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Encourage a Young Writer Day

Paul Wozniak writing for his radio show

As a radio host, the question I have been asked the most is ‘How did you get into this line of work?’ Well, I stumbled my way in by finding an internship at 102.5  WDVE Rocks! in Pittsburgh, PA. I stayed in by being a writer. From commercial copy to on air ideas, without pen to paper, fingers to keys, I would not be sitting where I am sitting now if I weren’t first and foremost a writer.

Nothing is more essential

Whenever I speak about radio to kids at schools and assemblies, I always point out that, in becoming a good broadcaster, the ability to write is only rivaled by the hunger for books. Reading voraciously, and reading the best titles and authors, provides timeless perspective on the human condition. With all of the different situations that we face on the air, being able to put things like elections, tornadoes or the personal problems a listener shares on the studio line into perspective is essential. So much can be learned from the great writers that have gone before us.

Make your own ‘Great American (insert medium or format here)’

Reading aids reaction. Writing is creation. ‘Shakespeare will never be made by studying Shakespeare’, Emerson said. Action creates new art and new truth and writers are the source of it. Thought is creation. Writing produces the idea for others to use, ponder, enjoy, and debate. For me, besides being able to structure something like a radio show with writing, it is also absolutely essential in crafting the messages that I put through my microphone and out to the thousands of people listening. My goal is to put inspiring, positive, original material into the universe for people to take with them.

You mean you have to write to rock?

‘How do you become a rock and roll DJ?’ Read and write obsessively. Teachers love the response. Kids are sometimes disappointed, but I know there is at least one bookworm in each audience who, though they may be pretending they like video games or sports more than their Twain, gets the message and understands.

The most spectacular Hollywood effects, the biggest pop song of all time, that thing that I said that stuck with you through the day? They all started as a thought in a head and then a word on the page.

‘Write’ your own ticket

Here’s another encouragement for young writers. We are in the midst of an information revolution, and this revolution has a mantra. “Content is King!” Read the prophetic 1996 article by Bill Gates and you’ll see that just about every word he said came true. In that article he said,

One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create. In a sense, the Internet is the multimedia equivalent of the photocopier. It allows material to be duplicated at low cost, no matter the size of the audience.

Gates wrote these words back in 1996, just like he wrote the programs that became Windows and changed the world. It is now the case that prolific, specialized writing about almost any subject can garner the needed attention to pay the bills of an individual blogger or multinational corporation. There are an inexhaustible supply of lucrative writing careers ahead of us, and you can do it from anywhere that has an internet connection.

Books are turning to iBooks. Newspaper is just going to be ‘news’ and printing is going to go away almost completely. The need for the written word is not. In fact, it’s more important than ever. Because there is no guard at the gate of the internet, and anyone can post whatever they want, writers who are seeking truth and quality have become utterly essential. The marketplace of ideas just went through a supernova explosion, but the quantity does not equate to quality. The responsibility of carrying the torch of the great writing is going to be passed to a generation that don’t need an editor or publisher to spread their word. This will become a double edged sword. The cream, though, as it always has, should rise to the top.

Know more than just the word

This ain’t your ancestors quill and ink bottle. Writers of today better know video, audio, photography, how to source other information and images, and all of the interactivity that comes along with the internet and mobile devices. All internet posts start with an idea that will be written to be realized, but writing words is only a part of it. I think this adds to the fun. We can say so much and can use so many mediums to say it. It’s a constant process of learning though, so once you learn to type, young writers have to keep learning and learning.

April 10 is Encourage a Young Writer Day! Write, write, write, young people! Find the truth…or find what is false, and that will take you closer to the truth. Write!

 

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