Writing Skills Aren’t Just For Journalism

I was in Washington DC last week to speak on a panel to other working journalists about transferring their writing skills into other professions to increase their income streams. Most of them were either looking to make money on the side or switch careers altogether. I have been lucky to spread my skill sets into many different areas beyond the newsroom over the last decade, including creating content for websites I build, ghostwriting articles for famous people. writing RFPs for major government and NGO contracts and doing research for documentaries.

There are many other areas where someone who knows how to write and edit copy concisely and on deadline is in demand. Below are some areas you may not think of at first, but are looking to hire media professionals.

College Dissertations

Students pursuing doctorate degrees need to submit dissertations before they graduate. Most of them are not the best writers. This is why they hire professional writers and editors to make sense of their final work. I recently helped one doctorate student with the editing process which took about a year to do rewrites and edits. This can be lucrative work for someone looking for a side hustle.

Customer Relations

Since more customer interactions are done online today, many companies hire people with good communication skills who can correspond with customers by email or social media. Companies depend on customer service reps to present their brand by answering questions or complaints in the best light, so there is a return on their investment, as well as returning customers.

Marketing and Sales

As I mentioned above, more business is being done online, and content is king. Companies large and small are hiring writers and editors to create content for websites, social media, newsletters, email campaigns, brochures, flyers, banners, etc. This is basically what my company, Global Wire Associates, does for clients every day. (shameless self-promotion).

Human Resources

Somebody has to know how to write job descriptions in the most effective way to attract the best candidate pool. Larger companies tend to hire in-house copywriters whose sole job is to write job descriptions and internal company policies.

Grant Writing

Nonprofits are always looking for money, so they have to apply for grants on a regular basis. The best-written proposals are the ones that tend to win grants. Smaller nonprofits that don’t have a staff development officer usually need help with grant writing. These organizations don’t pay a lot if they even pay at all for these services, but it could help you gain more skills in this area that could lead to more lucrative job opportunities at larger nonprofits in the future.


I mentioned above that I do ghostwrite sometimes. Companies and well-known people hire professional writers to create compelling content but under their name. I have had a lot of my writing used in large media campaigns and even written articles under the byline of a couple of famous people, but I can’t tell you who because of confidentiality contracts. Nonetheless, this is lucrative work. I will write about this process more in a future post.

Documentary Research

Filmmakers hire researchers to fact-check and analyze information that will be used in a documentary film. This is done to make sure the film is thoughtful and accurate. More filmmakers today are hiring journalists to do this work. You spend a lot of time doing in-person or phone interviews with subjects, doing research at libraries and archives, and reviewing documents, photos and video and taking notes. I recently was hired to do research for a documentary on reproductive and sexual health in West Africa. This is very rewarding and lucrative work. I will also write about this process in a future post.

I am hosting a webinar called “Copywriting for Media Professionals” in the fall which will touch on some of these issues. I don’t have a date and registration set up yet, but if you are interested in participating, email info@globalwireonline.org.

When Redefining Realness Gets Real

I just finished reading Janet Mock’s first book, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.  I had only wished I had read this book sooner.  I am so glad that we are living in a moment when trans folks and other marginalized groups are finally having their voices heard.

The memoir chronicles Mock’s life starting as a child coming to grips with her gender identity in a broken home, switching between her mother’s home in Hawaii and with her dad in Oakland and Dallas.  It is hard enough to grow up with poverty and drug addiction with your parents and surviving sexual abuse as an adolescent, in addition to going through a gender transition.

I also admire the level of maturity Mock had as a teenager.  Many of the decisions she had to make at an early age forced her to have to grow up very quickly. The most interesting part of the book was near the end when she raised money through sex work to have gender reassignment surgery in Thailand.  Having gender reassignment surgery at any age is a big decision to make, let alone at 18.

The book does a great job of explaining the many issues and concerns within the transgender community, like stigma and discrimination faced by trans folks within families, schools, and workplaces.  As a cisgender person, these are many issues I sometimes take for granted.

I do encourage others to read this one before reading her new book!


Summer Music Playlist 2017!

Everyone knows that music is the soundtrack to my life.  I love all kinds of music – hip-hop, reggae, r&b, rock, electronica, pop, jazz – you name it.  If it has a good beat, I most likely have that song on my iPod!

Summer is a great time to refresh your playlists with tunes that set the mood for the hot days and sizzling nights.  I listed some songs below that I am feeling right now.  None of them are current chart toppers playing on the radio today, but rather, timeless hits.  Plus, a lot of today’s music is garbage, but I digress…  I’m in a 90s kind of world, and I am glad I got my… playlist.  A good song, no matter when it was made, never goes out of style.

This list is in no particular; they are just random, cool summer songs.

If Loving You Is All That I Have To Do (Live) by Mary J Blige and K-Ci

Don’t Let Me Lose This Dream by Aretha Franklin

When You’re Near Me by Guru

A La Claire Fontaine by MC Solaar

Where It’s At by Beck

Dance Wit Me by Chaka Khan

You’ve Got The Love by DJ Center

Summer Sun by Koop

Monie in the Middle by Monie Love

A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays by De La Soul

Flashback by Fat Freddy’s Drop

The Bridge by MC Shan

The Bridge Is Over by Boogie Down Productions (because it is only fair to have this song too!)

Beasts of No Nation by Fela Kuti

Waiting in Vain by Bob Marley

Let’s Dance by David Bowie

No, No, No by Dawn Penn

Fly Girl by Queen Latifah

Club Tropicana by Wham!

Spoonman by Soundgarden

That’s The Way The World Goes Round by Earth, Wind, and Fire

Money Can’t Buy It by Annie Lenox

Save the Overtime (For Me) by Gladys Knight and the Pips

So What by Miles Davis

Microagressions, Explained

Questions concept

Last week I went to a workshop on race and identity in the workplace, and the topic of microaggressions came up.  Bias inside and outside the workplace is a very real thing today.  However, most of these acts will not be direct and in your face, like someone saying a racial slur.  Microaggressions are unintentional but continuously indirect remarks and acts against people of color.

For example, many white people always want to touch my hair or ask where I am really from.  No, you can touch my fair and, yes, I was born and raised in the United States.

Instead of me explaining what this is, this video does a better job of doing it.