Is there a place in the online writing world, such as AC, for a veteran newspaper reporter, who is of the baby boomer generation? Despite years of hard-core writing and working my way to the top of the journalism ladder in the 80s and 90s, is it possible to compete in a modern-day writing arena, using my old school method? Do I even want to write anymore?
Never in my life, have I written a “how to” article. Why you ask? I do not know how. In the AC search box, I keyed in “how to.” To my shock, 237,350 articles came up. It took me one second to decide; since I do not possess the competence to write “how to” submissions, and there is already 237,350 pieces of content, I need to move on.
I have to admit, though, the competitive side of me, did rummage around in “how to,” hoping there might be one tiny scrap of knowledge left unwritten about. I only need one simple, but brilliant, piece of “how to” information, that no one else has thought of at 2 a.m. and bounded out of bed to write. After pouring over some four hundred or so titles, I had to scrub the idea. I cannot write “how to,” and there is no guarantee I have enough years left on earth, to see if a writer out there missed something I might be able to elaborate on.
On the flip side, even though I am ignorant about writing “how to” articles, I discovered an immense assortment of well written information by AC producers. This is now my favorite “go to” place for anything I need to know or want to learn. With the impressive number of articles, if a person cannot find what they need here…it does not exist.
In fact, I found out “how to” do gravestone rubbings to preserve family history, a marvelous idea. I came across a helpful piece that offers winning ways to handle rejection. Sound advice, too. This comes in pretty darn handy if you are a writer. I hope to aid my daughter with her chronic sugar obsession, using information I read on AC. It is about satisfying a sweet tooth. I am her mother, and it is difficult to watch my daughter tear to the candy section of a store, and intently study all the goodies in the aisle. It is as if she is examining a Vincent van Gogh painting to see if it is a fake. Even though she is 30…it pains me to watch.
When I broke into news writing in 1982, I was part of a minute writing society and lucky to be so. Writing jobs were rare in and around my area of Massachusetts. Those who were “staff writers” commonly held the coveted position until they retired or… died. I am serious! Even city newspapers, which published daily, kept their staff at a minimum number. Five or six people produced all the content for the paper’s readership. I did not turn down assignments, which might include: house fires, trials at the courthouse, feature stories, theatre reviews, Town Hall coverage, local sports, entertainment pieces, politics, the school district and an occasional murder, to name a few.
Many of the topics were ultra boring to write about. However, this is what I had to do to have my name in print. I had to cover fatal car crashes and write fishing stories, to build a following and make a name for myself. I could not pick a subject from an enticing list of things I would love to write about…it simply did not work that way.
In comparison, online writing and its community, has blossomed into a culture. The idea that I can produce a piece of writing and see it published almost instantly is amazing to me. I am no dummy when it comes to present-day technology either and yet, it boggles my mind. It also has me questioning whether I have what it takes, to be a contender in this contemporary journalism world. A world I now share with hundreds of thousands of writers, instead of just five or six.
I have been writing for 30 something years. I have had my name in print thousands of times. I love writing. However, in my effort to go forward here on AC, I am having dire issues with ideas for submission. Again, the thought comes into play about writing in this brave new world. What can this coming of age baby boomer possibly offer up to keep me in the battle? There are many fabulous writers on AC. They are sharp and they are providing readers with outstanding content.
Let’s have a show of hands. How many people out there want or need to know I had a less than ideal life while growing up? Are you interested in my personal view on establishing world peace? Honestly, do you care that I try to eat healthy, but fail miserably most of the time? Could you, at least, muster up the energy to read a well thought out piece about why I like to write with a pencil and not a pen? Is there just one person out there, who would spare me a page view, if I shared the benefits of keeping a doormat near the door? I thought as much. Come on people, where’s the love?
After several years on hiatus, I realize it will not be easy to fit into the writing community again. I am willing to try, though, however tight a squeeze it may prove to be. I think, in time, I will settle in and have amazing tales to write and fun stuff to share. Eventually, I may even be able to offer a “how to” that no one else has thought of. The possibility is there. I know it is.
For now, this baby boomer is going to continue working day and night on what I hope to be, the showcase piece of my writing career. It is the true story of my mother’s 40-year, whirlwind affair with a married man. Ah…now that would be worth reading, you think. Sorry…you will have to buy my book!