I accepted a challenge to write 30 stories in 30 days. This is a "power start" for my new adventure as an independent consultant and freelance writer. You see, I earned my PhD in Urban Studies exactly one year ago. Perhaps I should have listened to my husband sooner when he asked, "What do you do with a PhD in Urban Studies?" Many college grads ask themselves that same question regardless of which major or interest they have chosen. We ask ourselves... Where can I work? Where do I want to live?
In New Orleans, we have been deemed an entrepreneurial hub that is ripe for young talent to seek out their own innovative pathways to career and social success. Shortly after Katrina, national headlines explained this city experienced a "brain drain." This phenomenon involved bright, young scholars moving out of the region to seek jobs elsewhere. The narrative has changed. Stories now circulate that New Orleans is experiencing a "brain gain" where new talent and innovative ideas have the potential to propel our city towards a more sustainable future. Can this be a source of inspiration for someone like me?
I do not fit neatly into any one category. This makes a traditional job search difficult. When someone asks a simple question of "what do you do?" Or "what kind of job are you looking for?" I meet their gaze with a blank stare rather than a well-rehearsed elevator pitch. I can do a great number of things and my fields of interest are vast. Picture this: a person whom I admire very much has a Masters degree in Physics. She also has a Masters in Fine Arts. Seemingly opposites co-exist within one person. She can balance the books as an accountant and then design and sew a Mardi Gras costume so pretty it could make you cry. What kind of "job" could satisfy such a person?
The answer that I came up with is writing. Rather than producing widgets on an assembly line or T-shirts displaying the latest NOLA-flavored graphics, writing involves the production and dissemination of information. As someone who spent over a decade in pursuit of higher education accolades, information is something I can produce. As a doctoral student and researcher, I wrote every day (well, almost everyday) and understand what it means to do production writing rather than waiting for the Muses to whisper sweet inspirations into my ear. However, when asked by potential clients for some writing samples, I struggle to find anything in my portfolio shorter than 15 pages long. 20,000 words on urban development is not exactly what someone looking for 500 words of marketing copy want to see. Even 20,000 words on something that appeals to a broad audience, like sports (one of my specialties), is too much of a 'sample' to digest. In a quest to build a portfolio of appropriate writing samples, I will use this blog as a platform. My first challenge is to write 30 posts in 30 days. The adventure begins.