Writing we only do once

My writing career started with the personal essay, triggered by a daughter who wasn’t clicking along like the child development books said she would. I turned to poetry, learned that every word matters, and fell in love with the flow and rhythm of language. When the call to write wouldn’t go away, I did a 180 and left the Chicago offices of Vogue magazine, moved to Colorado and, after a year at an ad agency, joined a nonprofit started by a photographer. With her images and my words, we documented the lives of children with cancer. I learned raw, honest, life-and-death writing, the kind we only get to do once, writing that has to count.

Hooked on story

After eight years of writing about bald heads and IV poles, I sought neutral ground and started my own copywriting business. I’d been writing stories for years. I’d witnessed their power to touch, evoke and persuade. In my new business, I used the idea of “story” to help companies and organizations talk about who they are and what they do.

The perks of ownership

I partner with a variety of clients, graphic designers, photographers and marketing gurus, write for all kinds of businesses, and form relationships with all kinds of people. Writing for a homebuilder one day and a personal chef the next keeps me nimble and fresh. I like working in the for-profit as well as the nonprofit worlds. I like the balancing act, the difference in tone and nuance. In both cases, I lean on story as the framework for content.

Happiness must be built, and this requires time and effort.
— Matthieu Ricard

When I’m not working

I love adventure travel and the training to get ready for it. The stamina and determination that get me to the top of a peak also keep me on-task and focused in my work life. I’ve traveled to rural Nepal several times, digging trenches to bring water to villages and helping to re-build a school that was destroyed in 2015 earthquakes. Six of us just returned from an epic trek in the Cordillera Huayhuash in Peru. Getting out of my comfort zone grounds me in the present. Life experiences inform my writing and broaden my perspective—a necessity for a writer, business owner and traveler.