Recently, I lost my motivation to blog-something that has never happened before. Trying to write content for a living takes the fun out of.. well, not writing for money. It loses its appeal.
Over on Instagram, I asked for questions for a Q&A blog post; after all, they seem to be ‘all the rage’. I also added a couple of frequently asked questions.
How did you get into journalism?
The long way. (Sort of.) After finishing my A levels, I went straight into completing an NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) diploma, thanks to the Journalism Diversity Fund. You can read more about this over at Kate Jones’ blog.
What’s your favourite word?
Probably wunderkind, a word that I saw in a book by Tina Brown. It’s a word to describe someone who is very successful at a young age; who wouldn’t want that?! But I also like the sound of the word-the inflection, really.
What sort of journalism do you want to do?
That’s always a tricky question for me to answer-and it took a long time for me to be able to answer. I love to write, and when in training I tried my hardest to be diverse in the work produced. (This was largely due to it being said, time and time again, that my special interests were dominating every aspect of my life. I still think that’s unfair.) So, I spent months interviewing a range of people, reviewing albums, writing features about disability, writing news pieces. But I want to get into investigative journalism ultimately. There’ll hopefully be more on that soon.
How do you take your tea?
I don’t drink tea or coffee, as it makes me feel ill. (Sometimes I wonder if I’m actually British!) But I love a glass of Rose lemonade.
If you could only listen to one song, what would it be and why?
It would probably have to be Nobody Loves Me Better by Anastacia from her Evolution album. It’s a song that is ridiculously catchy, and sometimes I like to apply the lyrics to my own sensibilities.
Why did you want to be a journalist?
It was an accumulation of a lot of different things. I am useless with numbers and anything practical, so I looked forward to lessons were I could write. (And not be laughed at for not understanding how to cook, or put a wooden structure together.) I have also had a love of words from a very young age. I think this was partly due to being Autistic; I would focus on a specific word, a phrase, a lyric, saying it over and over again. I also have a ‘noisy’ streak, so I always asked questions. And it just sort of grew and grew..
Favourite type of media?
Independent, all the way. I think that journalism as it is needs to change-for a variety of reasons-but it’s local outlets that produce great stories. (In my opinion.) Have a look at Byline.com. But then again, I also like The Guardian, and Cosmopolitan (I subscribe). But I try to make a habit of reading a variety every morning.
Do you feel like being Autistic has influenced your freelance journey at all? If so, how?
Being on the Autistic spectrum influenced me long before that, and it still does. I find the hallmark of having special interests helps-and it’s why I’d love to go into investigative journalism. People have taken it largely nicely as well, and it helps when working on stories connected to disability.
Best journalism tip you have ever received?
“Always kick up, never stamp down.” Interpret that however you like.
Any shorthand tips?
Whatever you do, do not give in; this skill takes a long time to even master! For speed, use songs to practice, and practice daily. Group everything together, and take into consideration the pen you use. And if needed, divide the page in two to go faster. Teeline’s Twitter page is also a great resource.