Writing lesson: Do your interview and only then decide what kind of article you’re writing

As I mentioned in a post a few days ago, I pitched a short feature to a magazine and had it accepted. It required some interviews. I did three of them this week, and then sat down to write.

When I originally conceived the article, it was to promote a program in the “Happenings” section of the local Jewish paper. But as I read over the notes I’d taken, I realized the content of the interviews had a deeper significance than the simple 5 Ws and an H about the event. Two of the interviews strongly touched on themes of grassroots leadership – particularly feminine grassroots leadership. The third interviewee backed up the points the other two women had made.

Had I stuck to my initial decision, I would have written an article little more than a press release promoting a program. Instead, I decided to write the article a little differently, more like a profile of the woman who founded the program, highlighting her leadership strategies, as well as those of the other people involved. I’m aiming not only to inform, but to inspire other potential leaders in the community. Moreover, the article will be more entertaining to readers.

Has anyone else out there experienced a similar shift between the interview stage of an article they were writing and the time they sat down to write? Let us know about it in the comments.

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