Roman Bobek: On Becoming a Writer
Each year, graduating editors are given 30 final column inches – “30” was historically used to signify the end of a story – to reflect on their time at The Hatchet, published in the final issues of the year.
I joined The Hatchet during the latter half of my freshman year looking to try a different type of writing. I didn’t know if I wanted to be a journalist; all I knew is that I wanted to write. At the time, I thought it was going to be something I did whenever I felt like it. I never thought I would become a member of staff.
Prior to my senior year, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be sports editor. I knew how much work it was, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to focus on that while I was trying to graduate. But I decided to challenge myself and try something new. Ultimately, I’m glad I made that choice. I learned the value of what good journalism can do and as a result of the countless hours I spent editing, my own writing got better.
Working for The Hatchet has helped me develop a more attentive eye to my creative writing. It’s taught me to be concise and purposeful without sacrificing space on the page. It has helped my stories flow better and identify what is relevant and what is not. You have to be honest with yourself and exercise restraint because you’ll lose your reader if you don’t. You have a short amount of time and space to make an impact and relay important information.
During my time as a reporter, I vastly improved my interviewing skills. I became much better at asking the right type of questions to evoke authentic and meaningful responses. I used to loathe the idea of interviewing people. I was shy and didn’t know how to talk to strangers. Interviewing people has helped me learn that everyone has a story to tell, and I can learn so much from the people around me. I don’t have to live a different life to come up with new stories and characters. I simply have to listen to the things people say. It feels like a gift, a new approach to life. Now, I can hear certain things people say, and I already know there is a greater story to be unearthed. I don’t know if I would’ve thought that way about people and writing if I hadn’t tried my hand at journalism.
As for what’s next, I’ll continue to write as much as I can in any form I can think of. I want to tell stories by any means possible. The Hatchet has kept me accountable to both the truth and the act of writing itself. As I move on to the next stage of my life, I can’t sit around waiting for the stories to write themselves. I have to bring myself to the notebook, the computer, the phone, the whiteboard, whatever it may be, and […]