I remember writing my first short story when I was in in third grade. As I read it aloud in class, the other students gazed up at me in amazement. "What happens next, Hal?" they asked.
From that moment, I was hooked on writing. That question - "What happens next?" - still thrills me. I always want to know what will happen, who is affected, and how the pieces all fit together.
In 2008, I graduated from college and into the Great Recession. I fought for my first newspaper job after freelancing and working two simultaneous internships. But after years in journalism, I briefly tried full-time content writing, an industry that seemed to rest on more stable ground. But I wasn’t happy; I couldn’t write or report in a job solely focused on content writing and that hurt me. So I wrote and reported, fighting my way back into journalism through writing for multiple trade magazines. These days, I freelance for multiple outlets and write features each month for a marketing magazine.
Slowly, my dream of writing has come back. Now, I dream of becoming a writer who people search for, a writer who makes his readers' eyes race from paragraph to paragraph asking themselves, "What happens next?"
I love hearing different sides of the story, interviewing people, and making my pieces as relevant as they are readable. My best skill is synthesizing complex ideas into easily understood stories, reports, and essays. Currently, I’m working on how to bring more feeling into my pieces. I want what I write to occupy the reader’s mind long after they’re finished reading the last paragraph.
As historian Will Durant wrote, “Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing things historians usually record; while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry and even whittle statues. The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks. Historians are pessimists because they ignore the banks of the river.”
I want to tell the story of people on the banks in all of their glory, humor, terror, and beauty. But I'll always keep my eyes on the stream.
My interests include music, friendship, stories, reading, travel, love, the brain, animals, meditation, learning, basketball, boxing, good conversation, and new people.
Sometimes, I get quoted in the local news in strange ways. When I was 12, I was quoted in The Chicago Tribune: “Hal Conick, 12, of Wheaton bravely tried his seaweed in mini bites. How did it taste? Conick replied, ‘Like a mixture of fish and Scotch Tape.’” When I was 31, I was quoted in DNA Info: "[This is some] Ferris Bueller s---."
What others have said about me:
"Hal is an impressive editorial and online pro. He was instrumental in our brands reaching record levels of online engagement in a very short time. Hal quickly mastered complex subject matter and applied creativity and metrics-driven content strategy. The results were dramatic. In addition, Hal is great to work with. I'd recommend Hal to anyone needing a skilled, dedicated and collaborative content pro for their team."
- Andy Friedman, former Executive Director, Content & User Engagement at Penton Media and former Chief Content Officer of the American Marketing Association/Marketing News magazine
"Hal is a talented writer with great initiative. He would aggressively seek out stories, and he found a lot of good material to curate to our sites for HPAC.com, Contractormag.com and ContractingBusiness.com. He has a knack for writing catchy headlines and he was tactical in the way that he would schedule social media posts for the material that he produced. During his tenure, the traffic increased greatly for both Contractormag.com and ContractingBusiness.com."
- Robert Mader, Senior Director of Content at Penton
"Mr. Conick is a gifted writer and energetic reporter. Once he joined our team, he immediately began to seek out relevant stories and prepare them for posting on our website."
- Terence McIver, editor of ContractingBusiness.com
"In the fast-paced world of digital it is often hard to find people who can learn the latest technologies very quickly and perform at the highest level. When Hal came to Penton I was amazed at how quickly he adapted to his environment."
- Joe Baugnet, former Content Optimization Specialist at Penton
"In his time at Penton, Hal contributed incisive, thought-provoking content that helped drive a lot of traffic to our web sites. His monitoring and management of social media streams was immensely valuable. Hal made himself a student of our industry and learned an incredible amount in a short period of time. He will be greatly missed by both our readership and his co-workers."
- Steve Spaulding, Production Editor at Penton
"Hal is one of those rare individuals who can bring a fresh view to solving business problems. In my time working with him at Brafton, I learned that you can always count on him to meet his deadlines. He brings a collaborative element to his work - something that is not always easy to do in the editorial field - and regularly demonstrates he is thinking about the bigger picture."
- Michelle Burbick, former Technology Writer and Editor at Brafton
"Hal is a strong writer, critical thinker and would be an asset to any company's output and office culture."
- Kyle Fitzsimmons, former Writer and Editor at Brafton
"Working with Hal for more than 2 years at Brafton, I was amazed at the quality and depth of his work. While editing his content, it was clear to see that he took pride in creating error-free work. ... Not only is he a great writer, but he's also someone who always has a smile on his face and happy to be doing what he loves: writing."
- William Ruben, former Writer at Brafton
"Hal is a great reporter. He has a mind for conceiving and executing stories and projects of large scale, and a gift for processing data and hard numbers into relatable, useful information for readers. He's a workhorse and multitasker, and was known in our newsroom for producing both quality and quantity while keeping it cool under the pressures of deadline. I would strongly recommend him to any future employer. "
- Cari Barcas, former editor at Suburban Life Publications
"I have worked with Hal in both the academic and most recently the work environment. Hal is a detail-oriented reporter who will dig deep into every one of his stories to make sure every fact is presented when his story is published. He is thorough, accurate, and one of the most reliable reporters on our staff. He comes highly recommended from me."
- Eleni Demertzis, former co-worker at Suburban Life Publications