A month or so after I finished my masters degree in journalism and moved to Houston, Azizah magazine’s editor accepted a pitch for my second professional article ever. I was thrilled. After that I wrote one or two more, and then things dried up. I got a job as an at-home medical transcriptionist (a skill that I’m glad I acquired 20 years ago, as it pays pretty well and is usually available), which paid my bills and my daughter’s rent, and then proceeded to apply for job after job with no success.
In 2008 I opened an educational center/bookstore and for three years did something I never imagined I would, the demise of which I won’t analyze here. As soon as I closed the bookstore I pitched an article to Azizah and it was accepted. I made a pitch to Toastmaster magazine. It was accepted. I made a pitch to Islamic Horizons magazine and it was accepted. In less than a year I’ve been assigned four articles by Toastmaster, three by Islamic Horizons and two for Azizah (with possibly a third in the wings). These are feature articles, most of them 1800-2000 words, and one was a cover story.
My point: I am a success. I’m not writing for nationally prestigious magazines, but editors have consistently shown confidence in me and my skills, and that counts for more than anything. One day God willing my byline will appear above 5000-word articles, in the pages of large-circulation magazines or newspapers. That’s my goal.
I believe that God has shown me clearly that writing will be my area of success. During my first four years here I applied for jobs in public relations, medical communication, administrative assistant, secretary – everything I had a skill set in. I got nothing. The bookstore had moments of greatness but didn’t last.
As soon as all the tentative, the unfulfilling, the impossible was done I had success after success with magazine writing. And I was accepted to Goucher.
When I first finished my masters I didn’t feel I had the right to call myself a journalist. It wasn’t what I was spending most of my time doing. It wasn’t my primary source of income. When I got a new assignment today it struck me that I do have that right. I sat down with my planner to map out the next couple of weeks and realized that what I do is journalism, and right now between professional work and school I have a lot to do.
I am a journalist and I have lots of work. Praise God.