Hello, my name is Shana and I'm a writer.
People forget that language is a human invention. It is a tool — perhaps the most important tool — that allows us to influence other people. It lets us connect with others even in our most inspired or our darkest moments. Language allows us to teach, to question, and to express humanity's most powerful asset, our imagination. Words have a power unto themselves. I love words. Words have a way with me. They always have.
When I Was a Little Girl
When I was a little girl, I was a tiny thing with dirty-blonde pigtails and big green eyes. I would sit with a book nearly as large as I was, nestled in a huge bean bag chair in the children's section of the public library. I still have books from when I was no more than six with all the nouns circled in purple crayon, the verbs underlined in green. My favorite game was playing school; "English class," to be precise. Guess who played teacher.
As a Teenager
In high school I learned I could make money from my words. I charged $5 per page to proofread and type essays and term papers. I was sixteen when I earned my first 'A' on a university level paper. It was a deconstruction of the 15th century morality play, Everyman, that I wrote it for my brother's college English class. (Before you say anything, I only did so because my mother asked me too. And no, I will not write your term paper for you.) I read everything I could get my hands on, from Plutarch to Anne Rice. I also wrote sappy poetry on an epic scale.
The Ivory Tower Years
I entered college expecting to study foreign languages. I had romantic dreams of becoming a U.N. interpreter, living a jet-set lifestyle visiting exotic places the globe over. During the very first week of classes, I fell in love with anthropology (read about my love affair with archaeology here
). My university education taught me to edit, edit, and then edit again. I learned to research efficiently and to document my sources thoroughly. I had always been good at writing. Now I was beginning to understand the craft
of writing. I was also beginning to understand that a bachelor's degree in anthropology has limited job opportunities.
In the Meantime
Throughout the classes and excavation the bills still required payment. Over the years and a variety of office jobs, I picked up some critical writing skills. I wrote press releases, newsletters, ad copy, product descriptions, software reviews, and sales brochures. This practical, real-world experience was coupled with formal training through university classes in marketing, psychology, journalism, and creative writing. Along the way I also published a few poems and articles in some local, and some not-so-local, magazines.
I also helped my husband realize his dream of creating and running his own business. He designed and programmed a full-featured content management system for e-commerce websites
. Through the years at WorldWide Merchant I became proficient at website design, content design, search engine optimization, flash animation, and e-commerce business practices.
I've been a computer nerd my entire life. My SEO skills have allowed me to enjoy the ever-growing market for quality web content writers. Simultaneously I'm pursuing a career as a freelance magazine writer. I've fully accepted, and given myself over to, my love of words. I hope that you enjoy them.
- Shana Leslie