Being a writer is pretty great.
It’s not just a job; it’s a way of life. I’d say being a writer actually makes your life better.
Having a background in journalism or communication offers more life skills than you might think. It goes beyond asking questions or being curious—it gets right down to the nitty-gritty of leading a fun, interesting life.
Recently, Roula Amire, who is managing editor of Ragan.com, and I decided that it doesn’t matter if we can’t build a bookshelf, cook a duck, or know the quadratic formula (or whatever it is)—what matters is that we can write.
You know how to party.
If you’ve been a reporter, you know what it’s like to stand in the middle of a cornfield, wander around a crime scene, or spend five hours at a city commission meeting. You know how to scan an area and figure out who will talk to you and who won’t.
This skill makes you better at going to networking events and crashing parties. You make the best out of any situation—you’ll always wind up finding the most entertaining person to talk to, no matter where you go. Basically, after every Saturday night, you’ll wind up with a story.
You can talk about anything.
I asked a friend what I’m good at talking about. He said I was pretty good at talking about “random.” That’s true—I don’t think there’s one particular subject I’m particularly passionate about or something that I talk about, ad nauseam.
My conversations tend to meander—it’s hard for me to only talk about one thing because for the most part, I’m interested in everything. Except the quadratic formula.
In your circle of friends, you probably have the most fun. You know how to navigate your city, and you’re always finding activities to do (mostly for free—you know what it’s like to live on a writer’s budget).
You’re off taking classes, attending lectures, going to concerts, and eating at trendy yet affordable restaurants. You’re always entertained because you’re always informed—you read popular city magazines, blogs, and newspapers to keep yourself up to date with what’s happening around you. Because you tend to view your life as a story, you’re always setting yourself up for an adventure. You’re not boring.
You always know what time it is.
This is a weird skill to have, but if you’ve spent your career on deadline, you somehow always know what time it is—even if you’re not near a clock. Having an internal clock is a great way to live, because it means you make every moment count. You set goals, meet them, and then move on to the next one.
You don’t find yourself flailing around, wailing, “Where did time go?” You know exactly where it went. For example, Amire and I were watching TV when we wrote the outline for this story—actually, during the commercials. That’s right. We won’t waste even 30 seconds.
You can write your way into anything.
A few months ago, Amire and I sent an email to a producer to be on Oprah’s “Lifeclass” and wound up in the audience (the show was about fatherless sons, neither of which we are).
I’ve only gotten one parking ticket and wrote a nice note to get out of it.
Years ago, Amire wanted a scholarship to the University of Michigan, so she wrote them a letter and they gave her one. You might not be a person who can talk their way out of anything, but if you can write well, you can get yourself into—and out of—a variety of situations.