Professional Writing student Maggie Morgan was born with a love of music.
“There’s this picture of me somewhere. I think I was two,” she relates. “I’m in a Peter Pan hat, a princess dress, and I was singing.” She poses in a theatrical stance, one arm raised. She lets her hands fall back to her lap, resuming her calm smile. “I think Disney had something to do with it. Obviously what I like has changed a lot.”
Maggie now runs “Swaggie Maggie’s View From the Pit,” a flourishing music blog. Swaggie Maggie provides insightful album rankings and enthusiastic editorials focused on rock, pop, and hip-hop artists. She has covered everything from The Beatles to local musicians in the Lansing and Detroit areas. She is also a contributing writer and editor for Ing Magazine.
Maggie says she hadn’t considered writing as a career path until her senior year of high school. She believed she had to have a single-minded focus on music until one day when, encouraged by her teachers at Detroit Country Day, she submitted a few of her creative pieces to the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards. She received honorable mentions, which included a free trip to participate in a week-long workshop at the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa.
“[The workshop] was one of the best weeks of my life,” she relates. “I realized that I could do this whole writing thing.”
Maggie started her first blog post on the ride home, and has continued it ever since.
“My first post was really bad--it had so many typos, because I wrote it on my phone,” she says. “I used to write a bunch of posts a week, but they weren’t very good quality.
Now a senior, Maggie is constantly looking to the future and has gotten more serious about the blog.
“I realized that this could be a career—I could even write for Rolling Stone, or maybe Pitchfork,” she says. “Now, when I feel like I have time, I’ll write something I would be proud of. That’s kind of the mindset I have right now.”
Maggie also uses her blog as a way to develop her personal brand.
“I’m really rooted in hippy-ish kind of stuff, like The Beatles. Peace, love, and rock and roll,” she says. “But I also love punk rock, like Green Day, The Pixies, and Bikini Kill. [My blog] is somewhere in between the two. It’s very accepting and happy. It’s who I am.”
She credits her supportive parents and the Professional Writing program as two main inspirations that have helped her achieve her goals.
“I love Professional Writing. I always tell people I’m majoring in Professional Writing and I explain it,” she says. “I’ve gained so many skills in so many different areas, and I’m using all of them to build my personal brand of what I like and what I want to put into the world. I think the PW major is really helpful for creators.”
Maggie hopes to travel and focus on her writing after graduation. She encourages young writers to believe in herself and follow their interests.
“Follow your dream, and you’ll be successful. You’ll be happy.”
Written by Sarah Mitchell