It’s finally over. I’ve just finished mentoring for a year-long programme on mobile journalism, and boy has it been a trip.
For one, impostor syndrome was hitting hard, as my bulk of experience in lifestyle, marketing, and fiction felt out of place among the other mentors, who were powerhouses in journalism and news reporting.
But the good outweighed the bad, and I’ve now come out of this programme having learned more about myself as an educator, and you know what? I actually think I suck. A lot.
You’d think I’d know what I want in a writing career after spending some ten years of cutting my teeth in wordsmithery. Ha. Ha ha. Hahahaha.
What happened instead is me flitting from one possibility to another, not really committing to an actual path. Do I want to pursue fiction? Or freelance writing? Am I looking to be an editor? Or remain a writer?
If you took writing seriously, your first instinct would’ve been to click on this post to tell me I spelt my title wrong. Awesome job. That’s what a serious writer would do.
But don’t feel left out if you didn’t, because you’re here, and that means you’re awesome either way.
Besides, writing is more than being the grammar police, am I right? It’s not just about being keen with the language. You’ll also need to approach it from a crafter’s perspective rather than an artist’s.
That’s why I’ve always enjoyed Ann Patchett’s book on the craft titled The Getaway Car. You don’t see it brought up often, especially when compared to the usual suspects such as Stephen King’s On Writing or Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird, but boy is it filled with tons of crafting wisdom.
I don’t know exactly when I made the transition from regular writer to a consultant of sorts, but I’m thankful for the messages I’ve been getting. Most being questions on how they too can write for a living.
And the more I listen to to their dreams and circumstances, the more I realise something—that I’m not the best person to give advice, even if I were to continue writing professionally for another decade.
If you told me ten years ago that I could trade words for money, I’d have asked you to keep your ‘you can do anything’ speech to yourself.
Maybe it’s because I grew up without the internet, or maybe the industry was fraught with gatekeeping, but that’s probably why I’d stumbled from one bad career to another without giving writing a second thought.
It took going through multiple disasters before I finally took a chance in writing. And the rest, as they say, is history. Or was history. Shit, I sell words for a living and I still can’t choose between the two tenses.