In Other Words: Season 2, Episode 3

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Sunrise with setting gibbous moon over North Hero, Vermont, January 24, 2022. By Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

This week featured three trips down Memory Lane as I continued to read through my journals of my first year as a professional writer.

In those days I was full of ideas — some good, some bad. Many were so forgettable that I have no idea what the title was about. A few fell into the category of “what was he thinking?” Most went nowhere, some deservedly so. One or two got as far as the query letter, and — spoiler alert — some actually got published in nationally circulating magazines. I found some of those in my files recently and will pull them out when the time arrives.

Do I still get so many good (and bad) ideas? Yes. I have more fiction plots in the queue than I have time to work on. I hadn’t even considered nonfiction until this fall, and now I’m starting to pull together three projects. Two of those could have market potential with a major publisher. (No spoilers.)

I was also job-hunting for work in a compatible field, such as newspapers, publishing houses, or magazines. I procrastinated about which path to take, job or freelance. The hidden third path, of course, was to do both. I’ve known many journalists by day who were novelists by night.

This particular week in 1979 was unusual on- and off-campus in our college community. Playboy Magazine was interviewing for its first “Women of the Ivy League” feature, and all three television networks were ready to launch “Animal House” style campus comedies.

Here on the blog, those posts received about twice the usual attention of the others. That’s due, in part, to the sexiness and controversy of the subject matter. But it’s also because I shared them with a Facebook group of my fraternity alumni, who would have a special interest in college shenanigans.

The best performer this week, though, was an August post on a historical marker about the Ramapo Mountain communities of color. Between Saturday and Sunday it received more views than it did in all of 2022. It must have been shared by someone, but I don’t have the tools to track it down.

Real life intervened with long drive times and non-writing projects this week, but a couple of writing podcasts and audiobooks helped me use the time for professional development. With that behind me, I plan to spend this week getting back to work on the nonprofit website I mentioned last week.

Perhaps I’ll have more to report in Episode 4.

In case you missed it

  • Puff and fluff, 1979

    Reading Time: 2 minutes Any local news editor understands the delicate balance between what readers and advertisers expect and what you think is important.

  • In Other Words … Season 2, Episode 19

    Reading Time: 2 minutes Many people don’t even have the time or focus for an entire book. The culture of short videos and podcasts has taken over, to our detriment.

  • Top-of-the-head inventory, 1979

    Reading Time: 2 minutes “Items in Stock” was, in truth, a misnomer. Some were complete, or ready for a final draft or a rewrite. Others were ideas or characters in search of a plot.

  • Award-winning coverage? (1979)

    Reading Time: 3 minutes Newspapers have associations, which sponsor competitions. But it’s a long trip from “thinking of sending it” to actually receiving an award.