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Devlyn Brooks: Dessert First

Devlyn Brooks loves the game of poker, not for the gambling or bragging rights – he loves it because he can always get better and he never knows everything that’s going on.

The same could be said for his life as well.

“I’ve been so lucky,” Brooks said. “It just seems I’ve had predestined people come into my life that have really been influential, and I don’t think that’s by accident.”

Brooks’ life hasn’t revolved around his work, but it’s a major component. Brooks is a digital content operations manager at Forum Communications and also a journalism instructor at North Dakota State.

“It’s kind of liking having your dessert first,” Brooks said. “The negative side of that – the other edge of the sword – is that I worry at times that when I get here, all of those fires of the day have me preoccupied.”

Brooks graduated from Fertile-Beltrami High School and Bemidji State with a mass communication degree nearly six years later.

Throughout that time, Brooks was finding out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, but he knew it had to deal with writing.

“If you can teach something, you can do something,” Brooks said, “because it makes you better at what you do. If you can talk about writing and inspire someone else, that must mean that you’ve got some sort of concept of writing yourself.”

He eventually thought he was going to forget the high-paying jobs and teach elementary kids. Instead, he moved onto a field that paid even less – journalism.

“It just bit me,” Brooks said. “This whole concept of being able to go out and be paid to tell stories and influence people’s lives, it just fascinated me.”

Brooks’ most important job title, however, is dad. He is currently raising two sons and two stepdaughters with his wife Shelly.

“Having kids so young, it changes your mind about moving away,” Brooks said. “I had never been more than four hours away from family, and with kids that early, you don’t necessarily want to move away from your parents and grandparents because there’s this emotional tie. So that changes things.”

While he loves his family, he also loves a good story. Brooks has a room in his house dedicated specifically for thousands of books, or as Shelly calls it, “the nerdy room.”

“Story matters a lot to me,” Brooks said. “Even though the job I do today is a lot of nuts and bolts and I’m kind of a cog in machine, it all comes back to story for me. I think that’s the great potential of what we do as writers is being able to tell story.”

To top off his workload, Brooks does media work for various non-profits and the church he attends. With all of the work he puts into his jobs and his family, Brooks is especially focused on keeping his creative fire alive.

“I like to write when I can,” Brooks said. “I have a couple different blogs … All of these different things allow me to instill a creative fire in me or to release that creative energy because I don’t work in a newsroom anymore … It’s these other pursuits that allow me to have a creative outlet.”

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