Today, I had a quick coffee with a friend over lunch.
We got chatting when we were both in the same coffee shop, me working away on my laptop, her making the amazing coffee to keep me going.
We bonded over my excitement that Tom Hardy was filming up the road and her hilarity at how busy the coffee shop would be if all the ladies and lads who love a bit of Hardy came to our little village.
Upon chatting, I told her I worked in PR and also freelance write. She told me that was her dream and what as a fairly recent graduate she is currently planning to do. She already has a great blog, but was looking for a bit of advice. Hence why we decided to grab a lunchtime coffee. For me to offer her some of that said advice.
Once you have all stopped laughing, I shall carry on.
I was pretty impressed. She was armed with pen and paper. I call myself a writer but never have a pen. I even have a weird assistant app on my phone that tells me ‘It is now lunchtime’ – that’s how away with the fairies I am.
However, as I spoke to this incredibly talented 20 something and started sharing my story about how I am now fully embedded in what can only be called a career in PR and writing, I had a thought.
I wish my younger self had had a ‘me’, because thinking back to my late teens and early 20s, I always remember never feeling heard, or listened to, or taken very seriously.
When I said I wanted to be a writer, or a singer, or at one stage a social worker, I wish I had had someone to just listen and let me say it – not my mum but someone who was actually doing what I wanted to do. To build up my confidence when my own was failing me.
It’s only now, in my 40s I feel that I have that inner-circle. People who I can call upon when the work deadlines are worrying me so much that I find myself watching 10 episodes of Orange is the New Black on Netflix, because I am so overwhelmed I just CAN’T DO IT. The friends who tell me when I am being a bit of an arsehole, over reacting and being dramatic.
As I heard my own words saying to my friend that in order to be a writer she just needs to write it down, write some more and read everything you can, don’t give a shit what people will think if she makes a typo, or if she is just ‘another blogger in a saturated market’, or ‘why would anyone read her shit anyway’ I realised many of those fears are still very much still my own.
For instance, today I had to ghost write a comment piece for someone. It’s not even in my name but suddenly all the old anxieties came pouring back. I wonder if they ever leave us when we work in this industry? Because it truly feels like having homework FOREVER.
It was only then I realised. I don’t need to wish I had a ‘me’ to turn to, because still I did it, I pushed and worked for free to get into PR and from there started to really love writing. I did it, just as she will.
By speaking to my new friend today and giving her some advice on starting out, I realised how far I had come over the years. There’s been obstacles but I completely love what I do, and I don’t think many people can say that.
The irony of it all is today she thought I was helping her. That couldn’t be further from the truth, because I came away more inspired than I have been in months.