Many people enjoy spending their free time scrolling through articles on sites such as BuzzFeed or the Huffington Post, but few can claim to have written articles for such well known websites. However, for one Northwestern student, being published isn’t quite so rare.
Student Emily Wallace has had articles published on both BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post. But Wallace shrugs it off as no big deal.
Although some would say that receiving over 2 million views on any article constitutes as kind of a big deal, Wallace is pretty down to earth about it. It could also just be that she has gotten used to writing articles for big name publishers like BuzzFeed, Huffington Post and the Arizona Daily Star.
Wallace began writing for her high school newspaper her freshman year.
“By the end of my first semester I became an editor, and by sophomore year I had become Editor-in-Chief,” Wallace said.
However, after such a swift start, her high school writing career came to a premature end.
“They cut the school budget, so we didn’t have a school newspaper my junior year,” Wallace said. “High school students were encouraged to write things and submit them to our local newspaper, so I became a newspaper correspondent.”
During this time, one of the articles she had written was passed on to the Arizona Daily Star.
“They got all of my information wrong, however,” Wallace said. “So now I can’t really use that for anything because it doesn’t have my name attached to it.”
In spite of some minor setbacks, Wallace decided to come to NW and pursue a career in writing. She didn’t always believe that her writing style was geared towards reporting, and she initially came to NW with writing and rhetoric as her intended major.
“I realized that writing and rhetoric is kind of telling your own story in a variety of ways, and I don’t think I’m that interesting,” Wallace said. “So I decided that I would rather focus on telling other people’s stories.”
By her second semester she’d switched to a journalism major, and this year she tacked on an additional graphic design major. Wallace said that she has always had a passion for art, but had never really seen it as a viable option.
Since coming to campus, Wallace has written articles regularly for the Beacon and has submitted occasional articles to places like BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post and Relevant Magazine.
“Writing for BuzzFeed kind of happened as a fluke,” Wallace said. “I was thinking about an internship at BuzzFeed and found out that you need to be published by them three times nationally to be considered. So I decided to see what it took to get published by them.”
It didn’t take long for Wallace to submit something.
“It was fall break,” Wallace said. “I was all alone, everyone had gone home already and I was really bored. I was like, ‘Hey, let’s do this, I’m just gonna see how it goes,’ and it was a lot easier than I expected it to be.”
Her first article wasn’t exactly a rousing success; it only garnered a grand total of five views (Facebook friends included), but Wallace decided to persist and try submitting another article. Her first big breakthrough came with an article entitled “13 Reasons Why Baby Goats Are The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread.”
“It isn’t really an article, more just a bunch of GIF’s with captions,” Wallace said.
Whatever you categorize it as, the post soon had over 10,000 views. It was picked up by farming organizations and seen by people looking at other websites.
Wallace has now had seven articles published by BuzzFeed at the national level. Her biggest success to date is an article about life with “older than average parents,” which has amassed over 2 million views and even made it on Buzzfeed’s homepage.
“I think I’m a humorous person, so to find my voice in writing pieces I often resort to humor,” Wallace said. “I really enjoy writing humor columns, but I decided I would try and challenge myself and write something more serious.”
Emily decided that she would go out of her comfort zone and write a piece to be submitted to Relevant Magazine.
“They say to write about what you know, and I know about the challenges of being a pastor’s daughter,” Wallace said.
She finished her article about the peer pressures that come along with being a pastor’s daughter and submitted it to Relevant.
Unfortunately, Relevant sent back word that they didn’t have a space for it in their upcoming issue, so Emily submitted it to the Huffington Post instead, and they published it.
Wallace is planning on interning this spring at a Christian Homes and Gardens type magazine where she will be writing and editing.
Next summer she is thinking about doing a Summer of Service, but she would also love to intern at Compassion International, an organization that helps raise and allocate funds to children in developing countries.
Wallace would travel to various countries and help write the stories of different children living there. It is one of the most selective internships in the country, so Wallace is doing all she can to make that happen.
Wallace is looking toward her future and still trying to keep all of her options available. She plans to continue writing for the Beacon and would love to become an editor for the Beacon in the future.