In a guest post, author Ann Morgan—the blogger at A Year of Reading the World—reflects on her 2017 project, “Postcards from my bookshelf.”
To become a writer and a journalist, I must scratch the itch.
First, I will confess that I’m writing this sprawled on my sofa in an unattractive position, presumably damaging to the spine, wearing pajamas.
Secondly, that I’ve been putting off writing this piece for longer than two years. I let my fears and apprehensions hold me back, deliberately procrastinating, usually by doing the ironing. Or am I the only one who’s ironing pile decreases when other important jobs are waiting?
I had feature ideas but no real structure, they were missing the right angle and my sourcing was amateur. Even now I’m almost a month into my NCTJ, surrounded by other like minded writers learning almost too much to handle, yet I still have that little voice persuading me to keep my words hidden in my finger-stained notepad shoved on my bookshelf.
I was trying to convince myself that my background and limited academic achievements would prevent me from succeeding but I was wrong. I won’t continue making assumptions. I’d rather write words people detest than to never have them read.
I remember someone reading one of my memoirs I left floating in my room when I was at Uni. It was a short piece about the first time I met a few really important friends, ones that have stayed in my life for over a decade. It was fascinating to watch someone enjoy something I had created.
“When once the itch of literature comes over a man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen.” – Samuel Lover, Handy Andy, 1842.
Although it irritates the shit out of me that Lover assumed the ‘literature itch’ only came over men, eye-roll and sigh, his words reinforce my point.
I’m starting this blog because I want to write! I want to practice writing and reporting but also because I want to connect with other writers’. I plan to write weekly and discuss the latest news, political issues and share some creative pieces. I may even share moments of my journey into journalism.
I will study shorthand daily, practice the theory and memorize the special outlines, no matter how impossible 100 words a minute may seem. I’ll be watching documentaries on media law like the OJ Simpson case and not only scream “HE IS GUILTY!” at the television but write about it too.
This is the complete opposite of what I imagined my first post to be but it’s better than no post at all and I figured, if things go wrong, I could always hit delete and hide in shame, shoving chocolates in my face.
OR I could carry on scratching the itch.