Writing A Newspaper Column. Sometimes The Ending is Happy.
The Front Page....A Writer's Dream
I have been writing a regular business column, in a local newspaper, for about two years. During that time I have learned how to write a column, do it on a deadline, and create articles that are concise, accurate, and interesting... and to do it all within a very strict word count requirement. It has been a challenge and, in some ways, a steep learning curve. I have enjoyed my ongoing journey of learning how to write effectively and I am very proud of the results of my efforts thus far.
I learned very early on that, when writing for a newspaper, research is the key to a good article. I am a consummate researcher. I spend a lot of time researching my subjects from as many different angles as I can find. Business articles must be accurate and factual. It is imperative that the readers trust your "numbers" and you must, constantly, make every effort to assure them that your facts are "the" facts. They are interested in your opinion, which is why they are reading your articles in the first place, but they expect the details to be accurate. Research.....research...and research again........then write your piece.
One day, about a year before I started writing my column, while surfing the web I came across a website that would literally changed my life. That website was HubPages. I had no idea, at the time, that such a place like Hubpages existed. Here was a place that contained the efforts of literally thousands of writers each one with dozens or even hundreds of articles published all in this one magical place. For the first few months I didn't attempt to publish anything. I was so enthralled that I spent every available minute reading and enjoying the works of so many writers that, in many ways, were just like me....in love with writing! Growing up I was never fortunate enough to meet anyone who had an interest and a passion for writing. I never had the opportunity to share my work with others who, like me, were learning the craft. All that changed when I discovered this place. I found myself in the midst of thousands of passionate and committed writers representing all levels of skill and development. It was, and still is, an emotional and joyful journey for me.
It was about six months after I joined Hubpages that an opportunity to submit an article to a local newspaper came my way. With more than a little trepidation I accepted that challenge and, in time, what started out to be a one article assignment turned into a regular business column. I consider myself very fortunate to have this opportunity. I get to write on a regular basis and have people actually read my words and regularly comment on my work.
For the longest time my column would move around, within the pages of the paper, and never seem to find a "regular" space. About five months ago it began to appear on page four, with regularity, and I was pleased with that because it seemed to have finally found a home......and then came last weeks issue.
Last weeks article was a piece I had written on the Co-operative movement and the struggles they face in today's retail marketplace. I felt the piece came out well and perhaps since I have an affinity for Co-operatives, being a member of a Co-op myself, my first hand knowledge on the subject allowed me to write the article with a more personal point of view. When I received a copy of the paper in my mailbox there on the front page, as the lead, was my story on Co-operatives. A whole range of emotions came over me as I looked at the front page for the first time. Surprise was probably the first response quickly follow by excitement and even a little doubt. In the days leading up to publishing my Editor did not give me any hint of what was to take place. She had sent me an e-mail the day after I submitted the column, as she normally does, letting me know the column was approved but that was all. It was a great day, for me, and one I will never forget.
When I think of how far I have come with my writing, since those early days, I am very humbled and grateful but I also realize that I still have a long ways to go. I know I have worked very hard to learn but I am also very aware that without HubPages I would not have had the confidence, or the abilities, in my writing that I have now.
It all started with my discovery of Hubpages and the rest, as they say, is history. Many of my fellow Hubbers have taken the time, over the last few years, to personally critique my work and for that I am very grateful. I have taken your suggestions and ideas to heart and they have helped me become a better writer. I know I will always be "learning" the craft but being a member of this community has given me the confidence and the determination to continue the journey and become the best writer that I can. I am not sure I would have had the self-confidence to let anyone read my writings a few years ago and now I don't want them to stop reading it......interesting turnaround.
I don't know if this front page bi-line will turn out to be the pinnacle of my writing career or if there is more to come. I'm hopeful that it just might lead to other opportunities and maybe open a door or two. In any event I will continue to write, learn and look forward to the possibilities.
I would like to say thank-you to everyone in the Hubpages community. You, more than anything else, are the reason I have the opportunity to write and for that I am most grateful.