Thursday, November 1, 2012

The journalist and writer in me

Some of you know me as an author, others as a journalist. I’m often asked how I balance the two and deal with the obvious differences.

For starters, I’m a journalist by day and a writer by night. To be honest, I’m also a journalist by night (and weekends) as well. Those in the industry know that you never stop being a journalist. It’s a 24/7 career.

For example, last weekend I curated photos using a tool that allows me to find geotagged information from anywhere in the world. On Saturday, I curated images from the Penn State vs. Ohio State game. On Sunday, I curated images from a local beer/wine festival. And then Sandy hit and I was busy for the better part of this week curating content from areas hard hit. (If you’re interested in these slideshows, check out my social media blog.)

Most people think that because I’m a journalist, I would write non-fiction. But I don’t. It’s not that I can't, but I prefer writing fiction where I can create my own characters and build my own worlds. 

Yes, it’s very different than what I do as a journalist. And maybe that’s why I like it so much. 

But I have to tell you that I’m a better journalist because I’m an author, and I’m a better author because I'm a journalist.

For example, I use various literary techniques as a journalist. I pay attention to sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. I see details that others might not notice because that's how I'm wired.

And, as a writer, my journalism training comes into play because it forces me to make sure 1. The story makes sense 2. That I’ve explained everything clearly and have left no questions unanswered.

Bottom line, I think I’m better at both because of the other. Make sense?

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