I once had a woman tell me that only journalists notice bylines. She may have been right. But, no matter how many times I’ve seen mine, I still get a kick out of it. The first time I saw my byline in something other than my college or high school paper was when I was interning for a weekly newspaper in Salt Lake. I walked into a bagel shop to grab a sandwich and saw a stack of the issue my story was slated to run in. After weeks of managing the calendar that ran in each issue, I’d finally been trusted with a real story. I grabbed a paper, flipped through the pages and saw my name. I wanted to point it out to everyone in line with me, but I didn’t. Instead I grabbed a stack on my way and hand delivered them to all of my relatives within a 120-mile radius.
I don’t get that excited anymore, but now it almost means more. It reminds me that I am earning my living as a writer—something that had been my plan since I was a teenager. It also reminds me that the leap of faith I took when I decided to hang my own shingle has paid off. I’ve been a full-time freelancer for two years this month and I’ve worked harder for myself than I ever did for anyone else. Of course I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Having my byline arrive in my mailbox also reminds me that, with the particular publication that arrived this week and is pictured above, it also arrived in the mailboxes of just over 25,000 other people. I like knowing something I researched and wrote has been sent out into the world. I just always hope that people like what they read.
The best part of my job is when people read an article takes the time to visit my website and leave a comment saying they liked what they saw. I can’t tell you how big of a smile that puts on my face.
So for all of you non-byline-reading folks, give them a gander once in a while. And, if you like what you read, let someone know! I bet it will make his or her day.