Having to write my column proved really difficult this week. Having just almost recovered from the flu I find myself having writers block. This doesn't happen very often as I hardly ever run out of things to say and write of course.
I've heard about this before but never really suffered from it. I remember I was young and freshly out of school and had just entered journalism school. "I can write" I told myself, "I passed the selection test." Little did I know, everyone can write if they put pen to paper but not everyone can write like a journalist.
I remember my first article, it was a mock article but was treated as if it was going to be published. I wrote it and with confidence I thought, "Wow a great article!" I thought, until I got it back from the lecturer. It was marked and circled with red pen all over, it honestly looked like a red sea. I was devastated I didn't want to write any more I felt as if I was being blocked and thereafter I had writers block - the permanent kind I didn't know how or if I wanted to write any more. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't write.
After much deliberation, I was actually relieved that I was the only one whose paper looked like that. Although initially I thought it harsh for someone to reduce my paper to a scribble pad, I later learned that it was an exercise to see how many of us read the papers and if we picked up style.
No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't write.
Thinking back now, I remember it being more of a high school essay than a newspaper quality article. Later we learnt the five W's and the H, something I found was the best thing discovered since sliced bread. I read more and I sort of adapted to the style and grammar and yet still I forced my own. Something I once again learnt, is not to be.
Well years later here I sit writing newspaper articles something that was engraved into my brain whether I wanted to or not. I believe myself to be a very unique individual who always tries to be different, but most of the time deep down we are all the same. For instance when I started here, everyone told me that your column is where you write the most personal things about yourself.
"People will start to get to know you intimately"
"People will start to get to know you intimately", I was told but I did not believe it. I said I am different but I find myself being quite the same as all the others, writing about myself. I was so happy I wasn't being asked to adhere to red pen style. The other day I was asked by a contact over the phone, how is the baby, and in a weird moment I quickly snapped back , "how do you know" without thinking, "Hey you wrote about that" I thought to myself.
I profusely apologised very embarrassed but luckily he couldn't see me as it was on the phone. He laughed, saying that everyone he knows reads the paper. That was just a turning point for me. At least nobody is red penning my stuff any more. So note to that teacher that red penned my articles, its being read now!