It was my freshman year at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
“I don’t give A’s because I never see A work.”
Those words from my college professor never left me.
I was just 30 minutes from my tiny hometown, Elkins, West Virginia and was not the most studious kid in high school. I did just enough to get by; to make sure I could pass, graduate and never look back. Working hard and being responsible wasn’t the issue, it was more so about studying. I lacked every bit of motivation to buckle down and get the job done.
When college rolled around, I was definitely not in the right “mode,” but when that professor said those words, I immediately felt a jolt of, “I’ll show her!”
It would be another year before I fully committed to working hard in college. For some reason, I was really surprised to learn that with discipline and solid work ethic, I could make the Dean’s List. Ahhhh. That felt good.
Fast forward to my junior year. By now, I knew how to write really well. So well, in fact, that the very professor who never claimed to never see A work was giving me A’s on a regular basis. I knew I was on to something good. But there was one class and one professor. This one seemed intent on holding me back. I didn’t get it. I knew I could write well, but this professor didn’t just give me hard time; she gave me F’s.
I had her one semester and couldn’t wait for that time to come to a close. I had to work 3 weeks into the summer, revising papers to meet her standards just so I could eek by with a C-.
She didn’t hold me back. My writing skills – that I knew were killer – came in handy during my last semester of college when I was able to leave school to participate in an internship in Washington, DC. I wanted to be a journalist, so my options came down to two places: CNN or the Fox TV show, “America’s Most Wanted.” CNN seemed obvious, but there was something about AMW that seemed fitting. I followed my gut, and in January of 1999, packed up and moved to the nation’s capital.
During my time at AMW, I dabbled in everything from pitch meetings to writing scripts for the host, John Walsh. When one of my pitches was accepted to air on the show, I was elated. AMW also had a monthly magazine and I co-wrote the feature story on the piece I pitched. I felt “official.” I was a published writer and not yet out of college.
After graduation, I headed back to AMW to be a production assistant and then 18 months later, I snagged my first reporter gig back in West Virginia. One year after that, I moved to Savannah, GA for another reporter job. That eventually led to a promotion to the morning news anchor position. Two years later and I fell out of love with news; the career I thought I’d do forever felt taxing. I left that job – and that career forever. I transitioned into public relations where my love of writing continued to flourish. Now, it’s what I do. There have been some intentional pauses in my career, what, with bringing three beautiful girls into the world over a six-year period, but I can truly say I love writing and still love being on camera. I’ve self-published two cookbooks and “ham it up” on my Youtube channel regularly.
I’m building my brand and business as a writer and I’m damn good at it. Just imagine if I had let that one professor convince me that my skills were no good? As difficult as that experience was, I gained a valuable lesson. How you allow one person’s opinions to affect you is a choice. That one professor’s C- opinion was nothing but her own disillusion, but that A+ professor’s take is what I allowed to make a difference. Sure enough, it did, and I have 20 years of success to prove it.
Here at Iris Content, we would like to believe we are more than just another copywriting agency. We are a well-balanced team of creators. Coming from different walks of life, our experiences set us apart as individuals, but we are brought together by an overarching passion for the written word. A passion for research and content writing, a desire to help our clients achieve their goals. Aiming for excellence, we are stronger together, as a content team. Starting this May, every month, you will find out in this blogging section what our writers have been up to, what their take on the content world is. Because our content is not automatic and soulless, because our team members have their own voices and their own expertise that you can now benefit from directly.