- Literature and reading are key to gaining a broader perspective on life.
- Writing, especially in Journalism, should always be a pursuit of truth.
- In the digital age, writers must grab readers’ attention in a concise manner.
- Writing isn’t the only way to tell stories, but the better you are as a writer, the better you’re going to be in the other mediums.
Shaping the Writer Within
I grew up in a semi-religious family in a sheltered small-town community. But, we were an hour away from New York City, this tremendous metropolitan cultural epicenter, which helped me understand how much bigger the world was beyond my immediate surroundings. Literature also shaped my vision of reality and gave me a broader perspective. By the time I was in middle school, I was sure I wanted to be a writer. But it has taken me a long time to believe in my abilities. There is something intimidating about staring at an empty screen. Writing that first word is still a challenge.
My first job out of college was at a sports magazine—which became my first step into this world. I went on to work with community newspapers and learned how to be a researcher. Finding the truth is hard. People are not always 100% honest or 100% accurate. I also loved writing biographical articles and recording people’s stories and perspectives. This inspired me to pursue journalism. In fact, the journalism school helped me overcome the loneliness that writers can sometimes feel. At school I had to go out, engage with people, and interview strangers. That really helped me develop my communication skills.
Journey at Enterprising Investor
When I started at Enterprising Investor, we had maybe 5000 subscribers. Over the years, that has grown to more than 33,000. Seeing this trajectory has been extraordinary and humbling. The moments when your work is recognized, called out by a public figure, or receive complimentary comments is what satisfies me the most, and just the feeling of having written a good piece.
As a writer, you have to be extra careful and diligent to find the best way to say something and hold the readers’ attention. If I look back over the last several years, I think that social media has made me a better writer. In the digital age, everyone’s constantly scrolling, so you have to “grab people by the collar” in a digital sense. As a writer, you need to make your headline and first 10 words interesting and build on the momentum. Social media platforms show you what resonates better with an audience. If you can attract people’s attention on social media, with the limited content space, you have done something right, and that can be translated into writing articles or even books.
Overcoming Challenges On the Way
One of the big challenges in my professional life is switching between the writing and editing hats. If I am editing someone else’s work today and have to work on my own writing the next day, it’s hard to change that mindset. While editing, I also want to ensure the piece stays true to the writer’s original voice while refining and polishing it, not changing it. What I’ve learned from editing at Enterprising Investor is to stay focused on the piece I’m working on and be mindful of the structure.
The written word is still critical today in the world of TikTok and Netflix. Writing isn’t the only way to tell stories, but the better you are as a writer, the better you’re going to be in the other mediums. My advice for young writers is to get out from behind their computers and go out in nature and just experience the world. That can give you a new perspective on what’s around you. More importantly, persevere. There is no substitute for time and effort.
Paul’s journey has been one of perseverance and learning to become a better writer. The more time you dedicate to writing or any craft, the more lessons you’re going to learn and the better you’re going to get at it.