My friend, Marilyn, is probably the only person, outside of myself, who knows what I’m about to tell you. Not that there’s any reason for it to be a deep, dark secret. It’s just something I’ve never talked about, before.
Have no idea why, either.
And the only reason I’m mentioning it now is, because of a recent WordPress Daily Prompt: “If one experience or life change results from you writing your blog, what would you like it to be?”
I don’t even have to think about it.
You all know I’ve spent my career in advertising. As a copywriter and creative director. It’s what I always wanted to do, from the time I was a very young girl. I’ve worked for some of the largest agencies in the world, on some of the best brands. And I’ve had a fabulous career.
But outside of the industry, I’ve not been taken seriously, as a writer. None of us are. It’s not really a reflection of whether we’re good, or not. It’s just that journalists and authors tend to pooh-pooh what we do. Dismiss it. They think we’re hacks. Nothing more than salesmen, being paid (overpaid) to hawk the wares of our clients.
Not worth angsting over. But it is mildly frustrating.
Especially as now, after decades of writing copy, I’d like to expand my horizons. Not that I want to give up the business entirely. I don’t. But I’d like to add to my repertoire.
Many years ago, while I was still in Montreal, the fashion editor of the Montreal Gazette liked my writing style. We had worked together, briefly, at a fashion trade magazine; and later, when I worked with Leo Chevalier, a top Canadian fashion designer, I was always sending her press releases. So she occasionally asked me to write an article for her. Which I loved. When I worked at BBDO I was asked, by one of our industry publications (Strategy) to write a monthly column. Loved that, too. And a few years later, when I was a partner at tattoo, Marketing (another industry journal) asked me to write several pieces for them. Also loved that.
So I know the difference between writing an ad and writing a story. And I can do both. And then some.
But generally, if I approached the editor of most newspapers or magazines and pitched a story, I’d get nowhere. Even though I’ve probably been writing longer than they have. On more subjects. They’d dismiss all my years of experience, saying it’s not relevant. I’m not a journalist.
Technically speaking, they’re right. I’m not. But I am a writer. And I do know how to tell a story. And engage readers.
Which brings me back to the beginning of this post. To the question asked in the WordPress prompt. Here’s my response:
What I’d like to have happen, as a result of my writing this blog, is to be taken more seriously as a writer. To at least be given a chance to see some of my stories or articles or opinions in print.
Personally I think I’d be a pretty good Op-Ed columnist. God knows I have opinions on just about everything and don’t mind sharing them. And I think I can put together a pretty good argument to support my theories. Whether the readers would agree with me, or not, is another story. But that’s the point of Op-Ed, I think. Not everyone has to agree. It’s there to spark debate, to make people think.
Being given assignments would also make me happy. I love being challenged. Send me out to cover a story, or interview someone. Something else I’d love to do is travel writing. I already have an idea for a regular column I’d like to do on that subject.
So now the cat’s out of the bag. I’d like a byline. At least eventually I’d like a byline. For now I’d be thrilled if I could sell an idea or an article.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know what you’re gonna tell me. “Get off your ass, Fransi. Go for it. Submit something.”
Recently I bought two books. One is Canadian, the other covers the U.S. They list every publication you can think of, with their submission guidelines. I have been going through them. But you’re right. It’s probably enough already with the research. It’s time to start ‘doing’. It’s time to bite the bullet and take a chance.
What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll be rejected. Wouldn’t be the first time. And it probably wouldn’t be the last, either.
On a more positive note, I could also end up in print.