For journalists immersed in a world of information regarding the latest news, updates, and regular goings-on around the world, the quality with which they write may not seem like the most important part of their jobs. While it does carry a great deal of weight in getting the point across accurately and clearly, few journalists may realize just how beneficial their jobs are when it comes to creative writing.
Because of the style of writing required in journalism, those covering breaking news stories must get information across quickly and in a tone that is easy to read. Without knowing it, they are transforming their writing abilities, and when those abilities are applied to creative writing, they may find that it comes easy to them on their first try.
One of the most obvious aspects of journalism is the need to conduct research. Someone who reports the news is morally obligated to tell the truth, and back that truth up with factual statements and sources. Stating something groundbreaking is almost always going to be researched by readers (though that may be wishful thinking), so glossing over certain aspects of the story can result in a loss of audience. The same can be said when writing a story. Pay attention to the little things, and be sure to connect all the dots. With a background in fact checking, writers with journalism experience can create a much more compelling story with extreme detail.
Interviewing is a large part of a journalist’s career. This constant face-to-face interaction allows one to develop a specific dialogue that can be gradually improved over time. You are also given the opportunity to listen to other people speak, providing you with different perspectives on tone of voice, vocabulary, and syntax. Putting all of this down on a piece of paper then becomes second nature. You suddenly have several ways to word a sentence, which can be overwhelming, but ultimately rewarding.
The concept of deadlines, though stressful, can create a subconscious will of determination when writing in your free time. Journalists all know that they must live and die by deadlines if they are to keep their jobs. This sense of discipline can be a magical thing when writing stories, because I’m sure we are all aware of the frustrations of being easily distracted, and losing our train of thought. The overwhelming feeling of needing to finish a story on time can help, so long as you’re able to pace yourself, and not rush.
Though some journalists may not be so inclined as to write creatively in their spare time, should they choose to do so, they may be surprised as to how easily it comes to them. The skills needed in the world of journalism can greatly enhance one’s ability to write compelling stories, and engage his or her readers on a better level than a writer with little or no experience dealing with the stress and constant action seen in an office setting.