January 13, 2018

AFF CommunityProfessional Development

I Was an AFF Writing Fellow. Here’s Why I Recommend the Program.

By: Jerrod Laber

Participating in America’s Future Foundation’s Writing Fellowship was an incredibly worthwhile experience for me. I would recommend it to anyone with aspirations of entering the world of journalism and other types of roles that require strong writing.

I entered the program thinking I was already a pretty decent writer, but immediately realized how much I could grow. From so many tiny things about style and word choice, I feel my writing has increased significantly in terms of quality and cleanness of prose. I still find myself referencing the program materials when I am writing a new op-ed. Because the program is administered by a working editor, participants receive all sorts of useful advice for navigating the byzantine, and sometimes overwhelming, world of freelance writing.

The program’s various speakers also provided invaluable insight. Ranging from young writers and reporters establishing themselves on their beat, to media veterans, they all provided information that you can only get through networking with industry insiders. They offered advice on everything from crafting compelling narratives, to establishing yourself as an authority on a given topic, to when it’s best to start planning for retirement (now!).

I benefited from the writing fellowship on multiple fronts. I contribute regularly to various publications. It helped me secure a career change in which writing is my full-time job–I had spent more than four years in a non-profit programs role, but I recently entered the world of fundraising as a grant writer. The weekly sessions provided creative inspiration on which I still regularly draw.

I cannot recommend the writing fellowship highly enough. You will build a network of writers, editors, and others in related fields. You will improve your writing skills. You’ll even get a free meal once a week. The amount of wisdom packed into the sessions is well worth the cost of trekking into downtown D.C. during rush hour.

If you are a liberty-minded writer or aspiring writer, the AFF Writing Fellowship is a must-do. It’s a great first step for anyone looking to test their chops in the marketplace of ideas.