Dear Chad,

I am an aspiring writer, and I was just curious as to what kind of education you need to be a writer, and how you came to work for a newspaper. Any advice you could give me on this subject would be great, because although I'm a very good writer, I'm afraid I don't have the proper education or know the "right people" to make a career out of it. Thanks, I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely yours,

Lost in the Pages

Dear Lost in the Pages,

I'll start with the easier question first. My school counselor informed me of the job opening about two years ago. From there, I contacted the woman who now is my editor and sent her a sample column. After a few weeks wait, she e-mailed me to let me know I had the job.

The second question is a little more difficult for me to answer. Since I have never been published anywhere but The Daily Star, I can only tell you what I know for certain.

First things first: writing can and will be very time consuming. Much editing and revising takes place. You need to make time to write, and stick to it.

Education is not as much of a worry as you may think. Ernest Hemingway, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen and even Charles Dickens never attended college, and their novels are very well-known. I think it is safe to say that talent may be more important than a college degree, although I'm sure classes would help.

I suggest reading up on the subject. There are many books that can be bought or borrowed. As for knowing the "right people," I'm pretty sure there are successful authors who didn't know anyone in the business, or have any type of connections. A lot of getting into the business is about perseverance or being in the right place at the right time. You just need to work hard and keep plugging away.

I hope this helped,

Chad

Dear Chad,

My boyfriend and I have been together for two years. The other night he took me out to dinner, making it as romantic as he could. When he dropped me off at the end of the night, he told me he loved me for the very first time. I feel bad because I couldn't respond with the same answer. It isn't that I don't love him _ it's that I don't know if I do. How do you tell when you love someone? I don't want him to think that I don't care about him. I'm just not sure if I feel the same way, or if he really means it. Can you help me?

Thank you,

I love him, I love him not

Dear I love him, I love him not,

The simple fact that he waited two years to tell you makes me think he is probably being honest. Many teens jump right into saying that they love each other, but I think many of them may be in love with the idea of loving someone. You should probably just sit him down and let him know how you feel about him. Stay away from single words such as "like" "love" or "infatuated"; instead describe how you feel about each other (I feel comfortable around you because"¦). At the end, figure out if you want to tag the word love to the feelings. After all, love is just a word, what matters is the feeling that it represents. This may be why people are so apt to use it.

I hope everything works out,

Chad

___

Chad Shipman is a senior at Unadilla Valley High School. E-mail him at chadshipman21@yahoo.com.

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