Saturday, 18 January 2014

I quit my job, and went on a work placement.

Within 2 weeks of quitting my job, I have learnt how to tactfully tell people that I am in between jobs. It rolls off the tongue with an automatic sting of self defence. It is a tactical interlude of employment, if you will- a dramatic transition between two very different parts of my twenties.

This week I spent many an hour at Buzz Magazine, which is based in Cardiff. It is an entertainment and listings magazine, which includes everything there is to do and see in and around South Wales. There is a common misconception that work placements are a week of making tea and being the office lackey, but my experience at Buzz was completely invaluable and one I would recommend without hesitation.

The challenge of being a writer is becoming a credible source of unfamiliar territory. On Tuesday morning, I had no idea about textile art or artists, but by lunch I knew enough to write about it. The same goes for a number of stage previews that I was required to put together. It was fortunate that it was quite a hectic week in the office, with next week's deadline looming- so there was plenty of work to come in my direction such as transcribing interviews and writing content for the website and magazine. The general atmosphere in the office was very calm, and it was much less uptight than one of my previous placements.

If you want to be a journalist then work placements are essential because you need to get it out of your head that it's all razzle dazzle and excitement- you need to enjoy writing, all kinds of writing. The best part of my week was when the editorial team could not reach of one of their contributors, and within minutes I had tracked down her Twitter and her blog, all from overhearing a conversation. The editor remarked "That's the sign of a natural born journalist" and I appreciated being recognised for my ability to extract information.

As you are all aware by now, I left my job in a bold effort to escape a life of cowardice routine- it was a life that I had stumbled into and couldn't find a way out without making drastic decisions. In the grand scheme of things, decisions are either foolish or well executed, but they are just one choice that can be changed by another. When you lose sight of the person who you are meant to become then that one decision might save your life, even if it doesn't save your bank balance.

I also learnt this week that laziness can be the ultimate demise of great minds and even greater people, so don't avoid the inevitable hard work. You can't train yourself into making brave (or wise) decisions, but you can get out of being stuck on repeat, and change something.

A lesson that was absolutely paramount to my week is the realisation that the act of comparison is a merciless kiss of death for writers- especially bloggers. I see a lot of this on Twitter, with a lot of bloggers instantly disheartened by reading other people's writing. Bloggers are very much still moulding themselves and shaping their brand, and are easily put off by the "big time blogs". Although reading other blogs is a humbling experience and can teach us new things, it is also self destructive to compare your own work. Here's my advice: Just don't do it. Don't be so casually callous about your own art. No one writes in the same way, and no one should replicate another writer's work- you can't defy your own voice by trying to write like somebody else.

To all the twenty-somethings who have found themselves invested in the paralysis on the road to success, don't lose yourself to panic. Even if we don't know how we're going to get there, we know where we are going- we are the lucky ones.

Video info: Your weekly motivation is Louder by Lea Michele.

Related posts:
I quit my job, with nothing to go to.
I quit my job, what next?
Buzz Magazine: 10 Things to Do
Buzz Magazine: Blue/Orange Preview