Embracing Freedom: Writers as Solopreneur Naturals

The longing embrace of Liberty

The longing embrace of Liberty

As a journalism major back in the 70’s, just as did many of my classmates, I dreamed of being on the editorial staff of the great newspapers of the USA. I went on several interviews imagining what it would be like to belong to such organizations as The Chicago Defender, the New York Times and the Richmond Afro-American. I even almost became a page designer at one newspaper in Raleigh, NC, which 3 days after making a hiring decision, withdrew their offer.

After graduation in 1977, that dream did not materialize and it was two years before I got my first professional gig writing advertising for the newly changed to all-news format radio station affiliated with the Providence Journal and Bulletin. However, during the two years before I was attached to a paper, I was freelancing.  Back then, I was called a “stringer” reporter, taking assignments that sent me to cover local events. It was during those days that I learned that my “way with words” was worth money, that I loved community celebrations and my “job-gypsy” habits began.

Writers–content providers–are natural solopreneurs. Staff writer positions on magazines and newspapers have always been extremely competitive, but these media are also always ravenously hungry for content. Today the grand old dames of print journalism are all but gone and in their place the internet has arisen. Many of my old-guard newspaper classmates, now retiring I suspect would probably not consider me a real journalist anymore because I became a “blogger”–a member of the “new journalism”. Somehow this new medium where anybody from anywhere can put up a message is seen by some newspaper professionals as cheapening the profession. They hold a disdain for bloggers akin to the kind I grew up with having for the “yellow journalism” tabloids considered little more than rumor mills. A similar revolution has happened in publishing. No longer “vanity publishing“, self-publishing and on-demand publishing have changed the game. The whole effect on publishing houses and retail outlets of an audience using Kindles and iPad reading apps to buy and read books has not yet been fathomed.

Do you put words on paper? Is writing for your pleasure alone, or do you have a “Divine Mandate” –a word to communicate? If you write to be read; if you are not merely fascinated by the power of language, but want to share information for public consumption, you are on the path of the story-teller’s way. You are the descendant of the griots, bards and birch-branch druids of old and –if you are not a staff-writer–an independent content provider; an entrepreneur by default.

Liberty reaches out to you in a very special way. Embrace her fearlessly.


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