Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Making Readers See: Lessons From My Life As A Journalist

As I recline here on my living room couch surrounded by pillows and covered with my daughter's Winnie the Poo blanket, I can't help but reflect on my years as a newspaper journalist.

Maybe it's the NyQuil that I'm taking (again) because of this cold that just won't go away. Maybe it's because I'm craving eggs and bacon with toast this morning, but we're out of eggs and bread and I don't feel like running to the grocery store at 6 a.m. Maybe it's because I'm listening to the morning news and hearing more about all those protests with disgruntled people occupying parks all over the United States. (In my days as a journalist, I'd be one of those guys interviewing the protesters, asking why they were out there, etc, etc.)

An interesting side note (at least to me), my morning routine as a journalist always started with turning on the radio and tuning into the local morning news station as I got ready for work. Today, I simply use my Blackberry to tune into the news. Funny how times change.

Maybe it's all this stuff I mentioned and the fact that I'm editing a story which I'm preparing to publish as a Kindle Single that has me thinking about my former life as a newspaper journalist. Maybe it's more complicated, but my head is too fuzzy because of the NyQuil, so I can't see the other details at the moment.

But, whatever it is, I woke up this morning with my Kindle on my chest with a question on my mind: What did I learn about writing during my years as a newspaper journalist? The short answer is I learned a lot.

But if I had to start with one idea - and it's always good to start with a focus of one and then move on from there - I'd have to say the number one lesson about writing is this:

Make Your Readers See.

Moving on from there... well, I'll do that after I return from trudging to the store for eggs and bread, then cooking, eating and taking a NyQuil nap.

Questions? Comments? Just leave them here. When I return from my psychedelic dreams, I'll do my best to answer them.

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