One of the things I've always loved about writing is the ability to let your personality shine through your words. When I'm writing, no matter the content, it often feels like the pen's ink is flowing out directly from my veins. These words are my own. I thought them up, and strung them together. They represent who I am. I attended an arts school for high school, where I studied creative writing exclusively. Writing was viewed as an art form equal to painting, singing, or dancing. In all cases, the work you create comes from within.
My inability to remove myself completely from my writing got me in trouble a couple times in college. I took a writing composition course my freshman year where the professor focused heavily on professional, academic writing. She wanted our papers to read like a textbook. But aren't even textbooks fun, on occasion? I found it impossible to write any way other than how I speak; casual, familiar, and with humor. Teachers had never chastised my style in the past, but this woman took it as an insult to her teaching method. At the end of the semester, she acknowledged that although I had produced some of the best content in the class (it was a required gen-ed course, so there wasn't much for competition), she was only going to give me a B-. "I feel like you didn't learn anything" was her explanation.
I chose to study journalism because I wanted to make a career out of writing. Like many colleges, our journalism program had a heavy focus on news. For good reason; news writing and reporting is the foundation of journalism, and in my ways, the most important form of. I always liked to read the news, and many of my journalistic role models were reporters, but when in these classes, I found myself drumming my fingers and staring out the window. News writing didn't stimulate me the way creative writing did. Again, I didn't want to remove myself from my words.
I was drawn to magazines initially because of the fluidity and subjectiveness of feature writing, but it was the visual element that hooked me. Having learned the value of collaboration between artistic mediums, I thought magazines were the perfect "real world" product of words and art coming together. I poured over the photography, typography, and general layout design as much as I did the articles they accompanied. I wanted to do it all. So I did.
It's not easy. Sometimes I feel like a Jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I'm constantly debating whether I should continue trying to pursue both, or settle on one path and climb the career ladder properly, instead of straddling and shimmying up two of them. I get stressed out over letting my bosses down when one job interferes with the other, and I worry at times that I'm not advancing at the pace I need to be.
Yet, ultimately, I'm doing what I want to be doing. No job comes without complications, and the joy I get out of my work outweighs everything else. If I do have to make a decision or a change in the coming future, so be it. Either path is one of fulfillment and fun. Not a bad problem then, huh?