When I grow up, I want to be…


Artist's impression of me aged 8

When I was a small girl, maybe 8 or 9 years old, I wanted to be an author. To be honest I didn’t feel I had any other choice; that was what I was going to be, so why fight it?

And I didn’t fight it. I spent most evenings tapping away on my computer, writing stories, poems, and even had my first crack at a novel! I learned to touch type to help me get the words out faster, using a pretty awesome piece of software I picked up in a GAME bargain bin for around £3. (Retrospectively, I’m impressed with my young resolve, as learning to touch type isn’t much fun).

I even remember what my novel was about. The protagonist was a young, beautiful detective called Jen (!) who, based from the local police station, solved a multitude of complicated and riveting crimes. My lexicon wasn’t all that advanced, with most of my literary prowess being used up on character development. As a result, all the rooms in the police station were named after colours; the red room for relaxing, the green room for looking up records…and so on. The geography of the local town was also eerily similar to my own home town of Rainham in Kent.

As I got older and more cynical, I soon had to face the reality that really, I wasn’t good enough to be an author. The more I read, the more I became convinced that I could never write like my heroes. Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl represented a level of talent that I could never hope to achieve, and because I couldn’t be the best, I decided to stop trying! How defeatist of me. (In my defence, I was still young!)

But then, 2 years ago, I had an epiphany. I’d been lucky enough to land a role at a company that looked after me, with a boss that actually wanted to help me reach my potential. In the first 5 months of being employed, I noticed the web content team, and felt an immediate draw to the work they were doing. When I was promoted and asked where I wanted to move to, I told them that the content team could be the place for me.

So that’s where I went. All of a sudden, I was doing what I dreamt I’d grow up to do…write for a living. But on top of this, I’d managed to find my niche. I’ve been using the internet since I was 12 years old and it had grown up with me. I saw it change the world, and felt its gravitas all throughout my formative years. The web was definitely where I wanted to be professionally, and now I’d found a way to channel my experience and insight into something useful. And it paid the bills. And it meant working in a fast-pace, exciting environment that was never going to get boring.

If it all sounds a bit too good to be true, there are obvious downsides. I had to work some terrible, terrible jobs for 6 years before I managed to get here. And anyone who works in the copywriting industry will know the frustrations of the job, of which there are plenty. But for now, as long as the web is alive and kicking, I think I’ve found my calling.

P.S I’d like to credit my friend Pete who created the image used in this blog post. This is his artist’s impression of me as an 8 year old. I love it!


3 Responses to “When I grow up, I want to be…”

  1. he he! your novel was excellent I’m sure, even for your age, it’s probably better than some of the stuff out there on the market! (although I would suggest the red room would have been better for brainstorming potential case leads rather than relaxing – blue or green might be better for that. I’m telling you this in case you decide to rewrite…!)
    I was very tempted to do my own artist’s impression of you that would be more realistic that your friend’s illustration, which although excellent, doesn’t have that lovely basin cut that you sported for a while. Your favourite haircut ever, wasn’t it?!

    • I was going against the grain with my room colours! Green for relaxing? Bah! That’s such a cliche. I’m all about mixing it up!
      As for the artists impression, obviously you have a better frame of reference. BUT I didn’t have a ‘basin cut’ when I was 8! I think I still had lovely long hair, the basin didn’t come till I was about 10 (I think). Can’t believe mum let me go on TV with that hair cut 😦

  2. O-ho! mixing it up, eh? you had genius way beyond your years, clearly!

    And with regards to the hair cut…. i would feel sorry for you if mum hadn’t seen fit to not pay for the hairdressers to do my perm, so she did it herself, leaving me with only curls on the sides and a flat top! I would say the Jacqui managed to get away with it, but I seem to remember her having suspiciously bowl shaped hair at one stage also! I guess it was fashionable at the time. The kids I feel sorry for are those ones now whose mums think it makes them cute to look like little thugs with half shaved heads with a mullet tail at the back (chullet = child mullet) and such like. Little boys who should look cute running around with those ‘thug’ haircuts that look like their destinies as lowlives have already been decided on for them. It’s not fair -I’m sure they had potential until the clippers came out! http://nowthatsnifty.blogspot.com/2009/07/child-mullets.html

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