About Ellen

ELLEN: A LIFELONG WRITER

A native of Minneapolis, I have lived most of my life in Washington, D.C., and punctuated that time with residing for significant periods in Spain and Argentina.

My father was a newsman and advertising executive.  Growing up, I was increasingly fascinated by the journalism world revealed through contact with my parents’ friends, many of whom worked on the local newspapers.

Following stints as an editor of my high school newspaper and managing editor of the University of Minnesota Daily–at that time one of the highest-circulation newspapers in Minnesota–I moved to Washington, D.C. to earn my master’s degree in Modern European History at Georgetown University. While in graduate school, I worked with a free-lance writer who produced about two dozen monthly columns on education and pension policy for trade magazines. That’s where I learned how to cover and write about the Washington scene.

The next 15 years or so took me to full-time jobs as a reporter at The Washington Post, as a U.S. Senate staffer and subcommittee staff director, and public-interest lobbyist. Through these years, I never stopped writing–articles, speeches, radio scripts, Congressional testimony, brochures.  My writing appeared in a variety of different formats.

After burning out in the political arena, I spent a year of rejuvenation on the Spanish island of Menorca and returned to the U.S. re-incarnated as a free-lance writer. Since then I have branched out to write four books, hundreds of articles for dozens of magazines, and numerous reports and other manuscripts for individuals, such as educators, as well as for foundations, companies and national organizations, such as Washington trade associations.

Some of the topics I’ve tackled, such as Social Security or education, are complex, but vitally important to the lives of most Americans. My forte is writing about such complex topics in a way that they can be understood—and acted upon—by people who are not experts in those fields.

Other topics, such as where to find the best restaurants in Barcelona, or how to start a wine club, are just plain fun. My love of travel has taken me around the world. Living part-time in Spain and in Argentina for years has equipped me with fluent Spanish that I use in reporting and interviewing, as well as with the enriching experience and perspectives of living and working in different cultures.

Over the years many friends and acquaintances have asked me:”Don’t you have a novel in you? Don’t you want to write fiction?” Much as I love to read fiction, my answer is always no.

Writing is what I do, but it’s a different kind of writing. As I said on the “welcome” page, good writing means shaping thoughts and information into forms that communicate them clearly to the target audience.

In recent years, my writing experience led me to a new career facet–editing books for clients who are struggling to  write non-fiction books of publishable quality.

My professional goal in working with clients, regardless of the type of project,  is clear, meaningful communication. Without it, you can put together all the words in the world, and it won’t make any difference.

E-mail Ellen