Writing is hard. It takes time, requires research, and and needs a curious writer.
“Every day I learned something new… I’m naturally curious and like to talk to new people,” says Tina Firesheets, a Greensboro News and Record reporter. “I get to step into someone’s life for a little while.”
Firesheets has worked for the News and Record in different capacities since 1998, but she enjoyed being a feature writer the best because she had the chance to write about whatever she wanted to. One story even included a stuffed, formerly frozen, alligator.
But even if a writer loves his or her job, a story doesn’t always write itself. Before conducting interviews and putting a pen to paper, it’s vital to do background research. Firesheets says “The more prepared you are, the more respect you’ll get.” Being prepared also helps her have an idea of whether she’ll get all the information she needs in the time she needs.
Next, Firesheets takes time to talk to multiple sources to help focus a story, because often sources will repeat information he or she thinks is important to highlight. And Firesheets says that asking questions is a good thing. “You don’t have to pretend you know a lot about what you don’t.”
Not all information, interesting facts, or anecdotes can make it into the final story, however. To determine what belongs and what doesn’t, it helps Firesheets to talk everything through with her editor or another reporter because sometimes it’s easy to lose the ability to stay separated from the material in question.
Some other writing tips from Firesheets? “Always be on time, be early if you can” and “allow for something to be wrong.”
Writing is hard. But if you take the time to make sure you don’t feel rushed into doing something you don’t really love, that little bit of confidence can make it ten times easier.