I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember.
I wrote my first newspaper in elementary school and kept journals through high school (which my clever mother saved and handed over just as my own daughter reached teenhood). A undergraduate degree in English from Wake Forest University led to a grand adventure bartending and nannying in Europe for a year, where I found enough material to fill two more journals.
A Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Maryland followed. In the ensuing years I researched universal pre-school as an education fellow in Congressman Hoyer’s office and delved into a wide range of social service, K-12 and higher education issues as a budget committee staffer in the Maryland General Assembly.
Next stop was Montgomery College, where I spent over fifteen years working in the President’s Office on government relations and strategic communications.
Writing has been an central part of every step of my career. I’ve drafted policy reports, testimony for college presidents and advocacy plans, including one that led to a major campus expansion. My portfolio includes speechwriting, from inaugural addresses to “State of the College” remarks. I’ve assisted presidents with opinion pieces and blog posts.
Two of my proudest efforts: working with students to hone their own amazing stories and become advocates, and my 2015 New York Times story on the community college/real college divide. The emails and comments from community colleges students across the country blew me away. It was a potent reminder that all people–no matter their backgrounds or stories–want to be seen, heard, and valued. Dr. Jill Biden called the piece “a must read.”
My most recent focus has been on creative and freelance writing. Classes at the Bethesda Writer’s Center opened up a world of possibilities, from fiction writing to understanding social media and publishing.
A novel was started, finished, edited and edited again. It will, no doubt, be edited some more. I’m lucky to be represented by Agent Liz Parker of InkWell Management. Liz has been a tremendous guide throughout my revisions; here’s hoping for a good submission process as well.
A blog was born. One day it might touch on universal experiences like surrendering to one’s fears and embracing the moment; another day may find me satirizing the shopping frenzy that was Lilly for Target. Every post is aimed at making connections.
So are my freelance pieces, which have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, In The Powder Room, Scary Mommy and Bethesda Magazine. This freelance work led to guest appearances on WBAL’s morning show and a piece with Mom2.0Summit on How to Get Published: 7 Tips From a Year of Magical Writing.
I’ve not only learned to make a point in under a 1,000 words, I know how to pitch to editors. Prepare for an interview. Create a website. Build a following on twitter. Hone a message.
I’ll still blog and write fiction, but I also plan to take on more project work–If you need an essay, opinion piece or speech that tells a story, I’m here for you. If you’re looking for humor, heart and/or human connection in your work, I can help. Need editing, social media advice or assistance placing your work? We can do that.
To talk writing, please contact me at Kristin@KristinOKeefe.com. To read the blog, please sign up here. I can’t wait to connect.