Sunday, December 20, 2015

AN ANNOUNCEMENT

My first Hello Giggles post was, unsurprisingly, about cats. It went up on October 6th, 2014, in the "From Our Readers" section of the website. I had just gotten back from seeing the Gone Girl movie, and was sitting in my friend's apartment after we had made dinner. Even in the short car ride back to campus, they had gotten tired of me talking about the cat and the role it played in the film, so I decided to write it up myself. I sent it to a few publications that evening, and within ten minutes, Hello Giggles wrote back accepting. 

I don't remember specifically how I discovered Hello Giggles, but I had known about it for some time. In fact, my sister found this gem on Facebook from 2012, back when I was reading Hello Giggles but not quite sure how to be a part of it.

Of course, the author we were talking about hadn't stolen my life. I was still a sophomore in college. I hadn't been published anywhere and, as far as I knew, it wasn't possible to make a living as a writer. I was, however, writing for my school blog. I applied for it on a whim during my freshman year, not knowing that it would end up being the thing I cared about the most during my four years at Kenyon, and that it would be the thing that made me realize what I actually wanted to do with my life. I just wasn't ready to say it yet.

So I kept chugging along at my English degree, anticipating a long career in publishing without acknowledging that it wasn't something I was as passionate about anymore. The nights I spent writing fiction and reading books had been replaced with stalking the Twitter feeds of online writers I admired and taking deep-dives into Gawker media drama. When something happened in my life that made me excited or angry, my first thought changed from being "I'll write a story about this" to "I'll write a post." There was this electricity that came with hitting publish and watching the post gain traction. The comments would pile up and the piece would get shared, even if it was just in the small Ohio liberal arts college community. 

The first time I had the "I could do this" thought was actually stupidly early. I had been brought on board as a contributor at Hello Giggles and gotten pitches accepted at both XOJane and Bitch Magazine all within a month. While my Hello Giggles writing was mostly small one-off pieces that I pitched every few weeks, I got occasional news assignments that began to snowball, especially with the launch of the website's "teen" section in the spring. By the time I moved to New York, I was writing up to seven a day, sitting on the floor of my furniture-less apartment, or ducking into Starbucks during days out with friends, whipping out the laptop I always carried with me and promising that this would just take a half hour. 

This is where Racked comes in. I don't have an exciting story about this one. I saw that they were hiring fall interns for their New York site. I applied, I interviewed, and on September 14th, I had my first day. I was so incredibly underqualified. I knew a decent amount about the New York retail scene, but only from trips up here with my family. When it came to fashion, my inspiration came solely from the YouTubers I follow. I was thrown in head-first. While after the first week I felt like I was doing horribly and inconveniencing the entire office, by the last week I was on top of it. No matter what stressful things were happening outside my life, sitting down at a desk and pulling up my to-do list gave me this sense of calm. Upload photos, write the piece, repeat.

For both of these jobs, I said yes to everything. I've written posts at five AM outside of a Starbucks in Midtown before it's even opened. I've written posts up on my phone while making the 20-minute walk from my apartment to the subway. I worked nights, weekends, on lunch breaks, and on Thanksgiving. I did it all even when I was tired, sad, or had other plans, in hopes of somehow eventually reaching this moment. 

Come the new year, I will be joining Hello Giggles full time to write and edit morning news. I will also be staying on at Racked as a freelance reporter. I have amazing editors and bosses to thank, but I'm bad at all that mushy stuff. Instead, I'm gonna hit publish, eat a cookie, and pet my cat. In a way, nothing has changed at all. 

1 comment:

  1. Dearest niece of ours, this makes us warm and fuzzy all over, sorta like long-haired cats, save for the cleaning ourselves by tongue thing they the revel in doing. Like your folks, we're tickled to see that you have persevered, taken some big risks, and emerged from it all with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Good luck as you move forward, and keep on writing!
    -Chuck, Kristen, Braden, & Avery

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