I’ve had this writing struggle lately—for the past couple years, actually.
I feel like I’ve been in this rut: I’m moving forward where I want to be in my career, but the path I’m on is moving too slowly.
I want to break away from the chains of my desk and get out and venture the world and write about people and my experiences and encounters. Give me a decent salary, a travel budget, and I’ll be on my way! But I’m stuck five nights a week walking into a 2-11 p.m. job sitting in front of a computer screen for nine hours writing stories about breaking news or trending topics, then going hard sharing those stories on social media. I shouldn’t complain: Most days I enjoy my job and am thankful that I get to work for a major media company in the fourth largest city in the United States, and for the fact they pay me to write and play on Facebook.
But I can’t shake this feeling that there’s so much more out there, because I’ve been there.
For three years I worked for the Brenham Banner-Press, the local newspaper of Brenham, Texas, the town most famous for Blue Bell Ice Cream. I was given the freedom to step away from my desk and cover whatever I wanted. Although Brenham was a small town—population barely surpassing 16,000—I spent as much time out of the office as possible writing about what was going on in the community. There’s nothing quite like owning a beat and people coming to you with stories—legitimate stories—they want you to cover. It’s a hard fight of busting your ass and building trust by showing people you do a fair and accurate job with damn good writing, even if the story might not always be in their favor. It’s one of the things, I believe, journalism is all about.
I never imagined when I left Brenham in August 2013 that it would take me so long to get back to a writing job that I loved. This August will be three years, and I haven’t written consistently since.
There was my project with Ace In The Cup, a Houston golf magazine I started and printed one issue; my Write On Texas blog that covered news throughout Texas; and a few book projects, most recently ‘Till Death, which is still in the works. But all of those aren’t enough to feed my hunger to write daily, to make an impact in the world around me. While I loved both Ace In The Cup and Write On Texas, there has to be money coming in to help sustain them, and for both—especially in Ace’s case, which included a printed magazine—there wasn’t.
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What I want for my career more than anything is a job that—much like the Banner, but on a larger scale—allows me to break away from my desk, develop contacts and write in-depth stories on the world around me, whether it’s in Houston, Texas, the United States or overseas. What are the issues affecting people, and how can I tell those stories that will resonate with them? I envision myself writing for Texas Monthly, churning out hard-hitting, beautifully crafted stories like Pamela Colloff; or for Esquire, putting out must-read work like Chris Jones.
For now, I’ll keep busting my ass until that opportunity comes.
Introducing: ‘Till Death, a raw, emotional, uncut look into marriage.
Whether you and your partner have been married a day or 75 years, I’d love to sit down with you both to share your story for my new book.
If you or a couple you know want to be featured, or if you have any questions, email me here.
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