After twenty years, I felt trapped in the daily grind of commuting to an office. I was nearing 40 and spending up to four hours a day, stressing to get through a light or on a train and then having to ask permission leave work to watch my son’s cricket game.
I was developing media content and writing technical manuals and procedures for software companies. I started out fresh, loving every minute of my corporate job. But, as the years rolled by, I wanted more independence in my life and more control over my time. I also wanted to write about things that really mattered to me and to others. Product content was just more of the same thing, in a different font, on a different background.
At 41, I was made redundant. I had dodged several cut-backs in the past so it came as a shock and a big ego buster. However, I realised things were being set in motion for me to finally get off the corporate wheel and follow the dream I had every day, sitting in highway traffic – to become a journalist. So, I completed The Professional Freelance Journalism Course with the British College of Journalism.
In completing the course, I learned how to approach an editor whereas before, I had no clue how to get started. After one of the course assignments, I contacted a local news editor and submitted the work I done for my project and it got published (my first published article).
I received great guidance and advice from my tutor. I soon learned to pay more attention to how and what I was writing and not to get swept up by the emotion of it all, specifically when writing about social or environmental issues. Now, I make sure I keep my work ‘clean’. Good grammar, proofread, proofread, proofread, less verbiage and emotion, more fact but always maintain passion. These are just some of the tips I learned through the course and has become part of my writing habits.
I write articles for blogs, such as Zenhealthmag, Travel Visa Pro, and have completed various writing contracts through an online freelance portal. Every day is different - sometimes manic, sometimes quiet - but I feel more confident having completed the course. I’m very proud to flash my journalist credentials card instead of feeling like an amateur (which I still am but no one needs to know that!).
The Professional Freelance Journalism Course has given me a great foundation at the very start of my freelance journalism career.