When I left television news at the end of 2004, I was burned out and ready to do something else. At the time, there was also little I could find to appreciate about my years as a journalist. Now I know better.
Writing anywhere with anything going on. That is the first skill for which I can thank my career as a reporter and producer. It doesn't matter what's going on in the background, I can still crank it out. I've written on my laptop during baseball and soccer practices. I regularly write in a house where the TV vies with the video gaming system to drown each other out. Add to that the cumulative noise of two cats, a Jack Russell, two lovebirds and a teenage son and you have a vision of what I mean.
Being able to tune everything out so you can concentrate. Hmm. See above.
Writing quickly. Thanks Mizzou J-School. I can crank out pages as prolifically as guppies can reproduce. And now thanks to deadlines measured in weeks rather than minutes, I can actually go back and reread and fix what I don't like. That's the most amazing thing to me.
Finally, getting a great ringside seat on human nature. Over my years as a reporter and producer I have run the gamut in terms of what I've covered and the people I've talked to. I've listened to stories that were heart-warming, gut-wrenching or just downright bizarre -- and they all make wonderful fodder for turning fact into fiction.