MORE's Over-40 Intern Diaries: Writer's Block

Ruth Morganto, 49, wanted to explore a new career but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Read what happens on Day 8 when she joins the MORE team to assist on an upcoming issue

by Ruth Morganto • Midlife Intern
ruth morganto image
Photograph: Ari Michelson

Deadlines are tight today, so as Laura works on other projects I keep busy writing my blog posts. I haven’t written this often since college, and I feel like I’m running out of words. Upon realizing I’ve been staring at a blank computer screen for 10 full minutes, I decide to switch tasks and transcribe a previous phone interview with filmmaker Sari Gilman. 

Hearing myself speak on the audiotape is like listening to nails on a chalkboard (or the streetsweeping trucks that clean the city each morning). I always thought I sounded fairly strong and confident. In the recording, however, I sound shaky and nasal.  Thankfully, nobody else will be listening to it, so I transcribe and move on to a self-imposed project: learning about fact checking.
One of More’s freelance fact checkers, Susan Anderson, has the unfortunate luck of sitting directly across from me, and thus is forced to field my questions.  I had no idea that every detail in the magazine requires confirmation. Susan tells me she specializes in health articles, verifying each line so that no inadvertent inaccuracies slip into the copy. (Getting the facts straight is the prime goal of journalists—but of course no one wants to get sued either, which can happen, I’m told, depending on what kind of mistake is made.) Susan’s project for today is a fashion spread. Susan confirms the links and prices, which will allow readers to easily locate items they may want to purchase.
Speaking of purchases, tonight I’m testing my ability to navigate unfamiliar subways in order to find my favorite Manhattan yarn store, Knitty City. A year ago, I wouldn’t have considered traveling solo in New York. But when I accepted this internship, I made a conscious decision to ignore my anxieties about being alone in an unfamiliar place and live this experience to the fullest.  In the process, I learned that I'm braver than I believed.  What a successful adventure.

Next: Moment of Truth—Should I Switch Careers?

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