New Mexico’s Cassie McClure enjoys sharing writing talents with others

Second year NFPW member Cassie McClure is saving her money to attend her first NFPW conference this fall in Alaska. She is an active member and plays a leadership role in Las Cruces Press Women and New Mexico Press Women. To her delight she picked up writing assignments by networking at New Mexico meetings and has received positive feedback from those stories. She is an asset to her affiliate and is another unique and unbelievable NFPW member. Meet my new friend, Cassie McClure. 

Name: Cassie McClure

City and State: Las Cruces, New Mexico

Cassie McClure

Cassie McClure

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Vice President of the Las Cruces Press Women and Secretary of New Mexico Press Women

Years a member of NFPW: Almost two years.

Tell us a little about you.

I’m about two years into a freelance writing career that I picked up at my first Press Women event. I came to a fiction writing panel to get my Mom out of the house a bit and, at the end of the event, an editor of a local magazine asked if anyone was interested in writing. I snagged a card, wrote a quick email, and got lucky. Cheryl Fallstead, president of LCPW and NMPW, then offered me a writing gig at Southwest Senior and introduced me to people at the local paper and a few months later I had people stop and congratulate me on articles, which, is still strange because many times I feel like I’m writing into a void for my own amusement.

Aside from writing, in 2014, my husband and I decided to buy a fixer-upper, get a dog to annoy our cat, all while having a cheerful toddler meander around us. Each time, we said, ‘You know, we’re just not that busy, are we?’

I am a 2006 New Mexico State University alumna who wrote for the student paper The Roundup, I have bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and German, and also a master’s degree in Rhetoric and Professional Communication. I am the vice president of the Las Cruces Press Women and the secretary of the New Mexico Press Women. I currently write for the Las Cruces Sun-News, SuCasa Magazine, and Southwest Senior. Since 2012, my day job is as senior library specialist in the Technical Services department at the NMSU Library. Previously I was with NMSU’s PREDICT Open Source Intelligence Laboratory, but was previously also a library specialist at NMSU Archives from 2008 to 2010. I live in Las Cruces with husband Jorge and  two-year-old daughter Evelynn. I enjoy learning about random life stories from story assignments.

Any career advice you would give?

This question somewhat stumps me because I feel like such a novice in my career as a professional writer. I’d known that my strength academically was writing, wrote a blog as a hobby for a few years, and liked helping others tweak their work. My day job is working at a library – not as a librarian, because those with MLISs get upset if you call yourself that even after 10 odd years working in a library – and debating how exactly I was going to get into a career path that uses my bachelor’s in Journalism and my master’s in Rhetoric.

Writing freelance feels a bit like an accident, but it’s in keeping with how I usually approach life – just put yourself out there, try new things, and see what comes out of the woodwork, good or bad. It’s all fodder for the memoir at any rate.

Cassie McClure in Mexico with her husband, Jorge.

Cassie McClure in Mexico with her husband.

For my own career, I’ve been trying to scout the old school idea of finding a mentor – someone like 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy’s maybe slightly more liberal counterpart – but what I’ve found is that you can pull mentorships from all the people in your life, picking out the best bits which work well for your situation and applying them to how you want to further yourself. You like someone’s writing voice? Incorporate what you like into your own. Think someone dresses snazzily? Ask her where she shops. Admire a business person? Try to write an article about their business and then ask them all sorts of questions about how they got to where they are. People love talking about themselves and I love to listen.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to speak English-accent-free, melodic Spanish.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Berlin, Germany.

What book are you reading?

I’m one of those newfangled people who would like to debate with you about how audiobooks and podcasts are much like reading, especially when you pause it and debate a topic that comes up in an audiobook with someone during a long road trip. Podcasts also save my sanity while working on large sets of data at work.  I was one of the many people addicted to the Serial podcast and am someone who has an unrequited love of Ira Glass.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’m going through a severe Bollywood phase and am listening to a Pandora station based on A.R. Rahman’s soundtracks. Also, my husband says that I should put in that I’m also a German [thus the Berlin, Germany answer] and married to a Mexican because that makes me sound more exotic.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I think that Press Women gets me out of my shell and gives me a chance to try on a leadership hat. For example, I’m building a panel of border reporters to come talk to our members and local people about current issues in border journalism. I’ve actually been able to email people whose work I admire and I’ll get to meet them in person. I’ve met people across the state and seen what other issues impact them and their causes, but also am able to represent a view from southern New Mexico.

I hope to save some pennies (and quarters and dollars) to try and come to my first NFPW conference in 2015, because mingling in Alaska with other professional writers sounds like a heck of an experience to put in that memoir.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.

For those with professional curiosity: www.linkedin.com/in/cassiemcclure

For random, pithy tweets: @TheCMcClure

For daily posts entirely too occupied with DeLoreans and my bafflement at humanity: http://www.facebook.com/cmcclure

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