If you’re like me you sometimes look at Facebook memories when they pop up in your notifications. Other times, your social media ego snuffs their allure. Today a handful of amazing friends with whom Facebook claimed I had memories peaked my interest. So I clicked.
Lo and behold, one of the memories was a link to my blog from 5 years ago. This was blogger Mad 2-point-0 - a page I called Simply Rad (one of my closest pals in highschool called me Rad Mad, it stuck). It followed my Norwegian exchange blog success as a blog for all of my thoughts. Anything and everything that came to mind and could help me procrastinate from my school work.
This day in particular featured a post I had written after one of the many conferences I attended at Queen’s. My blog had just about reached 10,000 hits and I was inspired. Note the one 'like' and the sole comment from my loving aunt:
March 10, 2012 - This is me: pursuing it.
When I first started blogging (crazy it was nearly 3 years ago now!), I never could have imagined it would turn into what it did. I was never a writer in school, and always had way better ideas than I could ever formulate onto paper. I didn’t think I was the “artsy type”.
Originally I started For the Love of Norway as a means of keeping in touch with everybody back home. I don’t know if it was the mass of carbs I was consuming or the huge quantities of spare time I had in my Norwegian classes, but what began as a simple recount of my day quickly turned into a witty narration of every single thing that happened to me. The feedback was amazing; Mom would tell me that if I didn’t write for a few days she had people asking her if I was okay. She was also my first publicist, printing off copies and leaving them lying around for people to pick up and read. For the Love of Norway became such a significant part of my exchange experience that two of my greatest friends added “Published Author” to my repertoire by making a hardcover book of it.
Simply Rad has become the next chapter, or perhaps even next book in the series. Though time doesn’t permit me the same consistency in writing, the fact that it’s nearing 10,000 hits has me blown away. In all, taking up the hobby of blogging has resulted in many people telling me I should pursue journalism. This has been flattering, stressful (pressure to create wonderful masterpieces every single time) and seriously considered, which is what landed me at the Queen’s Media & Journalism Conference this weekend (so eagerly geeky of me, as per usj). As delegates, we were graced with “animated wisdom on matters such as how to land a sought-after internship, how to create an effective blog, and how to get [our] start in the rapidly changing world of journalism.” We had speakers and workshops and delicious hors d’oeuvres. We learned to carve out our own niche and to not be afraid to take a stand on something. We learned that writing is something that only gets better with practice; and if you take a break, things might get rusty. We were presented with many of the ins and outs of the media industry and where it’s headed.
In all, I think we learned that reflection is valuable (reflecting on your work and reflecting on what’s been successful), and networking is the way to get in. We were encouraged that a degree in journalism isn’t necessary nor will it give you any advantage per se, rather it’s about your drive and your skills. Having been my second conference of the year, and being the influential sponge that I am, I naturally came out of the weekend inspired. Inspired to pursue not necessarily cut-throat journalism, but to pursue the things I am good at and the things I am passionate about.
Be prepared to do a lot more reading, friends. This is me pursuing it (and yes, I might just follow-up with James Duthie afterall).
Sophmore Mad was feeling inspired. And I was coincidentally reminded of this on a 2017 day when inspiration festered again.
Living in Southern California there are constant glimmering reminders to live out your inner dreamer. Got a tech idea? You’re just one lunch time conversation in the In-And-Out line up away from selling it to a potential gazillionaire investor (NDA in hand, of course). Wanna be a star? Hollywood is a hop skip and a jump away and maybe you’ll be discovered walking down Hollywood Blvd. Always dreamed of being a sportscaster? You might just make friends with a Senior Writer for ESPN at an awkward dinner in Las Vegas where a pro gambler says you look like a professor and makes you cry. (I dare ya, which one of those scenarios screams Mad?)
Inner dreamer and a job that makes me feel oh-so-close to realizing my dream is right there if only I reach, reach, reach for it…….And so I’ve begun a journey of taking my own advice circa 2012. I always lamented that the structure of University writing let my voice slip away from me. I always worried that my knack for personable writing would dry up as my studies in politics took precedent. But through this endeavour that Teal and I took on a year and a half ago we’ve been expressing ourselves and honing in on our own respective crafts. And it’s been pretty darn cool.
I’ve written about poverty, period panties, and my inner frugality. I’ve edited pieces by guest writers that we’ve featured. I’ve built upon my P&CC era photoshop skills to create our visual identity standards and various graphics. I know that a downfall I need to overcome is worrying a piece of writing has to be perfect and the ultimate combination of wit and charm before posting. Sometimes, it’s more about throwing the idea out there and letting people formulate their own interpretation. As the overprotective, control freak, older sister that I am it is clear letting go isn’t my strong suit and this extends into my writing. I also know I have to work on gaining experience in various aspects of the industry, having not taken anything in the related field in school. This is why I’ve recently taken a couple leaps on the sportscasting side of things, gone out on a limb and worked towards building upon the drive, skills, and networking I blogged about 5 years ago (wracking up tons of material for a future blog post, if nothing else).
With James Duthie and Jay Onrait’s books stacked on my nightstand how can I go to sleep at night and not brainstorm ways to make my dream a reality? When I watch my favourite sports channels and see a total lack of redhead representation on the sports desks how can I not go chasing it? When I watch interviews or read articles and immediately think of things I would have asked the players, how can I not give myself the opportunity?
And so, for the second time in a blog format I declare - This is me: pursuing it.
Stay tuned for updates if you want to read about the many lessons along the way. ‘Cause you know me... they’ll be awkward and funny and cringe worthy. And maybe my lessons will encourage you to take on a YOLO mentality. (That may be the title of my future biography - Take a YOLO Mentality. 5 years from now when this post is a Facebook memory let’s just see!)