Commentary writing: What I learned writing for the Guardian

So freakin proud of this! Can’t wait to write another. 

Here’s a bit about writing that I learned while writing what you see in the picture.

Once you know what you want to say, the words flow. It’s the not-knowing-what-to-say frustration before you know is what keeps me up at night.

No. Not literally. But I worry about keeping the writing flowing.

Part of that happened when I wrote my op-ed for the Guardian US.

Side note: I have to say that seeing my name–my full name–in the Guardian on a piece that I loved to write was exhilarating. Highly recommend it.

But I digress. When I take a look back at the process of writing this op-ed, three things come to mind.

1.) I hadn’t written anything opinion-y since college. (That was a lie I came to find out.)

2.) I wasn’t sure if I could write something with my opinion. I’m a reporter after all. (Also a lie.)

3.) I had no idea what I was doing. (Only sort of a lie.)

So, let’s take the first lie.

I hadn’t written anything opinion-y since college.

Anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time knows how much of a lie that is. I give my opinion all the time! But my opinion that has nothing to do with writing? That was a little tougher.

That essentially is what I wrote here.  I wrote a blog post with just a little bit more opinion. I found it fun actually to combine two of my skills, reporting and opinion writing. With the help of my editor at The Guardian, I was able to hone in when to use my writing flair and when to be journalist. It’s a skill I’m still learning.  I’m getting some practice now with the new column I’m writing for work but it’s a skill I’m looking to master.

I wasn’t sure if I could write something with my opinion. I’m a reporter after all.

Reporters have opinions. We express them among ourselves but if they are anything like me, they don’t express anything in public. Yes, I express lots of opinions here in this blog but nothing too political. What’s more political than Latino population in the South? Well, lots of things but for sake of argument, it’s political.

Giving my opinion on this topic was the hardest part. Again, I did have to do some reporting on this and I found myself falling back to my roots. Mentally, I had to say it was okay to write what I thought and to be able to defend it.

Felt weird.

I had no idea what I was doing. 

And because it felt weird, I didn’t know exactly what I was doing.  Seriously. I took an editorial writing class in school and has a column in college but that was about it. Again, lots of thanks to my Guardian editor because she really walked me through with her edits.

But even then, I’m not sure I can do it again. I’ll try and hopefully it will be good enough to have another byline in The Guardian.

So how about you? Did you write something that was out of your comfort zone? How did you do it?

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