It has been four years since I wrote an article for a publication but, as of September of this year, I finally decided to return to my long-lost love: journalism.
When I attended college a decade ago, I decided to pursue journalism and writing. I’ll admit, it was Clark Kent who inspired me to become a journalist and a steward of the truth. I believed in the freedom of the press and its power to hold governments and others accountable for their actions. I was writing for the school newspaper and getting constant feedback from peers. However, when 2008 came, the economy took a dump and that was when things started to change.
After graduating in June 2011, I could not land a journalism job. I tried to knock on doors to get employment at the local newspaper near my university. Nothing happened.
Like so many millennials, I had to settle for a job that was unrelated to what I studied for. I will admit that back then, I should have thought outside the box and started a blog or kept in touch with my professors and friends from my creative writing classes. But I was too caught up with the crap economy that I ended up taking a job as an substitute instructional assistant for a school district.
It was here when my love for journalism, or writing in general, began to fade. I accepted the jaded fact that I wasn’t going to become a journalist or write ever again due to the dwindling opportunities. The jadedness (obviously, not a real word) got more worse when someone who I considered close told me that I would suffer if I decided to pursue journalism further. I gave up.
However, there was a little sliver of my inner writer left inside of me.
That small part of me still championed writing clear, crisp, and shorted sentences. That part of me still motivated me to consult Strunk and White’s Elements of Style whenever I was on the verge of writing a long and wordy sentence like this: I was always in a bind, never thinking before doing something that could possibly be beneficial to one person yet potentially detrimental to my state of being. See what I did there? Yeah, I guess I tried to hard. Anyway, that part of me still loved reading books and the news. As I write this, I believe that my inner writer had to be dormant for a while. And with that, I had the opportunity explore other avenues.
For awhile, I tried to medical field but long story short, I flunked a community college physics class. This was not my first go at the medical field. During my first year in college, I tried so damn hard to pass chemistry but I got a “F” for my efforts. As for that position as an instructional assistant? I decided to quit since it was not for me and moved back home to my family to continue my journey. Next, I tried to go for computer programming; it got boring staring at a computer screen and putting my fingers through hell trying to compose code when I should have been composing an article. However, I did some short internship stints at two local community newspapers where my inner writer was reignited but burned out after they ended. Then I gave accounting a shot and thought that I would become a CPA. I confess that I failed my first accounting class but unlike my failed medical endeavor or my quest to become a journalist, I was not going to give up. I took the class again and passed and then passed the second class as well. I felt like I was on a roll and even got a job as an accounting clerk at a local state office but, a year after getting that job, I was let go.
After three months of questioning why I got let go from my job, some people in my family reminded me of what my true purpose was. When my older brother came by to visit me and my family, we just started talking about the news again. My interest slowly evoked. But I had to ask myself: Is this what I really wanted to do?
That was when I decided to go to a journalism networking event and after that event, I am happy to say that I am once again, back to doing journalism. Right now, I am a freelance writing and I am doing my first assignment in four years. I know in my heart that this is something I want to do and no matter what anyone says, I know that I will do it.
The current assignment is a fun one and it involves a lot of investigation and research. I am not going to go through too much detail about it but let’s just say that I am looking forward to talking to people from different walks of life. I am looking forward to telling their stories and sharing them with the audience like I did back in my creative writing classes in college.
My internships back in Los Angeles were also helpful in giving me the experience I needed to continue pursuing journalism; this was something I should have done as soon as my internship stints ended. This reminded me of what Walter Mosley, the author of the book Devil in the Blue Dress, said: “If you want to be a writer, you have to write every day. The consistency, the monotomy, the certainty, all vagaries and passions are covered by this daily reoccurrence.”
I have to water the plant of writing everyday or it would whither and die. I have to be committed and I have to stay committed. I have to eat, breath, and sleep writing.
A non-fiction creative writing profossor ingrained this into my head when he wrote candidly about my writing performance. I would forever value his advice because it was true.
As I start on my first assignment in four years, I am going to expect a lot of challenges. I am going to see some victories and some losses. There will be no gains without any pains. I know that I can succeed and I will.
I want everyone reading this to realize that there is no shame in following your goals. Whether it is in a good or bad economy, whether a close friend, loved one, or whoever encourages you or discourages you, or…whatever. You are in control of your future. Not the outside influences. What matters is that a bad economy, fears, someone, or whatever someone says cannot dictate how we live our dreams and how we pursue them.
Clark Kent the journalist and the superhero known as Superman can attest to that.