Don’t have an opinion? Write one!

Because I’m officially insane, in addition to my NYU summer intensive in Philanthropy and Fundraising I’m attending a weekly Tuesday-night workshop in writing for New York magazines and newspapers with freelance guru and renowned teacher Susan Shapiro.

Shapiro has as many opinions as she has had articles published. I signed up for this four-week course to glean practical advice on writing publishable short prose – and, quite frankly, to lean on her extensive network of industry contacts. The contacts are yet to pay off – although it’s early days since I submitted a piece to one magazine – but her advice is spot on. Be specific. What’s your personal connection to this op-ed topic? You need a timely lede. That reference is a year old – it’s out of date.

I look around at the twenty-somethings who comprise the majority of my peers in this class. I admire them for turning up: in my twenties I was such a harsh self-censor I immediately rejected any topic I imagined to write about – why would anyone care what I thought, about anything? Some of my fellow students don’t feel any shame about their lack of grammatical care or sentence craft. I don’t feel old; I’m just glad not to feel scared any more. I’m here to learn, and hopefully get published.

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