May 16, 2018

AFF CommunityProfessional Development

If a Career in Writing Is in Your Future, Then so Is the AFF Writing Fellows Program

By: Kristin Jaroma

Ayn Rand said, “Anyone who fights for the future, lives in it today.” That sentiment certainly came through in the happy warrior mentality of both my peers and the senior journalists who graciously provided their time to the AFF Writing Fellows Program. Their perspectives on their work and the topics they cover brought to life how the government can run roughshod over the lives and livelihoods of real Americans. Motivation and engagement are key ingredients for effective writing, and the passion of these journalists was positively infectious.

The program is an exceptional professional development opportunity that provided me with a chance to develop and showcase my writing talent, ultimately helping me turn professional writing into a career. Aspiring writers who want to develop and hone a skill as advocates of free-market ideas will undoubtedly find this program a worthwhile endeavor.

This fellowship balances collaboration between peers who value freedom and individual liberties with one-on-one mentorship from seasoned journalists and editors from well-known outlets such as Reason Magazine, The Washington Examiner, Red Alert Politics, and The Daily Signal. I recall one of the mentors comparing professional writing to investing. He explained that investors start out investing in products they know. Investors practice with those investments and branch out as they learn more about the business and their craft. The analogy was applied to aspiring writers in the form of this advice: if you are a newly minted journalist, write about what you know, and branch out as you practice and master your craft.

The aspect of the program I most appreciated was the fellowship between writers of various backgrounds who all shared a deep appreciation for the principles of limited government and a free society. Within a supportive community of writers, I crafted my own work that both clarified my own perspectives on familiar topics and provided a principled foundation for adding my opinion to future debates.

From the AFF writing fellowship, I gained a valuable understanding of essential concepts and practices for successful disciplinary literacy relevant to the field. I have taken these practices with me into my role as a grant writer in the realm of non-profit fundraising. To this end, my AFF fellowship taught me that politics isn’t only about policies; rather, it is about people. Readers and funders alike want to hear about how policy affects real people and communities. Learning how to connect to your audience through compelling narratives is a lesson I take to work with me every day.


From the editors: AFF is currently accepting applications for the Summer 2018 Writing Fellows Program. The application deadline is May, 20, 2018. Find more information and apply here!

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