It’s a question that most students will face at some point during their college career: If I study what I love, will I be able to do something with my degree?
Ryan Brock ’10 is a great example of someone who chose to study what he loved. And pursuing his academic interests and passion for writing has now resulted in starting his own company. From his high school days in Crown Point, Indiana, Ryan often spent his summers writing stories. He and a friend even collaborated on a novel. He chose to earn his degree in philosophy of religion and minor in English. But Ryan didn’t lose his love of words and storytelling. During his senior year, for example, he helped student-teach a high school English class at the Decatur Discovery Academy in a local school district. But when it was time for him to graduate, everyone was asking the inevitable question: “What will you do after UIndy?”
“I remember talking to a lot of people who said, ‘You’re graduating; now what’s gonna happen?’ Ryan says. “And the only plan I had was that I wanted to write.”
Months went by, and Ryan wrote and submitted his work to various outlets, but without any luck. He worked to get a novel published. He soon learned, though, that becoming a self-published author would not be easy. Among the challenges were having to write and edit his own work, marketing the books on his own, and coming up with funds to cover printing, publishing, and promotion for his work. “You’re also competing with these publishing houses that have way more money, way more talent available, way more resources, and it’s just really tough,” says Ryan. With the desire to help other struggling writers catch a break, he thought about starting his own publishing company. Meanwhile, he began to do freelance writing, picking up projects for companies and online blogs, among others. Soon he’d reached a point where he had more work than one person could handle, and it occurred to him that if he couldn’t help others get published at the moment, he could at least help them find paid work. Ryan told his friend, Scott Blanton ’11, about his idea to start a writing company that would meet the needs of diverse clients while serving as a stepping stone for aspiring writers hoping to gain more experience in the field. With Scott on board, Ryan founded Metonymy Media LLC in September 2011.
Nurturing the UIndy connection
One of the first hurdles in getting Metonymy Media off the ground was assembling the team of writers. Naturally, they turned to the UIndy English department. Professor Kevin McKelvey, who has been an avid supporter of Metonymy Media since its early stages, also served as a resource in helping to spread the word about the job openings and in identifying good candidates. Today, the majority of Metonymy Media’s staff writers are either alumni of UIndy or student interns.
“Overall,” Ryan says, “the UIndy English Department has been our natural first stop. They’re teaching so many great things in the English department right now. Even the creative writing majors are doing things in Web writing and blogging and so on, and I think that’s fantastic. UIndy’s turning out some great writers with a lot of good experience.”
Among these writers is Ryan’s younger brother, Nathaniel Brock, who joined the staff full-time after his May graduation from UIndy. Besides serving as a source of staff, UIndy will no doubt continue to maintain close ties with Metonymy Media. The company is now working closely with the University marketing team on a project to edit and write content for each academic department on the website www.uindy.edu. Ryan encourages aspiring writers to try different forms of writing to gain experience, build on professional development, and cultivate strong self-confidence.
“What I look for in a writer is someone who is confident with who they are and in the voice they have. Also, learn to keep an open mind. Rather than limit yourself to a specific type of writing, try anything you can to help build your writing skills.”