Mickey Rapkin, New York City writer and keynote speaker at this weekend’s Horace Greeley writer’s conference, teaches the importance of perseverance and never giving up on your ideas.
Mickey Rapkin, an author and alumni of Cornell University, could not say if there was a reason why he became a writer. He is now known for his two books, Pitch Perfect and Theater Geek, and as a staff writer for national men’s magazine GQ. He started his studies at Cornell in economics because he believed studying business would allow a comfortable life. It was not until a fellow writer on the school’s newspaper suggested that economics was not making him happy that he realized how much writing for the paper satisfied him. Rapkin made a choice that may have been risky, but allowed him to eventually become a staff writer for GQ and Elle magazine, and a guest columnist for the New York Times, Time Out! New York, and other publications.
It was not easy for him graduating Cornell, when all of his friends had job offers, and he was scrambling to figure out what to do. He spent a year in Madrid after graduating, and when he returned he found it difficult to find what job he wanted. He applied everywhere for the sake of getting off of his parent’s couch. While Mickey Rapkin was interviewing at a book agency, the woman suggested that he was not doing what he really wanted. The woman told him of an opening at Details Magazine, which allowed him to move forward with his career. It was at Details that Rapkin realized how much he did not know and applied himself to improve. While he worked there, a connection opened up at GQ magazine, and after three interviews he was accepted as a staff writer. At both jobs he was happy and gaining knowledge, but still had an itching feeling that he was not writing as much as he wanted.
After his first published story at GQ, an agent called asking to make the story into a book. The book they created unfortunately never made it through publication, and was thrown away. Rapkin decided he was not going to give up on writing a book, and came up with his own idea for a book. He pitched his book Pitch Perfect, and after a lot of research, 18 trips across the country, the book was made while he was still working at GQ. He still gets emails about the book, and there is even a movie in production for the book going on now.
His story made a point to all the writers at the conference that it is important to take a chance. It is important to keep persevering, and if you want it bad enough, do not let anyone tell you no, and then you will be a writer. His charm and inspirational story will stay with the writers of all ages, and help them to fight for their own writing careers.