I thought it might be interesting to post a little bit about process, since one thing I’m always curious about is how writers go about the business of writing. Here is a bit of behind-the-scenes about an article I recently wrote.
My latest article at the Wire is Women at Work, a profile piece about women who own businesses in the Seacoast and how women have dominated job creation in the wake of the recession of 2008-2009. I had a lot of fun writing it because I got to visit businesses that I enjoy and ask women the questions I’ve been curious about: do you actually have any work-life balance? Do you like owning a business? How much money do you make?
What surprised me most was that everyone–literally everyone–pointed me to three or five or fifteen other women I should talk to. They pointed me to other business owners and to organizers of huge organizations. I had a list of about 25 women that I didn’t even get around to calling because I had already called 12.
Usually, I get a few suggestions for others to talk to–or, I get a few suggestions for people that I’ve already talked to. That makes me feel good, because it means I’ve done enough research (probably). But this time, I couldn’t even begin to tap the resources available to me.
- The incredible goodwill and lack of competition among the women who own businesses in the Seacoast. Everyone prefaced their recommendation of an entrepreneur with “You know who you should really talk to?” They followed it up with, “She’s great. I just love her work.” The word “admire” came up about 50 times.
- Women really are a network. Every woman I talked to knew several other women who owned businesses or organized events for women in business.
- This story is huge! Huge! Huge! I was terrified of losing focus and I only just tapped on the tip of the iceberg in terms of resources. NPR is doing a series called the Changing Lives of Women that attacks this issue globally from many different perspectives and it is fascinating. There are approximately 5 kabillion ways women’s lives are changing and I applaud NPR for taking it one paragraph at a time.
I ended up focusing on businesses that started since the recession, which was a great way for me to narrow it down. But I think there is still a lot of room left to write on this topic, and I hope to follow up with some other, older women for future stories.