightly uncomfortable with is the possibility of constantly trying to sell myself. I just can't do that! I feel like I have a fairly good idea of what it takes to compose a query letter and grab the attention of an editor and a reader. But selling yourself as a freelancer seems a step far beyond that. I would, however, LOVE to work as a literary agent. I think that's one of my new dream jobs. I could definitely sell someone else, not myself. "All agents are looking for literary writer whose work is powerful enough that readers will never forget the experience of reading their work-- and will want to know about whatever subject they turn to next" (280). Please sign me up!

I love everything about this chapter, even the parts that scared me. It is so conclusive to this book at to my career at UMD. Thank you writing studies. I have learned SO much that will be applicable the ways that the great writers in this book have taught me to write and far beyond what they could imagine.


I completely agree with what you said about O'Nan's "rules" being overwhelming. I too enjoy keeping my work and leisure separate. I think that to be successful you may need to work harder than the time spent doing fun things but in the end it will be a relief to have a well put together product.

Good luck in law school!

I would have to say i am completely with you in selling yourself, or myself. That has got to be the hardest part in the process. Not only the amount of work you put into the piece, but the aftermath of turning it into a financial gain for you.

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This page contains a single entry by krebs068 published on April 19, 2010 7:01 PM.

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