“Writing is boring.”
I’m sure every writer has heard the above phrase uttered at least one time or another by a friend, spouse, classmate or coworker. They may have not meant any ill will, but deep down the comment struck a chord.
On last Tuesday I had the opportunity to address that comment, among other things, to a group of English majors at my alma mater, North Carolina A&T State University. When I arrived for work that morning I had no idea I’d be speaking to a group of fellow Aggies about writing. Of course there was a story behind it.
I was on the front desk covering the phones when I got a call from a university English professor asking to speak to a “Jevon” Dove. I’ve heard enough people butcher my name much worse throughout my life!
I told the professor that they were indeed speaking to “Jeuron” Dove. They went on to explain that they were hosting a program that evening about careers in writing. Two of the original panelists had to back out due to various circumstances and their spots needed to be filled immediately. I then learned that a former professor of mine (who currently teaches English) had recommended me for the spot.
I enthusiastically agreed to it, despite the fact I wouldn’t necessarily label myself as a public speaking guru.
I was joined on the panel by the English department chairperson and an editor from Press 53, a Winston-Salem based publisher. I appeared to be in some heavy company and was a bit intimidated. I represented the panel as a journalist, since that is what I have my degree in and the style of writing I have the most professional experience with.
It did feel somewhat strange being there since my current job description is that of an administrative support specialist. I previously worked as a staff writer, so I still had lots of real world advice to pass onto the students. Plus I’ve found myself taking on more writing responsibilities at my job as of late.
The program went great. We spoke to a room of about 15 students about the importance of writing in our careers.
One point we repeatedly stressed was that writing is everywhere around them and solid writing skills are essential to be successful in any corporate environment. More than ever, employers are looking for people to effectively get their message across to the wider public through the use of written communication.
We elaborated on how all forms of entertainment stem from writing. Nothing just pops out of thin air. A group of people have strategically written out a concept for the things we see so prominently in the mainstream. Whether it’s a movie, jingle or commercial, it all starts with writing. The program ended with a Q&A session and the students seemed genuinely appreciative of the time we spent with them.
Now back to the opening quote.
The power of writing is evident every time you see a scintillating headline about a political figure or celebrity on your MSN or Yahoo homepage. Its power is evident every time you log onto Facebook and Twitter. With social media giving access to anyone with a broadband connection, there has never been a period in history where writing is so important to almost every facet of our daily lives.
Writers have power. That goes for any journalist, author, blogger, screenwriter, copywriter, editor and other occupation heavily centered on writing. We have so much power and play an immeasurable role in shaping the perception of society.
Whenever I blog, my main objective is to convey my thoughts onto some soul within the blogosphere. I consider it pretty awesome if any post I write gets even one like or comment. It means that out of the millions of blogs in cyberspace, someone actually took out the time to read what I had to say. Whether I’m discussing the latest happenings in wrestling, politics or my daily life, I’m just trying to convince one person to think a little deeper about the world around them.
The world is a blank canvas and writers are the ones that paint it bright. That my friend is what makes our job anything but boring.