…and blogger, and speaker, and consultant, and travel expert, and event host/organizer, and award-winning TV producer. And that doesn’t even begin to define me as beyond my ‘work’ I am also a foodie, a friend, a connector, a bike rider, an animal-lover, a pet sitter, a landlord, an airbnb host, a volunteer cat foster, a city girl, a traveler, and a partner.
Can you say “identity crisis??”
By the way, have I mentioned how amazing it is that I type some words on a screen and hit publish and you are all reading it right now? Crazy.
When asked what I did for a living, I used to just say “I’m a TV producer” and that was that. Being a freelancer, I’ve learned that my title can vary depending on whom I’m talking to or what my role is that day.
Throughout my career, I’ve always been in media and journalism and have been a writer and photographer of some kind. In my broadcast journalism days, I directed live newscasts and then produced and wrote for local television. I wrote promos (typically 30 second commercials) for news and sports and even for the Simpsons (watching an hour of Homer clips to find the best ones was not a bad way to spend an afternoon). And then I produced special programs — typically half-hour specials on anything from food and chefs, to the latest fitness trends, travel destinations, and even more serious topics like Latino Gang violence (for which I won an Emmy award).
Then I quit TV. But I continued to write. I started this blog (eight years ago this month!). I started to freelance for other publications and websites. I saw that I could use my former training and expertise as a writer/producer and meld that into a new freelance career — something I’ve been cobbling together for nearly a decade.
I am proud to be a member of a newish community to me, a community of writers across all platforms (not just blogging). I was asked by my lovely friend Kate (you know her, she’s THE Kate Silver, after all) to be a part of a little “blog hop.” Kate and I met at a travel media event in Chicago, but in fact, I had remembered reading her byline on a story I loved in Southwest Airlines in-flight magazine months prior. I felt like a fan. And bonus — she was just really nice and cool and we’ve since become friends, which is really the best part of my new career and life — all the wonderful people I am able to meet and connect with.
Now, on to the ‘blog hop’. Here are the questions I’ve been asked to answer:
1) What am I working on/writing?
Ha! What am I not working on? I seem to always be in the middle of random projects. Right now, besides keeping up with my weekly blog posts (which of course also includes marketing, social media, backend b.s., formatting, photography, etc), I am continuing to write for publications like American Way (which sadly just went down to one issue per month). I also write periodically for the West Jet’s UP!, Chicago Tribune, Jetsetter.com, Orbitz.com, theLatinKitchen.com, and just started writing more for a new site which I am excited about called Urbanful.org — lots of cool city stories on there. I just finished two speaking engagements in Chicago — one on how to create great video for Ms. Tech, and also a webinar for Ragan Communications for PR and marketing folks on working with today’s bloggers. And I recently wrapped up a project called Bloghouse Chicago with my digital marketing team of travel bloggers and influencers over at Navigate Media Group. I also continue to do a little video production management and coaching/consulting. And I am also working on releasing the second edition of my travel tips book on Amazon. Phew!
2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
Everyone’s voice is different, but I like to think I strike a nice balance between my journalistic-get-the-facts-right side with a more first-person, bring-you-along-with-me narrative. Beyond that sometimes I feel like I differ because writing is just a piece of my puzzle. I also do and sell a lot of travel and food photography and have always loved photography since my first SLR when I was a teenager taking dark room classes in high school.
3) Why do I write what I do?
They always say: write what you know. Well, I write about what I like. And I like travel, food, eco-stories, urban spunk, and progressive ideas, apps, and thought.
4) How does my writing process work?
Ha! Another one that makes me laugh. I’m still working on my “process”, but suffice it to say that I rarely just sit and write from beginning to end. I’m more structured or math-brained it seems. I start more with an outline or ideas/facts on a page and then adds bits here and there and then stop. Then I get bored. So I leave it alone for awhile and return later. Then I piece it all together with some hopeful creative flair. And then if the ADD of other things doesn’t get in the way, I can finish. I find it very rare that I just have writing days anymore. More often, I’m doing a lot of little housekeeping, admin, emailing, research, invoicing, pitching and other sh*t that leaves me little time to actually…write. But I have to admit, I actually like the other sh*t and sometimes I like the idea of the story and the research MORE than the actual writing. Yes.
Here are a few writers that I’ve chosen to feature. Please check out their blogs and work. Not only are they talented women, they are good friends that I admire and who make me think…and laugh!
Kate Silver has been writing professionally for 15 years, seven of which have been full-time freelance. She got her start writing news and features as a staff writer in Las Vegas in 1999. Along the way, she’s stalked celebrities for People Magazine, co-authored guidebooks on Las Vegas, and investigated off-the-beaten path stories (like one about the so-called “Wedding Chapel Wars”) for national outlets. In 2007, she quit her job as associate editor with Las Vegas Life magazine and took the freelance plunge, eventually moving to Chicago to live closer to family. Today, she juggles a healthy mix of editorial and corporate work, specializing in travel, food, wellness and feature stories. Her work appears in Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and Crain’s, and she also writes and blogs for a number of businesses and non-profits, including Chevrolet, General Motors, American Heart Association, Behr Paint and others. Silver also works on a number of ghostwriting projects, large and small, and is wrapping up her second ghostwritten book. In addition, she recently completed the 2015 Frommer’s Easy Guide to Chicago, to be published in August. She is a member of AWJ and ASJA, and serves on the planning committee for ASJA’s Content Connections, an annual writer’s conference that will be held in Chicago November 13-14. Silver maintains a website at www.thekatesilver.com.
Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can’t sit still. For the past decade she has been busy either traveling, planning to travel or writing about travel. She has lived on four continents, everywhere from London to Xi’an China and has traveled through dozens more countries. In addition to freelance work for a variety of travel companies including RoamRight, TripIt and Trivago, Stephanie writes about her own adventures on her blog Twenty-Something Travel.
Leyla Giray Alyanak is a former foreign correspondent with a passion for travel and improving people’s lives in developing countries. At 43 she made a major decision to reinvent herself and left to travel the world solo for six months. She was gone more than three years. Leyla now works for an international development agency in Geneva and she blogs at Women on the Road.
Keryn Means is an East Coast native living life as a freelance writer in Seattle surrounded by her two little boys and one incredible husband. When not dragging the men in her life across the globe you can find Keryn writing on her blog Walking On Travels, a site that gives hope to today’s active parent that doesn’t see kids as a roadblock to travel, but an excuse to get out the door and explore. Keryn has laughed at the naysayers by bringing her boys to far off lands like China, Hong Kong, Japan, Hawaii, back and forth across the USA, Mexico, Canada, and even across Europe. Keryn loves to encourage families to take that first step out the door, the hardest step of all. Follow along on their adventures on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.