Inspiration and Tips From a Feature Writer

It has been more than a month since I attended the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference. It was my first time and I’m glad I went. I enjoyed the various sessions and meeting new people who love words and stories.

Following is my  list of tidbits from “Notice What You Notice,” a talk given by Beth Macy, a feature writer for The Roanoke Times. I’m a Macy fan.

1. In the end, we remember dreams, not data.

2. Get on the ground. (Go out and meet people and experience things with the five senses to develop ideas and write stories.)

3. Be open to everything, even criticism.

4. Be “on.” (Pay attention nearly all the time, if possible.)

5. Reserve judgment. (Reporters and writers are often certain about stories and story angles ahead of time. Stay open, though. Better stories can and will materialize.)

6. Read the walls. (If my memory is correct, Macy shared an anecdote about a terrific story that was birthed by a sign inside a bus.)

7. Harsh alert: If you’re bored, maybe you’re boring. (Being bored when it comes to stories and story ideas means you’re probably stale. Do something to spark yourself.)

8. Crowd sourcing. (Put something on social media and see what you get.)

9. Go micro.

10. General curiosity works better than antagonism.

11. A good interview is a conversation.

12. Be yourself.


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