Extra, Extra! Get ya’ paper here!

I recently became the new music columnist for Arizona State University’s State Press Magazine. Last week, I submitted my first two pitches to somewhat little personal fanfare. This is not to imply any lack of thrill, but more so to emphasize a smidge of trepidation on my part. See, I’ve written journals before; absent-mindedly jotted down ideas on paper that no one has laid eyes on. Until last week I had not offered my writing, personal opinion pieces anyways, to anyone. My words have now become public by means of the State Press Magazine and, in a roundabout way, shared through social media.

This minuscule blip on the map, my seemingly paltry attempt, managed to frazzle my nerves. I almost couldn’t believe it. My first official column was set as an introduction, to be used as a vehicle to share what I think about music. In my mind, I was doing cartwheels compiling thoughts I wanted to touch on. “Finally! I get to start writing for an audience!” Then I sat down and really started to assemble my ideas of what music means to me. Huh? Whoa. Timeout. How am I supposed to disclose my inner feelings on a topic that is not only broad, but near and dear to my heart, while serving it justice?

This is when that whole feeling of trepidation began.

Even still, I wanted to introduce myself to my new (and, optimistically, viable) audience and fully delve into the subject. I wrote, and I wrote and I re-wrote. The words seemed to pass from my fingers to my laptop with ease. But, as any writer knows, your first draft is not your final draft; I made minor tweaks, additions and modified verbiage. A couple of drafts in, I hit submit.

On October 1, my editor posted my first official column. I opened the link, and there it was in all its amateur glory.

I made the cognizant decision to link my column on my Facebook page, for my 400+ friends to see. I didn’t know what to expect. But here’s the thing…I threw fear out the window. Fear is only as deep as the mind allows. This minuscule blip on the map, my seemingly paltry attempt, is so much more. It is the outset of something amazing. This new gig of mine will send me down a path, for better or worse, and spawn a litany of opportunities, failures and promise. Whatever it entails, it’s my path to travel. I’m only beginning to scratch the surface, and to consider my column a pivoting point doesn’t quite compensate enough.

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12 comments

  1. My, this is a lovely theme. And congratulations, both on getting a published column and on being brave enough to share it on Facebook! My well wishes to you on this new journey.

    There are some minor mistakes in the blog posts, which are small and can be easily fixed (mostly spelling). Posting more and practicing your writing is the best way to improve your style and content. Additionally, rearranging commas and other punctuation can help your posts flow more! 🙂

      • You’re very welcome! I’d love to read your posts anytime 🙂 And yes, practicing is much more fun when it’s something you have true passion for. The best way to develop your voice is to write, write, write (eventually your hands begin to hurt, but hey, it’s worth it, right?).

  2. First of all: congrats! As an aspiring journalist and fellow music junkie, I’d love to be a music columist right now. But I guess a blog is the next best thing, right? =p

    Fear is definitely something that a lot of writers feel when they’re starting out, so thank you for sharing that personal experience. It’s probably the first thing a writer should learn to overcome, so it makes for a good first post. Good luck on your column! And what music are you into?

    • Thank you! It’s great to hear from other writers who have been through it too!

      Honestly, I’m into everything. I know it sounds cliché. I just appreciate music for what it is, and I rarely find myself strongly disliking a genre. To have such a talent, whether it’s a voice or instrumental ability, is amazing. I’ve always been jealous of those who are musically inclined, probably because I have nothing even remotely resembling that!

      Right now, I’m pretty obsessed with Kevin Drew/Broken Social Scene, Hozier, Zola Jesus, alt-J, The National…my list always changes though 🙂

      Like I mentioned, my column is in its infancy but here’s a link if you or anyone else is interested in a quick read: http://www.statepress.com/author/katie-self/
      It’s published twice a week, so my posts will add up quickly.

      Thanks again for the words of encouragement!

      • I kind of wish I could be into everything, but I grew up with rock and metal, so it takes a lot of time to acquire a taste and develop an ear for different genres. I have expanded a bit into electronica and new age/neo classical, though.

        How old are you, by the way? I only ask because I’m currently looking for something to do in the field of journalism and want to know how far behind I am =p

      • It’s funny you ask that. My opinion is that you’re never far behind. I decided in my 30’s to completely alter my path in life. I was working a full time desk job when I realized I needed to do something drastic in order to do what I love, so I quit and went back to school full time.

        There’s no set timeline when it comes to something you’re passionate about! Sure, I’m the oldest person in all of my classes, and I’ll be the same age or older than my peers when I take on an internship, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.


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