Former Midlander recalls her path to becoming a writerOctober 19, 2023

The image to use for this article. Listing image managed through RSS tab. Melanie Nicholas

In her blog’s introduction, Melanie Nicholas writes, “As a child, I dreamed of two things: becoming a Dairy Queen counter lady and a writer. I never went to work for DQ, but I have been writing stories and eating their dip cones for a very long time.”

Melanie has made a career of writing—a dream that materialized into a skill when she was a student at Midland College from 1991-1993.  

“No one ever really talked to me about what I wanted to do or how I was supposed to do it,” she said.  “When I graduated from Midland Lee High School [now Legacy High School], I wasn’t ready to go away to a big university.  Midland College was convenient, and I was awarded a scholarship, so I spent two years there. It helped me get my bearings and led the way to my writing career.”

Melanie worked at the old Furr’s Grocery Store on the corner of Garfield and Wadley—now Carter’s Furniture Store—and went to school full-time and wrote for the Midland College newspaper.  

“Writing for the MC newspaper was really what got me interested in communications,” Melanie recalled.  “Besides journalism, my favorite class was literature.  Retired English Professor Glenda Lindsey-Hicks introduced me to poetry and the discipline of writing. Like all angsty young women, I fell in love with Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. Heart’s Needle by W. D. Snodgrass is still my favorite.”

Melanie said she has maintained friendships with several of the staff and faculty she met at MC.

“The faculty at Midland College are really outstanding<’ she said.  “I love Elise Coombes; she was my journalism lab instructor before she became MC's public relations director. Her husband Bill was also one of the best instructors I ever had. Retired photography instructor Kent Moss and his amazing wife Vivian are my daughter’s godparents. I am indebted to so many people at Midland College who helped me and inspired me along the way.”

Melanie transferred from Midland College to the University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB), where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications in 1996.  During the time she was at UTPB, she wrote for the UTPB newspaper and also worked as the obituary clerk for the Odessa American newspaper.  

“Working in the obituary department was one of the most memorable jobs I’ve had,” Melanie said.  “It taught me how to double-check details and proofread.  I also discovered what an honor it is to be a part of celebrating a life. I consider writing obituaries some of the most meaningful work I am ever asked to do.” 

Melanie is currently a full-time freelance writer and copy editor, but it took a while to get there. After graduating from UTPB, she worked for the Odessa American as a reporter and arts & entertainment editor. She then went to work in communications at Texas A&M University.

“I got my first paid freelance job there, writing feature stories for Insight Magazine,” she said. 

It was during this time that she fell in love with her now-husband David, who is a nurse by background and works as a hospital administrator.

“David and I were friends in high school,” she explained.  “After high school, we went our separate ways, and then one day we ran into each other again and decided to have dinner.  It was at that dinner that I knew he was the one I would marry. He eventually moved to College Station, which is where we got engaged.”

A year later, the couple moved back to the Permian Basin and were married in 2001. Melanie worked in the communications departments at Midland ISD and then at UTPB until her son Parker was born in 2008.  

“After Parker was born, I worked part-time as the communications director for St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, and then 2 ½ years later, my daughter Bodhi was born,” she recalled. “During that time, I also started writing columns for the Midland Reporter-Telegram.  Being a newspaper columnist is one of the greatest jobs in the world. I am indebted to my friend and editor Stewart Doreen.  I can’t believe I actually get paid to give people my unsolicited opinions regarding womanhood and motherhood in the 21st Century!”

Eight years ago, David’s job transferred the family to Tulsa, where Melanie still writes newspaper columns and writes copy for various ad agencies, including Current Media Partners in Midland. 

“The thing I love about writing for advertising is that every project is different, and no two days are the same.”

She and David even founded their own content marketing studio,, two years ago.

“Our work focuses on storytelling and messaging for the healthcare industry and non-profit sector,” Melanie explained.  “It has been fun collaborating with David on new kinds of projects. He’s really funny and really smart. Plus, it lets me work from home, which is what the dogs have wanted all along.”

Melanie has three Great Pyrenees mixes, Dutch, Cleo and Leia.

“I love babies and dogs, books, old country music, the ocean and all things ’80s,” she said. “And I am more than a little obsessed with British murder mysteries.”

What she loves the most though, is spending time at home with her family.

“During the COVID pandemic, we had a pool installed in our backyard, because I wasn’t sure we would ever get to leave the house again,” Melanie joked.  “We are all homebodies, and we really like living in Tulsa.  It is a lot like Midland—family and community focused. However, the Mexican food here is no bueno! Midland will always be home. Our family and friends are still there and we love visiting.”

While she never made it to being a counter lady at Dairy Queen, Melanie’s childhood dream of becoming a writer did come true. And it all started for her at Midland College!

You can find her online and on Facebook, @MelanieMaxceyNicholas.

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