Meet a Member: Diana Hirsch

I met Diana Hirsch at last fall’s NFPW conference in Alaska. She was attending her first NFPW conference after recieving a First-Timer Grant from the Education Fund. She is a great addition to the organization and by the end of the conference she agreed to be the assistant director of the NFPW Education Fund’s High School Communications Contest. She is fun to be around and a great asset to our organization. Meet another unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Diana (D.W.) Hirsch

Diana (D.W.) Hirsch

Name: Diana (D.W.) Hirsch

City and State: Canton, MI

Affiliate and any leadership positions: At-Large, living in Michigan, NFPW Assistant High School Contest Director

Years a member of NFPW: About 13 years

Tell us a little about you.

I’m an author, blogger and journalist who adores coffee shops, YA and science fiction books, haiku and birds, especially parakeets.

I’m a Pennsylvania girl by birth, proudly graduating Penn State University as a Film/Video Major with a Creative Writing Minor.  I’ve been fortunate enough to use both degrees in my formative post-college years.  I bounced around the East Coast working as a Production Assistant on television commercials and feature films, but New Jersey is where I found my writing groove.

There was an active writing community at the Barnes & Noble on Route 1 run by Rachel Simon, author of Riding the Bus with my Sister.  Through her and other in-store activities, I discovered the voyeuristic joy of memoirs.  I wanted to write my parents’ memoir, but I wasn’t sure their lives were worthy of a book others would want to read.  Rachel said, “Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone is important.”

My skills as writer took off when I was offered the Singles beat of New Jersey’s weekly newspaper, U.S. 1.  That gig morphed into articles for other specialty sections of the paper.  My Arts editor, Barbara Figge Fox, walked me through my first article sentence by sentence, pointing out my strong creative parts along with my deadly passive voice.  That one hour phone call was the best, most practical writing lesson I had in my life.  My five years as a freelance contributor included articles about flying a Cessna plane, collecting smashed pennies, the effects of alcohol and drunk driving and my second favorite article of all time, Marshmallow Peeps.

Diana Hirsch at her first NFPW Conference in Alaska with two of her inspirational office writing Guys.

Diana Hirsch at her first NFPW Conference in Alaska with two of her inspirational office writing Guys.

With a portfolio of confidence, I joined NFPW when my husband and I moved across the river to Delaware.  Through connections in Delaware Press Association, I earned more writing opportunities with local newspapers and magazines.  Winning my first NFPW contests with those articles validated me to myself as A Real Writer.

Moving to Michigan exposed me to new writing opportunities and experiences, including most importantly my treasured, ruthlessly honest Deadwood Writers critique group.  The members’ perspectives and input strengthened my writing to a level where I felt comfortable exploring publishing options.

I finally wrote my parents’ memoirs and self-published those two short story novellas.  They both won NFPW At-Large and National awards.  I continue to embrace independent publishing as I continue writing my full-length memoir My Father, My Friend and my humorous crime drama series starring Jimmy the Burglar.

Any career advice you would give?

I offer four pieces of advice:

1–Trust yourself.  You need to be your own best friend and strongest cheerleader.  It took me years to accept that I was A Writer because people often look at writing as a hobby since they often read books for fun and to relax.  Since reading is casual, the writing process must be, too.  Repeat a mantra of some sort–“I am a (writer/photographer/insert profession)”–until it becomes natural to say.  You need to believe in yourself before other people will.

2–Research.  Be prepared with relevant questions and information, whether you’re gathering company background for a job interview, prepping an interview subject or seeking a website domain hosting service.

3–Business cards: Have them and hand them out.

4–Perhaps the most practical advice given to me: Get a receipt, always, for everything.

Diana Hirsch at the glaciers of Port William Sound during the 2015 NFPW Conference post tour in Alaska.

Diana Hirsch at the glaciers of Port William Sound during the 2015 NFPW Conference post tour in Alaska.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I already have a useful Talent: finding parking spaces.  Whether I’m in a parking garage or seeking a sweet streetside spot, cars pull out ahead of me – open spot

If there’s already an empty space, it is usually close to the front door.  The talent follows me, not any particular car or location.  Sometimes I leave residual behind and a friend or family member gets a primo parking spot without me.  Don’t believe me?  Take me Christmas shopping in December at your local mall.

Of course, being a ninja would be pretty cool.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Pittsburgh, PA. It’s my hometown.  My childhood memories and life-changing events are there.  I never want to give up evergreens for palm trees or mountain breeze for a hot sandy beach.  The change of seasons is too captivating, from the rainbow of flowers blooming in spring to the explosion of autumn trees.  My husband fell in love with the city through me, so there’s no arm-twisting to convince him to move there.

What book are you reading?

Ninth Grade Slays by Heather Brewer.  I’m rereading her vampire YA series, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, because it makes me happy.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a bellydancer.  A woman came up to me after my first and only public performance to date and said, “It was so expressive I had to catch my breath.”

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

As an At-Large member, I miss the interaction, networking and the supportive environment of a local chapter.  NFPW as an organization has given me contacts and friends.  Entering and winning the contest made me feel professional.  That strength is invaluable.

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

Website: dwhirsch.com                  http://dwhirsch.com/

Instagram: dwhirsch                        https://www.instagram.com/dwhirsch/

Twitter: @dianahirsch                     https://twitter.com/dianahirsch

Facebook: D.W.Hirsch, Author  @DWHirschAuthor

https://www.facebook.com/DW-Hirsch-Author-306298169535318/                                            OR  http://tinyurl.com/DWHirschFB

https://www.facebook.com/DWHirschAuthor/

Amazon Author Page:         http://www.amazon.com/D.W.-Hirsch/e/B00GWWYETS

OR  http://tinyurl.com/DWAmazonAuthorPg

 

Goodreads:               http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8005909.D_W_Hirsch

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One Comment on “Meet a Member: Diana Hirsch”


  1. Valuable career advice from a talented professional. Hope you are planning to join NFPW in 2018 when the conference is in Bethlehem, Pa.


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