FUN– in my column? A Grand Discovery.

This afternoon I submitted my column to my editor about why I returned to facebook– and I feel good.

(Pssst: I’m back! The column runs Thursday, so now I feel more comfortable breaking the story here. But the details are not for this post.)

I needed an extension, because choosing an angle about a decision which had such influence on my life was quite a task.  It’s a very broad topic, and one that was very personal as well.  I wasn’t sure what tone was appropriate, but my editor suggested one that surprised me:  humor.

“You could really have fun with this column!” she said.

I had never thought about the possibility of having FUN while writing my column.

The others I had written before had been isolated based on one topic, in the features variety: pop culture, a narrative experience, answering a fun question.

But this column is on-going, with a news focus. Writing in that voice isn’t natural for me. My background is features. I’m an English minor.

Truthfully, I usually associate my column with stress! Because it only runs once a month, I choose my topics with care– and feel a lot of pressure to produce something “important.” Further, the column is called “Common Sense,” and I thought my obligation was to be serious in it. If you don’t believe me, just look at my mug shot!

I’m staring the camera down, getting into character. I wanted this mug shot to be different than the others I’d had. I think my first one was in college, as a features reporter for my campus newspaper. With no advance notice, I was photographed as I came to work that day–between classes. My hair was in two hasty buns high on my head– to hide a bad hair day. I was wearing a baby-t and a hoodie, and a huge smile.

Every subsequent picture was a variation of that– but with better hair and more stylish clothes. They were good pictures, but I looked more like I was posing for a candid at a party.

With this column, I wanted to look professional. And it worked. I’m proud of the work I’ve done.

But my editor reminded me that I can be professional and have fun, too.

That’s why this column has become stressful for me,  even though I love writing it. I realized that the columns I’d produced thus far, except for one, hadn’t included any of my natural voice. Rather, it was like I was playing a role– and thus felt forced at times.

This time, I decided to be myself.

I wrote a narrative lead, referencing pop culture. I made a few jokes.  I had– GASP!!– fun.

And then I got to the point, and told the story. I found a balance. And it worked.

My editor complimented the final version, and I felt like I got away with something!

I had mulled over several angles and points for discussion, and discussed them with friends. At first I kept exceeding my word count by almost 200 words.

And then I just decided to stop trying, and write what I know.

And it worked.

Even better, I get to post it on Facebook again!

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2 comments on “FUN– in my column? A Grand Discovery.

  1. mancuso79 says:

    I would hope you would allow yourself to have fun with your writing. Otherwise, you’re just reflecting the feelings/emotions of those around you.

    • I usually do, but with my column I’m so focused on making sure it’s correct and structured journalistically. For my columns, the fun part is talking with people to develop my topic ideas, and then discussing it with people afterwards. The tone of all my other columns except the one about Theresa was formal– written like news stories, with inverted pyramid structure and a the main idea in the lead. This is the first time I deviated from that, and it felt great! I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as any certain type of columnist.

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