SENIOR ASSOCIATE – WRITER
My road to being a writer wasn’t a straight one. From a young age, I wanted to help people. The first road I thought of was lawyer. I could fight for those who couldn’t fight for themselves. But others who knew something about the law always painted a grim portrait and so I stepped away. I finished my Psychology major with a minor in Political Science. University was a gruelling load of written assignments and essays but I was talented with words and so I finished top of my class. The road felt straighter for a while. After school, I worked part-time at a psychology clinic, expanding my role from office management to junior clinician and report writer. I knew I was helping people, but I wasn’t feeling a passion for Psychology. I stepped away again. This time, I knew where I wanted to go but I couldn’t see the road to get there.
I wanted to be a writer. Should I go back to school? That didn’t seem feasible. Should I apply for my dream writing job? I didn’t yet have the chops or an idea of what that job would be. Instead I spent the better part of five years hustling for side gigs while working full-time salaried jobs to pay the bills. I worked on proposals for non-profits. I edited reports for colleagues. I wrote copy for friends’ websites. I donated blog articles. I studied writing techniques in my spare time, and I used every opportunity to get the word out: I was a writer, and I was open for business.
Then the opportunity of a lifetime happened. With no background in journalism, I landed a job as freelance reporter for Castanet Media. Now, I was spending every day talking to people and listening to their stories. I saw it as an enormous responsibility and I endeavoured to write ethical news through the eyes of the heroes, the fallen, and the survivors. Becoming their storyteller was an honour and a privilege.
I still thrive on capturing people’s stories. I’m pretty sure I drive some of my clients around the bend at times with my attention to detail and my tenacity at discovering their truth. I believe they come back to me because, through writing, I make their story something their audiences will remember, will take action on, and maybe use to navigate the turns in their roads.
Melissa Ligertwood is Principal at Content Lime Communications www.contentlime.com