New York is one place where I get a break from the routine and get some time to contemplate. Ironic, considering that New York City is the urban equivalent of Twitter – constant distractions, noisy and full of spectacles and spectacular. The obvious benefit: walking five miles a day results in me losing between 5-7 pounds per visit. But for me the opportunity to walk the busy Manhattan streets has two obvious benefits — a lot of alone-time and a chance to hone my skills to ignore the noisy-ness that is our online world.
It was one of these walks (which co-incidentally took me by the offices of Forbes.com) I got a chance to reflect on how I have changed as a writer. From a frantic newswire reporter to an online writer to a magazine writer and back to the frenzied world of blogs, it has been an evolution that has mimicked the stage of life I find myself in.
Lately, I have been slowly tweaking my writing to a new approach, something one of my mentors and former editors, David Churbuck said. In our countless dinners when we worked around the clock on Forbes.com, he would say that at some point in life you have to become the mirror for people and the industry you write about. It is less about an opinion, but it is about able to show them, themselves. Often, what they see isn’t pretty and sometimes it is ugly. On other occasions the mirror shows a wonderful image.
It was good advice and it has made writing more fun and meaningful for me. Sure, I have been more pensive than usual on occasions, but it has also brought me a different kind of satisfaction. This week, when I saw David in New York, I was reminded what a great editor can do: long after he stops editing you, he can still nudge you in the right direction without as much trying. I hope I can really pay-it-forward.