This year I am turning 22 and finishing my Masters degree and it’s got me thinking. With each year, and each stage of our life we succeed in starting our careers or our memories. Each time that happens there is always a physical ‘first’ of that: the first photo you take with your friends, the first award you win, the first bank statement you get after opening an account. It’s exciting to see all these physical proofs that your life is starting. I have always tried to keep as much of these memorabilia’s as possible, I have all my awards from secondary school still proudly standing in my bedroom and a whole host of photographic horrors from the beautiful silliness of childhood friendship. Then, even more importantly for me, I have the firsts of each of my ‘career starts’. Which means a lot to me for a lot of reasons, but also because as a child I wanted to be a lot of things, and I still do, and with the ever fierce encouragement of the people around me I’ve started a lot of them and realised that they are achievable.
My main wishes and desires for my career have for a long time been to be an Actor, a Filmmaker, and a Writer (in both fiction and Entertainment/Lifestyle Journalism). It’s an ambitious heavy task for me to try and achieve all of those, and if I am honest I will be perfectly content to have succeeded in any of them. I am merely searching to live doing something I am insatiably passionate about, and whatever I do, I will do everything else as a hobby. If I succeed in being a Writer, I will still act, I will still make films even if no-one sees them and having these ‘Firsts’ of each medium prove that, to myself, to be true. A truth that will keep me wishing and wanting until it is a reality.
Today the ‘firsts’ I have found, while digging around my flat on a week off from work, are the first pieces of Entertainment Journalism I put out on a platform that wasn’t run by myself (like my blog).
Here I wrote a short review of The Casual Vacancy By JK Rowling. I wrote quite a few articles for The Rabbit and it was such an incredibly satisfying piece of work to be a part of. I would write to the appropriate editors with an idea, and if they liked I would write it with a little editorial input. It was the first instance in which my non-fiction writing, in a journalistic capacity had stretched from my blog to something bigger. It had a larger audience and a separate external input that allowed me to realise people genuinely liked my writing. This was almost 2.5 years ago, October 2014 to be specific. I was a shy but opinionated and driven 19 year old student, it was the time when I had settled into my position, and now wanted to make the most of my opportunities.
This is also a later article I wrote. A birthday wish to Dr. Seuss, in a contextual manner, honouring his work. In a sense it was another first, because it was one I had accepted. I think, if my memory serves me, it was the first article the editor I’d begun to become friends with had asked me personally if I’d be interested in writing. It meant a lot to me, it wasn’t just me putting in effort to try and get out there and to write more, people were offering me the opportunity and that made an impact.
This experience, what it provided for my CV and the confidence it gave me led me to apply to another magazine which had its base online, and which had an even bigger audience. This magazine was called The Hippo Collective. I applied to them, told them what I had done before, and an idea I might have for my first article. The prospect of which was even more thrilling because being a culture, lifestyle and entertainment magazine, they preferred longer and more detailed articles which I have always loved. Below is a screenshot of the first contributing article I wrote for them.
This was huge for me, it wasn’t related to my personal University, and my application was merely informed by my previous writing and the way I sold myself. It gave me the boost I needed further, to feel more accomplished and to realise that these things combined with other ‘firsts’ were actual proof that you can do anything you want to. This article was October 2015, so in fact a year after my first article at The Rabbit, it wasn’t an immediate change, it never is, you wait and then you try, and you wait some more. The Hippo Collective, like The Rabbit was an equally heartwarming project to be a part of, I wrote perhaps more articles than I had at first believed myself capable of. I watched as my writing grew in maturity and quality, and saw how practice really does improve your approach and your talent.
Before long I was excited and fuelled by the adrenaline of being part of such a well-liked magazine and by my growing confidence. So I wrote to the founder Jonathan (who is an absolutely wonderful person and someone I now class as a friend) and asked if I could write a regular column. After a long written pitch about an idea I had been thinking of for quite some time, he told me he enjoyed the idea. He checked with me that I would be able to stick to the consistency of an article a week and then we begun the journey to creating my column. My column was called Refocusing The Lens and below was the first logo for it (designed by the insanely talented dream team of both Beeple and Jonathan) and my first article as part of my column, without editorial input.
Now, the reason I haven’t included the first short film I made, the first piece of theatre I was in or the first piece of fiction/poetry I put out is because my journalistic writing is the one I can explain best in relation to my sentimentality about ‘Firsts’. As you can see from what I have spoken about here, what you see, the logo, the screenshots, the physical print, its just paper and colour. But for me, it’s not just that, it represents the first time I showed my journalistic ability, the first time I was shown that I was actually capable, in one way or another etc
Each of these moments, each of these ‘firsts’ in this medium and in all other mediums that I hope to succeed represent a start, a progression, and more importantly a need and possibility of success in doing what I love.
Never give up on the things you wish for, just stop waiting for the wishes to be granted, and go get it for yourself.