Series: On becoming a professional writer by Bonnie Toews (Part 5)
5. Learning to accommodate to survive
If you are interested in developing a newspaper career, the best place to start is working for a weekly publication where you are forced to learn the basics, whether as a reporter or an ad salesperson.
When you first move to a daily newspaper, you’re wondering how you will ever manage it because the weekly was hectic enough. Once you start however, it feels like a breeze because your work at the daily is narrowed down to specific tasks, and this is what you do from day-to-day.
When TV Showtime’s owner died and his widow sold it, the local daily newspaper had already approached me about selling advertising for them. I started in classified and eventually graduated to retail display ads. I was never a sales person. What carried me forward was the fun of finding out about the advertiser’s customers and designing an ad campaign to attract his buyers. Getting the order signed was just a necessary part to that process. I never enjoyed a “high” from the sale, only from the result of the ad campaign, if it worked, and usually it did.
I sold advertising for different media, including magazines, from 1972 until 1981. In 1981, I married my soul mate. Two weeks later, at the end of our honeymoon, I suffered a major heart attack. I was 40 years old, the slimmest I had ever been and feeling the most attractive and confident I had ever felt. This shouldn’t happen at that point in your life when you are your happiest, right?
How did I react? I was furious: 1) with my body for betraying me and 2) with God for betraying me. Why would He bring me to such rapture and then throw this curve ball? I felt as if I had cheated my husband. He thought he was marrying a whole healthy person. Instead he got saddled with this drag who also displayed growing signs of aphasia. My speech was affected. My energy was affected. If I walked a block, I experienced angina and had to take two nitroglycerin to get to the end and another two to get back home.
Next: Re-wiring the Brain
Through a career that has ranged from teacher to editorial director of 30 business magazines, Canadian journalist Bonnie Toews has covered significant events such as the 20th Century’s international humanitarian relief effort following the Rwandan genocide. As a result of this experience, the plight of children in war is a recurring theme in her novels. She has published hundreds of articles and won five Canadian business press awards. Her website explores the passion and research behind her novel writing. Currently, she is a member of the Military Writers Society
Bonnie Toews Blog 1: http://bonnie-toews.blogspot.com Blog 2: http://parkinsons-caregiver.blogspot.com