Write to Learn

7 Dec

mazeOver 20 successful years, Cindy Mantai has worked to establish herself as one of the top freelance writers and editors in Buffalo, NY. Her dedication and passion to writing has given her many opportunities, showing that the door is always open for new experiences.

Learning How to Learn
Originally from Fredonia, NY, Cindy went to Fredonia High School, where she participated in a program called 3-1-3. This program allowed Cindy to jumpstart her college career by attending classes during her senior year of high school.
When Cindy began classes at SUNY Fredonia, she admits that she had no idea what she wanted to pursue. But, she adds, “Going to college, for me, was learning how to learn. I learned to weed out the things that were not so important from the things that were important. My philosophy was that anything I learned would eventually help me.” Every opportunity Cindy took gave her skills that she would come back to down the road — showing that being open to learning always pays.
Cindy toyed with the idea of becoming a journalist. She took a news writing and editing class, where she learned the important lesson of objectivity — something she thinks the news today is lacking. During this time, she also participated in an independent study, which focused on the grape industry in the region. These experiences taught Cindy how to structure an article — which has, in turn, allowed Cindy to successfully write for many venues and different companies. “If you can write well, you can do virtually anything,” Cindy says. “It’s something that I feel you have to have as a foundation for any career.” A writer, Cindy points out, has opportunities wherever he or she goes in life.
When I asked her if there was anything she would’ve liked to do at SUNY Fredonia, she replied that she wished she had taken more classes: she never wants to stop learning. Cindy graduated with a B.A. in English, specializing in professional writing, in 1984.

Her First Writing Job
After college, Cindy moved from Fredonia to Rochester, NY. After working at her first job involving catalog production, advertising, trade shows and project management, Cindy found an ad in the newspaper for a copywriting position with WARD’s Natural Science, a company that sells biology products to schools. Writing about fetal pigs and giant cockroaches really struck a chord with Cindy, as her father is a retired biology professor of SUNY Fredonia.
Although Cindy loved the job, she couldn’t continue working there after she became a mother — but Cindy also couldn’t leave her intellectual side behind. And so began her freelancing business: Cindy Mantai Writing & Editing.
To get her business up and running, Cindy started asking people she knew if they had any projects for her to work on. She wrote brief articles for a school district newsletter, and she began building her writing portfolio. Cindy wrote op/ed pieces for newspapers, and one thing led to the next. In 2000, she made the move from Rochester to Buffalo. When asked how her business was so successful, Cindy said that she was very particular about keeping her website updated. She also said that social media was a key component. She wanted to make sure that whenever anyone searched for “writers in Buffalo, NY” her name would come up.
Starting up wasn’t easy, Cindy says. It was five years before she got lucrative assignments. But it was more than worth it, she says. “I’m so grateful that I had that kind of career — I’m so happy and fulfilled. I made a good hourly wage; I could support myself and my kids, and I didn’t have to work 40 to 60 hours a week.”
A Wide Variety of Writing
Cindy made sure that she wrote a wide variety of articles — she never wanted to feel pigeon-holed into a certain style of writing. In that regard, Cindy has achieved a lot. Besides writing for her business, Cindy has published poetry. She started her own newsletter entitled “Choices,” which targets stay-at-home mothers who still wish to do things that are intellectually stimulating. Cindy started a writing group called The Buffalo Writers Meetup Group. She is also currently working on her memoir.
Writing Today
I asked Cindy what advice she would give to English students making the transition from college to career, and she responded: “I think you have to be confident and humble at the same time. You have to be willing to do things that don’t necessarily seem related. You can find a job that is fun and rewarding, but you have to be open to it.” Cindy has recently started a new full-time position writing for a company in Buffalo. She is applying to this new job many of the things that she has learned previously, showing that you never stop applying what you have learned — and successful writers keep learning.
Post by Amanda Rogers
Read original @ greatwriting

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