Reason To Write: To Make a Difference

Alisa Bowman

Alisa Bowman, my blogging BFF.

The other week, I wrote the kick-off post in a new Freelancedom series — Reason To Write. It was a post about how writing had provided me with the opportunity to experience new things, and discover new passions… like recreational cooking (I’m too much of a disaster in the kitchen to actually call myself an amateur cook, or a foodie). I invited readers to share their own stories.My first guest blogger in the series is the fabulous Alisa Bowman, a laugh-out-loud funny blogger, and the author of the forthcoming Project: Happily Ever After (SUCH a good read!). Her reason to write? Well… read on…

Many years ago, as a newspaper reporter, I wrote because I wanted to make the world a better place. Then, three years into the job, I found myself standing across the street from the house of a woman who had just lost all three of her children. Her ex-husband had shot them all in the head and then set them on fire. Then he’d shot himself.

I was supposed to knock on her door, ask her how she felt and see if she might lend me some photos of her children.

I felt like a slimeball.

I’d just covered a murder like this the week before — and another one the week before that. In the state of Delaware, fathers killing their children had become a “trend,” one that had gained national media attention. News vans and reporters lined the street. This grieving mother could not leave her house without someone sticking a microphone or a camera in her face.

They all wanted a comment from her about how she felt.

I already knew how she felt. She felt like she wanted to die. She felt like she was about to throw up. She felt worse than she’d ever felt in her life.

I didn’t need to ask her how she felt to know that.

I stared at this woman’s front door. I took a deep breath. I let it out with a sigh. I wiped a tear from my cheek. I looked at the other reporters. I sighed again. I got back into my car. I drove to a florist. I sent her flowers.

And then I started combing the want ads.

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Reason To Write: It Got Me Cooking

line of casseroles

I ate all of these.

Last month, I wrote about how my writing had forced me out of my comfort zone, leading me to make my own wine, tour 34 wineries, and even battle my extreme social anxiety in order to give a live reading during NYC’s annual Lit Crawl.

You guys responded with some pretty fabulous stories yourselves. Susan Johnston of The Urban Muse mentioned that she had done a few Mortified readings (so cool!), and Natalia M. Sylvester of Inky Clean wrote of the time she had gone to a bee farm to watch how honey is made (I find this absolutely terrifying).

I love stories like these. Because, while the number one reason I write is to connect with others, the number two reason I write is to give myself an excuse (or an opportunity) to try new things.

And because this is such a huge part of the freelance lifestyle (and of freelancedom, if you will), I’d like to share these stories more often, and hear more of yours.

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