“Be yourself… everyone else is already taken” — Oscar Wilde
I came into this world in 1972 — the same year that then U.S. President Richard Nixon came under fire amid the Watergate Scandal, NASA launched its Space Shuttle Program, and a gallon of gas cost just 55 cents.
My name, Shannon, is an Irish name meaning old and wise. It is quite apropos, considering I have always felt like an old soul with a need for solitary space to ponder and reflect. I am, at heart, a true introvert.
Growing up, I was a painfully shy child who hid behind her mother’s legs if anyone tried to speak with her.
I read books — a LOT of them. They took me to places I could only reach in my mind and taught me about topics that interested me. I relished every word, every page, every chapter.
And I wrote a lot, too, while growing up. I remember winning an award for my first story, a humorous tale about a turkey and a farmer on Thanksgiving Day.
I owe my entire writing career to that story. Words that I had put on paper in my own unique, loveable, little girl way made others smile and laugh. It was a feeling that would stay with me always.
Of course, when you grow up and become an adult, writing becomes less about telling funny little stories about turkeys and more about figuring out how you can get paid to put words on paper.
My path to becoming a professional writer began in television journalism. While in college, I randomly sent my resume to a local television station that had an opening for a one-year internship.
The station was just one of the hundreds of places I sent my resume to back then, and I quickly forgot about it. Eight months later, they called. Somehow my resume had survived being tossed in the circular file, and for some reason, they still had it.
I landed the internship, and it was absolutely frightening and completely wonderful at the same time. Being in a newsroom was like nothing I had ever experienced before. It was a din of phones ringing, keyboards clicking and anchors and reporters reading their scripts aloud for practice.
A grizzled producer who seemed to hate everyone, especially interns, taught me how to write broadcast news scripts. And I made friends with an overworked young woman who sat in a back room all by herself, updating the station’s website. I started writing full-length news articles to help her out and began building my professional writing portfolio.
It was the beginning of a long career in television news. I wore many hats — intern, broadcast news writer, morning news producer, web producer, online field reporter, travel and outdoor writer/editor, and executive digital producer. Through it all, I wrote and wrote, accumulating hundreds of bylines along the way and becoming a veteran television news staffer.
As I got older, though, the hectic pace of the newsroom began to wear on me. And as ratings dropped with audiences becoming more and more splintered, so did the staffing and any pay raises I hoped to get. There were other factors, as well, that led me to leave television news late in life, which I discuss here:
I switched careers and am now trying my hand at something very different. Today, I work as a senior copywriter at a digital marketing firm. And occasionally I’ll write a piece here on Medium when the mood strikes me.
One more thing...
I would love it — and I know the thousands of writers who share their thoughts and wisdom here would too — if you’d take a moment to consider becoming a Medium member. For just $5 a month, you get full access to every story on Medium. It’s also a great way to support our community of writers — a portion of your membership fee goes directly to the writers you read.