Saturday, 15 March 2014

It's never too late ...

I read a newspaper article a few years ago that said most of us would probably change our careers five times in our lifetime. Five times? I thought: Wow, that’s a lot! At the time, I was getting towards the end of my Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. It was a big effort on my part. First, I went to night school and did four senior certificate subjects to gain adult matriculation and university entry. Then, I studied for two years part-time while working full-time as a legal secretary. It was pre-children, so I could be selfish with my time. I gave it my all.
I enjoyed working as a journalist. I loved communicating to a wide audience, finding things out first-hand, writing to be understood, and reaching out to people while I worked in both commercial radio and at the ABC. To be completely honest, my ambition started to wane when children came along. I considered my three children to be my finest achievement – and I probably always will. I tried my hand at teaching at an international school when we moved to Jakarta and I helped edit and translate a coffee table book after the devastating December 2004 tsunami. When we returned to Brisbane in 2008, I dragged my feet. At the back of my mind, I knew I didn’t want to return to a newsroom.
I volunteered for the Brisbane Writers Festival, I did public relations for my children’s primary school, I organised a book club, I did a couple of writing and editing courses, I kept writing short stories and entering competitions, I joined a vigorous writers’ group, and I applied for jobs where I thought I could use my journalism skills in a wider capacity.
Still, something was missing.
Earlier this year, as I walked through the University of Queensland, suddenly the penny dropped. I had to go back. I had heard about the Writing, Editing and Publishing program and made some enquiries. Course convenor Ros Petelin told me I would be surrounded by people who care about writing; she said graduates found themselves in ‘gold collar’ positions. Coming from the 'blue collar' profession of journalism, I was hooked.

Grammar cartoon by Alejandro Yegros.

I care very deeply about journalism, and about grammatical and editing sins that we see not only in the media but all around us. So, I’m up-skilling, adding to my journalism knowledge, rounding out my writing skills, and learning how to make my mark in the world of publishing with a Graduate Diploma in Writing, Editing and Publishing. All going well, I will continue to Masters. So, with the children now relatively independent teenagers, it’s ‘me’ time. I will still write short stories – in fact, I’m mentally unable to stop. But, I’m going to be an editor. A really good one. And I couldn’t be more excited!