Monday, June 13, 2011

Saying "Good-bye" to First Person

Recently, I wrote a couple of stories for a local newspaper.
A small pittance, though it was, I was so excited to have my first "paid" writing assignment.
I put all of my heart and soul into it, spending time with my two subjects (both Special Olympic athletes), and their families. 
These wonderful people set aside time to meet with me, opening up their hearts and their homes.
It was not difficult for them to win me over.  
I spent a few hours with each of them, and wished I could have spent more.

Soon after I arrived home, I sat at my laptop - all of my notes laid out in front of me. 
Like an artist at work, I molded and formed the notes and conversations into stories.
They came out effortlessly, and when I sat back and read them . . . . . .  they made me smile. 
I wanted to produce something that would make these two families proud,
 and I felt that I had.

I sent them into the editor, and waited. 

And waited, and waited. 

Since this was the first time that I had been given a writing assignment (versus me just sending one in), I was a little unsure about the rules.

Should I wait until he contacts me?

Should I just look at the paper, day after day,
     until I see that it has been published (or not)?

Should I call him,
or will he think that I am being a nuisance and wish that he had not hired me?             

I was definitely over-thinking things. 

Fortunately, I was in the middle of moving from one house to another,
     which was more than enough stress to keep my mind off of my stories. 

Still, I kept thinking, I could use this right now.  I could really use this.

In the meantime, the families began contacting me, so I decided to send an e-mail to the editor.

Less obtrusive than a phone call, I thought.  

     "I would like you to consider doing a re-write," said the editor.
                                                    "There is too much of YOU in the story."   

In other words, SAY "GOOD-BYE" TO FIRST PERSON. 

I got it.  

Right away - I got it. 

This was my first tough lesson in being a writer for a newspaper.


Could I write like that?

Could I say "good-bye" to First Person???

More than anything, I wanted the stories to be published,
     and more than anything, I want to learn and improve, as a writer. 

I want to spread my wings, and stretch my horizon -
     to be able to write about multiple and diverse subjects. 

     "It won't be easy for me," I said, "BUT, not impossible." 

I went to work on them right away, taking the "ME" out of the stories,
     and though it was not as difficult as I thought,
I felt that it made the stories less personable. 

And, I think that is what people LIKE about my stories - the "ME" in them.

The "what I think and how I feel". 

BUT, that is not what this particular assignment was about. 

I got it. 

And, ultimately, the stories were published.


One day, I would like to have my own running column, where people will open the paper (or laptop) day after day, just to read about what I think. 

In the meantime, I still have my Blog. 

It doesn't pay much , but I can use as much First Person as I want! 

And, I will continue to take those "paid" writing assignments, no matter how small,
     and continue to learn and grow, as a writer,
for writing gives me pleasure in a way that nothing else does,
     and any opportunity to write, is a blessing.   

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