Perhaps it is true: “everyone wants to be a writer these days.” Heck, I see the cliché materialise in my own studies within the field of journalism: everybody writes poetry, every other person writes short stories, and “Oh wow, you’re writing a book as well?”
Nevertheless, what strikes me is where people are finding the appeal in becoming writers. We are brought up hearing about journalism with a general impression of low salaries, outrageous working hours, zero social lives, baggy eyes, rapid vision deterioration, alcoholism and smoking addictions, cranky editors, writer’s block, and a list of other not-so-pleasant occupational add-ons. Placed next to the chance of a well-paid, self-employed, work-from-home CEO position, why write? We all have little respect for writers as it is, what-with their news bias allegations and nosy tendencies, so why is everyone loading the gun that will end up shooting them in the foot?
In my opinion, it’s a case of genuine passion and enjoyment – a far more genuine one that in many professions. It’s an addiction, putting maybe not your life on the line, but definitely your reputation and your ability to handle whatever you’ve been tasked with.
I’m not an adrenalin junkie per se, but I crave the “rush” journalism gives me. From getting the idea for a story, to my mind spilling over with ideas and angles, to pulling every trick out of the hat to hunt it down, to sitting with ample coffee and drafting the first article from start to finish in one go… I am absolutely obsessed.
I sense an exciting future lies ahead for journalism and its writers, with its ever-increasing need to innovate and adapt to the “print vs digital” war that is currently sweeping the globe. I firmly believe that my place in journalism – be it through my photography, my writing, or my panache - will prove to be invaluable. I say that with as little ego as possible, and in this case I’d prefer it to be received as a well-refined self-confidence.
Living in South Africa with a home and heritage in Germany, and being able to speak Italian and Afrikaans (and now in the process of learning Japanese), is a situation not many can boast. This cultural amalgamation of being born into a first-world country and growing-up in a third-world country gives me a rather unique perspective from which to write and analyse. Furthermore, my interests range from photography, to nature, to cooking, to travelling-on-a-shoe-string, to playing the piano and tin whistle, to ballroom-latin dancing, to webpage coding... To top it off, I do psychology, linguistics and history alongside my journalism major, which have all laterally expanded my critical thinking and knowledge bases to incredible lengths.
I’ve been told that I spread myself too thinly, and my reply is simply this: at least I’m doing it thoroughly and evenly.
In all honesty, I can’t help it. After-all, my appetite for theoretical knowledge and practical experience is insatiable.