Writing is art. Often times overlooked, creating content and pouring your thoughts and emotions onto a piece of paper is not much different than the strokes of a paintbrush. Art has been known to bring people together throughout the centuries and it continues to do so today. The life of an artist, however, never seems to come easy. Your livelihood is dependent on your ability to create material that relates to a mass audience. But what if one were to choose a career path as a writer? Would the career choice be worth the pressures that come with writing?
To find out I sat down with Leor Galil, a staff music editor for the Chicago Reader to learn about the ins and outs of being a full time writer. Originally from Washington, D.C., Galil migrated to Chicago to attend the Medill School of Journalism, a premier graduate journalism program. Feeling lost out of college is a familiar feeling that many people experience, including Galil who started of as a freelancer living in a tiny room. He recalls the struggle and feeling of discouragement when trying to find his way in his career path. The life of a writer can be stressful, especially when keeping up with Chicago’s music scene. Galil focuses primarily on Hip-Hop but also covers a variety of genres music all across the city. He is more invested into those people who don’t have much attention as musicians considering there is more content to write about. Between writing 2-3 show previews a week, co-writing a music gossip column, posting 2-5 blog posts a week, freelancing on the side, and writing 1 or 2 features a month, Galil admits, “I work in a high stress environment and put a lot of pressure on myself.” Despite the imminent feeling of anxiety knowing your livelihood depends on an interview with a rapper or a feature story the highs have definitely outweighed the lows in Galil’s career thus far. He enjoys the thrill of getting to meet new people from completely different backgrounds and experiences “What I like about my job is that I get to meet people who, regardless of their stature in the world, make something that I think is important and that I want other people to experience” says Galil. He is constantly finding content to produce by immersing himself into concerts, picking up flyers, or scrolling through Internet sites such as bandcamp.com. “Everywhere you look there is something to discover, regardless if people already know it, if it’s new to you it is new,” says Galil, “You’re gonna be looking for stories everywhere and after awhile everything kind of reveals itself.” Galil admits he is into “weird s***” and is thankful for the opportunity and openness the Chicago Reader has given him to write about what he so often pleases, as he recollects a feature story he wrote once about a grunge rock band that claimed themselves as “inaccessible” to an audience.
Galil’s word of advice to inspiring writers was to start your own blog as he recalls that is how he found his way into writing. “Figuring out what I wanted to do happened when I started my own blog and started writing for me” he says, “In the field now a days there are fewer and fewer people who can make a living off of this so you might just be doing it for yourself.” He also advises to launch a WordPress, to seek publications on campus, read a lot more, and to get in to media coverage to see what people are and aren’t talking about. Galil has yet to ever regret his career path as proudly claims, “I love what I do and if I had to leave tomorrow I know that I’m proud of all the work I’ve done.”