If I had a nickel for every time someone told me they were a writer I’d probably have collected more money than I’ve actually made by writing. In the age of social media and blog posts, it seems that everyone fancies themselves a scribe.
While I’ve wired electrical outlets and even a barn once (with professional help), I am definitely not an electrician. Though I once slapped a carburetor on my old Chevy, I am not by any stretch a mechanic. Most people know enough about both of those professions to understand the gaping chasm in their knowledge and skill versus the pros. Most folks would rather the light switch work, their house not burn down, and their car reliably transport them from point A to point B.
But with writing, the results are often subjective. Even bad writing can be palatable and “good enough”. Most people can’t even tell you what good writing is, though, they often intuitively know it when they read it. That’s how it works. Good writing is subtle. It’s not the light coming on with a flick. It’s the brightness and color of that light, the fixture it’s housed within, and how both collaborate to accentuate the room.
Come to think of it, writing is a lot like interior design…
Anyway, writing is a craft and the writer is a person toiling to perfect said craft, someone who has written so much bad stuff that the law of averages works in their favor now. Same as the electrician who burnt up all those fuses and the mechanic rebuilding the dang motor countless “on more times”.
I said all that to say this — professional writers in this area are few and far between. But one of the best practitioners of the craft I know lives in Russellville and is on our cover this month.
Jill McSheehy wrote for us here at ABOUT for a few years bringing another level of skill, talent, and professionalism to our magazine. She stepped down as a columnist after 2020 for the best of reasons — she just had too much other work.
Of course, Jill is more than a writer now. She’s a sought-after influencer with a growing presence across the digital as well as print world. But she’s also on the shortlist of folks I call when I need professional advice, maybe some tips for how to proceed on a project, or sometimes just a little inspiration from a writer who has paid the dues, a writer I truly admire.