The Truth about Being a Writer at UT

As a blog post writer for Texas AMA and printwriter for Spark Magazine, I can confidently say that being a writer doesn’t mean just one thing. From magazine, newspaper, or blog post writing, there are different writing styles and various subjects to touch on. However, all writers have similar goals in conveying a message or telling a story.

I joined Spark Magazine my first semester as a freshman here at UT. I stumbled upon their club fair booth during my summer orientation, and I am still grateful for this accidental discovery. I applied and was accepted as a writer for the print magazine, and I had my first story published last semester in Issue No.11. I wrote about how accessories and jewelry influence fashion with an emphasis on their importance in music videos, as they help complete the artist’s creative vision.

Now in my second semester of freshman year, I am still writing for Spark. I have definitely grown as a writer and learned many things about teamwork and the fashion world. For those who are not familiar with Spark Magazine, it is a UT student run, Austin based fashion magazine. There are multiple departments such as hair and makeup artists, writers, layout designers, stylists, photographers, and models. At the beginning of each semester, the writers pitch their ideas at a meeting and upon deciding what they want to write about, groups are assigned. Afterwards, you work with your group to produce a end product photoshoot to go along with your writing piece. For print, it is one story per semester, and publication is not guaranteed.

Also in my second semester, I joined AMA. As a blog post writer covering various marketing topics, the writing style and process is very different. I personally enjoy being a part of two different organizations that allow me to have a writing outlet. Throughout the semester for Spark writing, I work on one article and meet with my writing directors to edit throughout the weeks leading up to the deadline. Writing for AMA consists of blog posts every two weeks. The more frequent and shorter stories offers me room to practice how to write stories quickly and efficiently, while also providing informative content. In addition, writing these blog posts allows me to be more connected and in tune with the organization, as I sometimes interview AMA members for my stories. The two organizations expand my skills, as AMA practices continuous writing on marketing and business topics while Spark challenges my creativity and knowledge in the fashion world.

Being a writer comes with time commitments, and as college students, it is no doubt that our time is both our most valuable commodity and a cause of great frustration and stress. As someone who admittedly procrastinates and is still working on being more efficient with her time, the advice I can offer is what I have been trying to do. Firstly, making priorities on your list of tasks to do for the day is definitely a game changer. Also, being aware of deadlines and looking ahead in your calendar for exam days and busy weeks is helpful in seeing when you should start writing your pieces. Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that the creative flow even for the best writers is limited, so don’t feel bad about yourself if you can’t produce an entire story in one sitting. It is more beneficial to take breaks throughout the day or just take a pause from the piece entirely, than to sit there frustrated and trying to squeeze the last drops of non-existent creative juice out of your brain.

Even if you do not consider yourself a writer, I hope my insight and experience as a writer for AMA’s blog posts and Spark Magazine gave you a new perspective or inspire you to write.

By: Charlotte Pan



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