Monday, 31 March 2008


No, I'm not talking about a dodgy British soap or Bon Jovi's Greatest Hits album and I'm definitely not referring to that hideous song by Blazin' Squad (thank goodness they seem to have gone for good eh?). I feel as though I'm at a crossroads, or perhaps a fork in the road to be more accurate. It's this writing business. For the last 9 months or so I've been trying to get my foot in the door to the world of freelance journalism. I've written on various different subjects and most of it has found its way onto the internet in one form or another. But I'm getting disheartened. To be perfectly honest I'm fed up of doing it all for free. I know that it's the way to get experience and all that jazz but it's rather demoralising when you send off e-mails and samples of your work, never to hear back from those people that could actually afford to pay you.

Perhaps I just don't have the ambition and motivation necessary to get ahead in the industry. It's not my dream to be a writer. It's just something that I happen to be able to do to a decent standard and which I would be able to fit around my health problems. Maybe I just don't want it enough.

So the writing malarkey is one prong of the metaphorical fork in the road that I spoke of. The other is to go back to studying. I've been having a look at the OU website recently and part of me would really like to get myself a little more educated. The problem is that I can't do both. I simply don't have enough energy to give follow both avenues. Which leaves me with a difficult choice; to write or to study? Theoretically I can do either at any time in future. However, if I give up the writing now I'm well aware that it will take me twice as long to make any progress next time. Gah! I'm not used to decisions like this. My M.E. dictates my life so much that usually there is only one option available to me in any given situation! Once more with feeling? GAH!


Chris Laverty said...

It's so true that opportunities come along when you least expect/not looking for them. If you give up now the work goes to someone else. Don't let them win!!!

Anna said...

We must discuss this Giraffealicious! But until we meet again, here are a few thoughts... doing an OU course is a great idea because despite not needing higher qualifications to be a journalist, people like to know you have them anyway. Annoying but true. The other benefit of a course is that you have an excuse to network - "excuse me Mr Important Person but I'm doing a bit of research for my studies and wondered if I could come and do some work experience with you..." etc. A good network equals work! I also wanted to say that putting the writing on hold for a while doesn't mean it'll take longer next time. You've already built up a portfolio so that'll stand you in good stead for the future. If you decide to stick with writing, then as you said, it's really just about chipping away and wanting it. Journalism seems to involve a lot of nagging people to death (or at least until they agree to pay you). My final point - I'll go away then, promise - is that if you start an OU course and then find you have a bit more energy one week, then you can do some writing as well. Although you don't feel you can do both all the time, there's nothing to say that you can't do both some of the time. There'll be university magazines and things too so you can keep up your writing practice.

Ooh and I do have one more point! You talk about forks in the road and it being a difficult decision, but if you've ever been up the A1 then you'll know that there are roundabouts every few kilometres. So if you take one fork and decide later that you want to do something different, then you can do a u-turn and get right back on track :) And I'll be there by the side of the road cheering you on grand prix stylee! Go you! xxx

Giraffe-a-licious said...

Anna, my dear. You are a legend. Talk soon :)

lilwatchergirl said...

I can relate. I want to get into freelance writing too, and it's pretty tricky. I've decided to take the 'completely unrelated higher qualifications' route, but to use any opportunities I can find - the student newspaper or maybe the local rag, for example - to see if I can showcase a bit of work, and then work on getting more professional work later. I'm sure similar opportunities will arise for you - or that you can create them. Best of luck with it all!