I went full-time as a freelance copywriter in 2009. But a year before that, I dipped my toe into the world of web writing on the side. I waded through online job boards, looking for something that was less journalism and more entertainment – but not entertainment. Picky, I know!
I finally found a site that was looking for writers to contribute short, engaging articles on interesting inventions. Being a history lover, I focused on “invention history,” writing about how some of our most well-known inventions came to be. It was fun, and I wrote for the site for a few months, eventually switching to innovative marketing.
No archive.org needed
Today, something made me curious if the site was still up. And it is! Maybe it’s a result of being active online since the ’90s, but I’m often a bit surprised to find sites that are still around for 10+ years. It doesn’t look active anymore, but all of my old articles are still there – including my first one: The Wonderbra: History of the Fifth Greatest Canadian Invention.
A TV show about Canadian inventions inspired me, but I remember why I specifically chose the Wonderbra. It was a nod to the first history book I’d ever bought, from the Dundurn Castle gift shop in Hamilton, Ontario. It was about the history of underwear. I swear it was actually called The History of Underwear, though I haven’t been able to find it online since. Sadly, it didn’t join me on my 2001 cross-country move to Alberta.
So – what do I think of it now?
What strikes me about that first article is its tone. It was always intended to be a web article, yet it reads almost like a university paper! To wit, this excerpt from the second paragraph:
Women have been using bras in some form since the seventh century, though the corset had been the dominant choice from about the sixteenth century. Not only was this corset buried under several layers of clothing in the Victorian era, but it was also constricting and, hindsight suggests, a precursor to many health problems.
Snore. I wrote this and I’m falling asleep! I somehow made an article about bras a bit of a snoozefest!
Writing what I love
Despite the dry tone, however, I’m still quite happy with that article. I always love writing on historical topics, especially the history of everyday people (I have a blog about everyday history, in fact). It was fun to research and write those historical articles on a regular basis. Though of course I had site guidelines to consider, it was my first taste of how magical it is to write what I love – and get paid for it. I committed myself to going full-time after that, and the next year, I did!
Just think how different my life would be without the Wonderbra!