To do great writing, read great writing. Here’s the great writing I’ve been reading this week:
It’s graduation season, which means it’s time for a little inspiration. If you’re just graduating from journalism school and looking for your first job you’ll need it. If you’re considering switching from a staff job to working for yourself, you’ll need it. If you’re burned out from too many weeks of non-stop work with too little time off, you’ll need it.
Here’s some of the best inspiration for writers I’ve come across this week:
A noteworthy second act.
During the blogathon this week, bloggers were invited to write about how they’ve reinvented themselves one way or another. I’ll be sharing highlights of some of their posts on SecondAct.com (and will link to that post here when it’s up). But I wanted to share one story that was especially moving. When Arizona author and freelance writer Jackie Dishner discovered her husband had repeatedly cheated on her she took off – literally. She found her old bike in the garage, hopped on and started to ride. And ride. And ride. She rode herself into recovery, and then used her story to help other people – mainly women – dealing with abusive, harmful and otherwise fractured relationships. She became a motivational speaker, and started a blog called BIKE with Jackie to help the people she couldn’t talk to person. Jackie shares her inspiring story in this post: A bike ride to my second act.
Facebook friends in high places.
Facebook started selling shares of its stock today; in the business world that’s a big deal. For Facebook employees who stand to earn a ton of money, it’s huge. It’s seems appropriate to include something about the social media giant in a round up on inspiration. I only recently came across a speech about women in the workplace that Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg gave at a 2010 TED conference. Her subject: why there are too few women at the top of U.S. companies, and what women can and should do about it. It’s over 15 minutes long, but definitely worth viewing.
Get on the bus.
Freelancers have a love/hate relationship with Peter Shankman based on how well they like or dislike Help a Reporter Out (HARO), the service he created for matching writers with potential sources. Regardless of what you think of the guy, he’s a heck of a writer. In June 2008, he published what’s for an intents and purposes a commencement speech that he was moved to write after overhearing two high school seniors reading through their yearbook while riding a bus in New York City – seniors who were gradating from the same high school he’s graduated from 18 years before. It’s classic Shankman: smart, funny and wise, words to live by whether you’re headed off to college or well into your career.
It’s been seven months since Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died, and seven years since he gave this now famous commencement address at Stanford University. If you haven’t ever heard it, it’s worth the almost 15 minutes. And if you have, it’s worth hearing again for the wisdom Jobs shares about failure, life and death.