Self Discovery

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A journey of self discovery.
A trip into darkness.
A light forced to burn brighter,
My life held by hope’s harness.

It’s amazing how You know just what I need.
In You I stand complete.

Steadied in the rocky climb,
Growing in the struggle.
Holding onto peace,
Learning how to juggle.

It’s amazing how You know just what I need.
In You I stand complete.

Lodges, bonfires and trees.
Never-ending company,
Within the gentle breeze.
Your Love is calling out to me.

It’s amazing how You know just what I need.
In You I stand complete.

The Spirit helps me see
The way in which to walk
I’m learning to do and be –
Life is more than just talk.

It’s amazing how You know just what I need.
In You I stand complete.

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Day 31: The Final Day

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THE CHALLENGE IS OFFICIALLY OVER.

It was going to be thirty days, but if you recall, on day three I just waffled, and said nothing. Therefore, chums, I have decided that this is the final day. Here are five things I’ve learnt during these Thirty (One) days:

1) It’s a bittersweet affair.

Have I enjoyed it?

Yes.

No. 

At times it was torturous and frustrating. Getting home late after a busy day, having dinner and then wanting nothing more than to sleep, but realising that I have to create interesting sentences with words and then publish it to the blogosphere. Eurgh.

Other days, I really enjoyed it, especially when the words would flow, or I had something in particular on my heart to share. I do feel I’ve grown as a writer by completing this challenge, especially in terms of discipline. Sometimes you can’t wait to be in the mood to write, sometimes you’ve gotta just make yourself write.

2) Forcing yourself to write can help you clarify what it is you want to write.

I really like poetry. I already knew this. But since the majority of my posts from this challenge have been poems, it just clarified, and reaffirmed that It’s probably my easiest/ go to writing form. Or maybe it’s because I really like making things rhyme…

I did find it a challenge to do reviews, and it’s only through doing this challenge that I could identify that. (Practise reviewing = added to To Do List)

3) Blogging frequently takes a lot of willpower, creativity and time.

It is possible, and I’m pleased that I’ve completed this challenge, however churning your work out without rest can limit the quality of what you produce. Writing interesting, unique and engaging posts can be hard to do on a daily basis. So, I’ve decided that I will blog weekly, on Thursdays. I may or may not blog more frequently than this, but I will blog at least once a week. That way I can really think about what I’m going to post, and hopefully say something of interest, value and merit.

4) Proof-reading is essential.

We all know this, but it only becomes an “I told you so” when you’ve posted something, all chuffed with yourself, and then find out a few days later that you made a completely fundamental error thanks to autocorrect, and lack of proof reading. Linking to my previous point, because I haven’t had a lot of time to proof read my work before posting it, I made so many mistakes – some of which I spotted early on, others of which I didn’t spot – other bloggers pointed them out to me. Oops.

5) You don’t always have to follow (or stick to) a plan.

After the failure of day three, when I couldn’t think of any topic to write about, I wrote out a plan for each day’s post. This however became a source of stress, as after the first couple of days, I would look at the plan and think

‘No, I don’t want to write that.’

or

‘That’ll take too long, and I’m too tired to make it interesting.’

or

‘I’m not in the right frame of mind to cover that topic.’

or

‘I haven’t the time to research.’

or

‘It’s 11:30pm. I need something short and sweet!’

After continually rearranging my plan (so that I kept pushing back the things I didn’t want to cover), I finally decided to scrap the plan. Mostly, I ‘winged it’, went with whatever had happened that day, drew inspiration from present/past experiences/observations and/or feelings.

Plans are great when it comes to writing, but they aren’t fundamental. They can keep you on track and inspire you, but other times they can hinder your creativity. There are also times when we can be too lazy to follow the original plan. I didn’t delete the plan, so I still have it as a reference point of some interesting things to blog about. I may decide to use some of the ideas. We’ll see.

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In honour of this special day

Here’s a little note to say
Thanks for reading my ramblings,
I’ll try to post more interesting things.

It’s been fun at times and tearful at others,
But it’s part of growth, break free from the covers,
And don’t let yourself be hindered by fear.
Write whatever you want to, my dear.
The keyboard and pen await.

🙂

Day 7: Journalism Work Experience (at a local paper)

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Monday is the beginning of my second Journalism work experience placement, so it only seems fitting to recap on my first placement in preparation.

I spent a 5 day week working at my local newspaper. Honestly when I applied for the placement I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t even think I’d enjoy it, but I thought I may as well get some experience early on, and although I feel I’m more suited to magazine journalism, all writing experience is good, right?

What I didn’t expect was that each day would be so varied. I’ve learnt that news can be quite interesting. This is coming from an aspiring journalist who isn’t too keen on ‘news’…. (Yes, that is possible.)

I really enjoy writing, and I think learning and exploring as many different styles and forms of writing is extremely helpful in allowing a writer to discover their own voice, their strengths, things they enjoy (that they didn’t know they would), and areas needed to improve in.

One thing that I always agree with is that even if you don’t like fiction writing or storytelling, learning how to do it can help you write journalistic pieces in a slightly more interesting way.

This theory was proved correct, as I believe learning more about news writing is helping me to be more succinct and engaging in my leisure journalistic pieces, my feature articles, and in my fiction writing.

One of the things I really appreciated from the work experience is that from the moment I got there, I was given practical stuff to do. Within the first 10 minutes of being introduced to the team, I was given my own computer and an article to start writing. Just like that. I kinda expected to be coaxed in, but there is certainly value to being thrown in the deep end and expected to produce (in this scenario). After I wrote each piece one of the reporters or editors (whoever had given me the assignment) would talk through the piece with me, suggesting ways to improve my writing. I found this to be a really valuable experience.

I strongly believe that in a placement like this, your input and willingness to participate determines how much you’ll get out of it. If I had just sat there and dawdled, picking at my nail varnish or checking my phone constantly, then I wouldn’t have got anything out of the placement. This isn’t school, or university – they gave me an assignment and left me to get on with it, without checking to see if I was engaged. The team have things to be getting on with, and so I had to be proactive and involve myself by letting them know when I’d finished a task, seeking help if I was confused, and asking for more things to do once I’d finished!

As I said, there is a definite correlation between your engagement/willingness and your output.

I’m particularly glad that the experience gave me a practical understanding of what it’s like to be a news journalist/reporter. As well as writing articles, I shadowed different members of the team, following them to find stories and attend events. I was given the opportunity to interview a writer over the phone; having to do research the day before and decide what questions I would ask her, and then turning the interview into a feature article.

Of course there were embarrassing moments:

As part of work experience I was sent, on my own, to town I’d never been to – to find five interesting things to do. It seemed pretty straight forward, internet research gave me a list of places to visit, and I trotted off with my ipad, notes, and train ticket, feeling like a super cool junior reporter. This should have been easy, taken about an hour, and I should have been back in no time.

I left the office at 11:30. I got back at 4:30pm.

Can I blame this on transport? No. It was pretty much because of a complete incompetence with regards to geographical skills. Simply put. I got lost. In a small place. The trouble is you see, when a town has roads called *** lane, *** park lane, *** road, *** park road, *** church road, *** church lane etc, there is bound to be confusion. I had to go back to go forwards, on every occasion.

There was also the day when I inconveniently wore a thin cardigan, a shirt, heeled sandals and a skirt and ended up following a reporter to wade in some mud, giant puddles and a field covered in horse poo. Of course it was raining and cold as well.

I was thrown in. And yes, it was scary for someone who doesn’t always like to speak to strangers. Or get lost in an unfamiliar place. Despite that, it helped me to realise the demands of the career path, caused me to engage and make the most of the opportunity, and allowed me to understand the importance of not being precious about everything I write. That’s not to say it’s fine to write junk and publish it, but as a writer, there are times when I become a bit too attached to what I’ve written; making editing sometimes upsetting, and often a challenge. It’s important to be able to adapt to the demands of the task at hand, taking all your prior knowledge and applying it in a relevant way.

My placement next week is with an online magazine. It’ll probably be a totally different experience, but I’m really excited, and ready to engage!

Looking back a few weeks after my first placement, one of the most important thing I learnt is that being a journalist can involve doing just about anything.

Always be prepared…