Q&A Time: Get to Know Your Friendly Neighborhood Writer and Editor
As your friendly neighborhood writer and editor, I spend a lot of time sitting down and getting to know people. After all, you have to know the people you're writing about – where they are from ... their hobbies ... the "why" behind what they do for a living ... what makes them tick, etc.
Trust me; plenty of great stories come from those conversations! And I love sharing them as a writer! But even when I'm not writing something, I just love building those relationships.
I love having friends ... lots of them. I want to know, like, and trust them.
And I want them to feel the same about me – not just today, but for years down the road.
So I thought ... why not share a little bit about myself in a blog post? You probably know the answers to many of these questions if you know me. But if we haven't met yet, perhaps my answers below will give you a peek behind the curtain as to who I am, where I've been, what I value most, why I do what I do, and all sorts of quirky stuff in between.
Q: How long have you been a professional writer?
A: Twenty-five glorious years!
Q: Are you married?
A: I am! My wife Leslie and I have been married for 17 years. We have two boys, Christian (15) and Jackson (10), and a lovable but pain-in-the-butt puppy named Oreo.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I grew up in Houston, TX, and moved to Denton to attend the University of North Texas. I've lived here ever since.
Q: Do you have any siblings?
A: Yes. My younger brother, Tom, and his wife, Jenni, live in Castle Hills. We are only 17 months apart in age, and when we were little, we couldn't share anything. As a result, our poor parents had to buy two of everything.
Q: What got you into writing and editing?
A: I initially wanted to be a sports broadcaster on SportsCenter, and I even got my degree in broadcast journalism. But a huge part of my degree plan was writing, and my first job was as a sportswriter for a small community newspaper. I fell in love with writing and editing, and the rest is history.
Q: Is there anything you don't like to write?
A: Nope! I enjoy writing about everything.
Q: Do you have other writers helping you in your business?
A: I occasionally utilize other freelance writers. But for the most part, I am a one-man show.
Q: What's the one thing you are afraid of as a writer and editor?
A: I'm going to cheat and say there are two things I'm afraid of. The first is making a mistake. The second is upsetting a client. No one is perfect, but I really try to put my best foot forward.
Q: What is it about writing that you really enjoy?
A: The storytelling aspect. I love taking a topic and putting a human face on it – sharing a story through the eyes of someone who experienced it first-hand.
Q: What are your thoughts on AI writing software?
A: I've never used it, but my initial thought is that no amount of software can (or should) replace the human element when it comes to writing. Whatever it is that needs to be written, write it yourself or hire someone like me to help you write it. It will be more human and personable and likely make much more sense to the casual reader.
Q: Have you met any celebrities throughout your writing career?
A: Yes. I interviewed the late John Madden and former Dallas Stars superstar Mike Modano. I've crossed paths with many more famous people over the years, but they weren't all because of my writing career. I just got lucky.
Q: Besides writing and editing, what's one thing you pride yourself on being for your clients?
A: A friendly resource. I do a lot of networking and am constantly out and about in the community. I think that helps when people have needs beyond writing. It also allows me to create a turnkey service when I can refer someone to a website designer, graphic artist, SEO specialist, marketing expert, etc.
Q: What helps you stand out as a writer?
A: I'm local, meaning I can sit with someone one-on-one and get to know them, their story, and the message they are trying to convey. You can't get that through an online writing service. I'm also down-to-earth, friendly, and approachable; I listen way more than I speak. I think that personality and approach to life help put people at ease when I'm interviewing them. They feel like they are talking to a friend (I am a friend) ... someone they know, like, and trust who will genuinely listen to what they are saying and craft a story they'll enjoy.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I love to write, even in my spare time. But outside of that, I enjoy working out, spending time with my wife and kids, being surrounded by friends, and watching sports. I'm a pretty low-key guy, so it doesn't take much to keep me entertained.
Q: How do you avoid falling into a creative rut?
A: I pay attention to when I'm in my most creative state. This differs from writer to writer, but I'm usually at my best super early in the morning or really late at night.
Q: How do you avoid being overwhelmed by work?
A: For starters, I don't see what I do for a living as "work." With that said, I am ridiculously diligent when it comes to time management skills. I have daily and weekly to-do lists to keep me on track, organized, and scheduled. I also don't procrastinate. If anything, I'm working ahead whenever possible because you never know when the next assignment will come in.
Q: What are your favorite sports teams?
A: The Tennessee Titans and Houston Astros. I'm a Houston boy, and the Titans used to be the Houston Oilers before the franchise moved to Nashville.
Q: Do you come from a family of writers and editors?
A: No. I learned plenty from my parents, but being a writer and editor wasn't one of them.
Q: Have you ever written a book?
A: Yes! My book, Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word, has been out for over a year. It's my way of educating and inspiring the next generation of writers. You should check it out!
Q: Do you plan on writing another book?
A: Someday. I have a few ideas floating around in my head.
Q: What would you say is your worst quality?
A: I'm a workaholic at times. Even when I'm not working, I'm thinking about it.
Q: If you couldn't be a writer and editor, what would you do for a living?
A: I've been asked this a lot, and I never have a good answer for it. I imagine it would have something to do with helping people.
Q: What's the saddest thing you've ever had to write?
A: An obituary.
Q: What's the best thing you've ever written?
A: They're all my favorites for different reasons.
Q: What's your favorite topic to write about?
A: Sports. I started my career as a sportswriter, and I still get to do it from time to time. But as I said in my book, I didn't want to be a one-trick pony. I wanted to learn how to write about more than just sports, and I think I've accomplished that over the years.
Q: Did you ever see yourself becoming a business owner someday?
A: No. For a long time, I never understood why anyone would put themselves through that. I figured it was more trouble than it was worth. But it is the best decision I could have made for myself as a professional writer and editor, and all these years later, my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. I love owning a business and providing value to people.
Q: What do you want people to remember you for?
A: That I was a good person, loyal friend, devoted husband, loving father, and just a genuinely nice guy who loved being a storyteller and went about doing things the right way.
Thanks for reading. What questions did I not answer? Don't be shy – send me a note or schedule a time to sit with me one-on-one.
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*STEVE GAMEL is the President & Owner of Edit This®, a writing and editing services company located in Denton, TX, and the author of Write Like You Mean It: Mastering Your Passion For The Written Word. Steve handles anything involving the written word. Give him a call today to help give your business a clear voice.