No one ever has just one role. Some people are athletes, students, and leaders; others are teachers, coaches, and artists. Me? I’m a writer, editor, designer, and performer.
Growing up, I hated writing—I didn’t think I was good at it, so I didn’t think it was fun. Not until I took a journalism class in high school and found a niche in writing that I had fun with. From then on, I knew I was going to be a writer of some sort. At the time, I thought I’d be a journalist, and majored in journalism at Michigan State. But I soon realized that it wasn’t for me, so I headed over to the Professional Writing program, where I learned all sorts of things that made me just as excited about writing as I had been a few years prior. There are so many different things writing can do, and I love that I am one of the ones who gets to play with them.
While on the staff of my high school’s student newspaper, I discovered that I really liked peer editing my classmates’ articles and being able to help them produce their best work possible. I also helped my friends out with papers throughout college. I even enjoyed self-editing, and many times I would leave errors in a first draft just so I could fix them later. That’s another reason I changed majors: once I was studying professional writing, editing and grammar became a main focus. I love the nitty-gritty work of fine-tuning grammar, and streamlining main ideas; but mainly, I love helping people with their work and making it great.
When I was a kid, the first thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a ballerina. That didn’t pan out, so I decided I wanted to be an artist: art was my favorite subject in school and I was constantly drawing and coloring at home. Unfortunately, I lacked the patience to produce really great work on paper, and ceramics is an expensive field. But once I learned how to use Photoshop, Dreamweaver and InDesign, I had new media to work upon. I still get to be artistic, while at the same time expressing a message.
As I said, my first goal in life was to be a ballerina. I ended up down a different path, though: I joined my high school’s color guard at the start of my freshman year. (For those who don’t know what color guard is, this Wikipedia article provides a good definition.) For the first time in my life, I had found a community where I fit in and an activity that I loved. It was my life for the rest of high school and all through college. The thrill I get from a great performance is an unmatched experience, and I’ve been very fortunate to have performed with some amazing groups (mainly: the Spartan Marching Band and State of Art Winterguard).
Being in guard has also altered my worldview a bit: I see everything as a performance. Like in writing, all performances have content at their core that is being presented, and the content has to be presented coherently. Like in design, there is a visual aspect, from what the performers are wearing and how they carry themselves to any props or backdrops being used. Like in editing, performances need to be rehearsed and refined to be the best they can be. All of these things have an audience they are intended for, and all need to be the best they can be before they go out into the world.
For me, all of these tie together and all of them shape what I do and how I do it. There’s really no other way to describe me than as a writer, editor, designer and performer.