I need to make an apology. I’m sorry. Why, you ask?
Back in the summer, I wanted to document my journey. And, planned to publish a journal entry every fortnight.
But, I stopped documenting. An emergency brake, if you like.
Over the summer, I experienced some lows and highs. Firstly, my beloved bulldog Tyson died. He passed away in his sleep, peacefully. My companion for 10 years is no longer with me. My partner in-crime – figuratively speaking. My house is quiet without him. And, I need time to grieve. I’m not use to this huge change.
On a more positive note, I had been offered an amazing (repeat amazing) opportunity to write sports stories for The Voice, Britain’s only black weekly newspaper. Amazing (again). I write the word ‘amazing’ as this still hasn’t sunk in yet.
I lacked confidence in my writing. Since my days at University. Ironic given my PR profession. My writing has improved over the years. Drafting communications plans, press releases and holding statements. Still, something failed to click.
Journalist and PR friends advised two important things: write, write, write and read. Reading? No problem. I could sit in a library for hours, reading classic literature if time allowed. But writing continuously?
I explained to a friend once I struggled to write due to low self-worth. I nearly failed English A-Level for goodness sake. My dream working as a broadcast journalist ‘died’. This dented my confidence severely.
Several years later, a good friend reminded me I can write. This lifted my spirits a little.
Although, my mind blanked when writing topics, I failed to feel passionate about. I’m not one of those special talents able to write 300 words of amazing prose. I needed to feel and understand the topic.
I know sports. I like politics and news. Combine the three, said my soon-to-be sports editor. This coming after a mini-tennis rant over a cup of tea. This is how this writing jaunt started. Over a cup of tea near Baker Street in London in the summer, ending with my first assignment.
Write a 600-word preview on the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. I accepted the challenge straight away. Mission accomplished. My finished article appears on-line.
One commission leads to another and another. More of my published articles go on-line and print for The Voice Newspaper.
Writing has led to other opportunities. My sports editor wants copy on Basketball, Netball, Women’s Football as well as Tennis. His advice is to immerse myself in sport. Listen to podcasts, read articles and go to games.
Radio is another opportunity. Talk tennis. Be our tennis correspondent says my sports editor. By chance, my sports editor is a presenter of a weekend sports radio show. Another string to my bow.
My editor suggested I write pieces every week. Or, every fortnight at least. He wants me to submit ideas. That is what a proper journalist does.
I nearly missed a glaring obvious story last week. Women in Football, led by the wonderful sports journalist Anna Kessel celebrated 10 years supporting and empowering in the game. Sports Editor rang wanting European Netball Open copy tonight. Happy to, I say. I can submit something next day because I’m attending the Women in Football event at House of Lords.
Write a piece, he says. Get a quote from guests. How embarrassing. Thought had not crossed my mind. I apologised to my editor, profusely. So, I wrote a piece and my article is on-line.
Therefore, I’m apologising. For going off the grid. Granted, I was experiencing a tough period.
But, the ‘moral’ of the story is to be consistent. And practise. How does one get good at anything? My confidence in my writing will improve with time and effort. I must put in the effort. I’ve been failing on that part.
Am I beating myself up? Perhaps, a little. I’m my worst critic. Granted, I’m writing regularly for The Voice Newspaper. I need to follow my own advice and publish as often as I can. No promises, though.