This is for my old friends
Let me tell you my story…
It’s been a while since I wrote anything in English (other than my Bachelor Thesis). In fact, the last piece on my old blog went live exactly four months and six days ago. But that doesn’t mean I hadn’t been writing at all. In the meantime, I wrote a few chapters for my first novel, launched a new site and wrote around 30'000 words in the form of Morning Pages.
I finished my studies at the end of May (with the exception of said Bachelor Thesis which still needs to be written) and I will start working on 15th August. That leaves me with 2.5 months of freedom to do nothing but a few freelance writing gigs and work on my new blog. So far, one month has passed and during that time, I’ve been trying to figure out what the future of my writing will look like.
Writing Every Day Clearly Doesn’t Work for Me
During the past few weeks, I have forced myself to write 750 words every morning, a concept also known as Morning Pages. I read so much about it; heard about its positive effects and many people whose opinion I trust have recommended it. So I tried it. And it worked well for the first two days. Or maybe three…
Until, on day four, I realised that there was nothing on my mind to dump onto the paper. The idea behind Morning Pages is to empty your brain of any thoughts — be them positive or negative — that might disturb your mood and focus during the day. It’s a brain-dump. But if there’s nothing in your brain, there’s nothing to dump either.
I firmly believe in the power of Morning Pages, especially if you’re someone who tends to worry about everything and giving every decision way too much thought. Or if your head is too full with things you need to get done, people you need to meet and that kind of things, it’s certainly a great idea to put these thoughts on paper so that your mind is free to get creative.
But I’m not that kind of person. I’ve always been an optimist. A few years ago, one of my colleagues at Starbucks said: “Karin, how come you’re never pissed!” It’s not that I loved being a barista that much, but really I just don’t like being in a bad mood. It takes the fun out of everything. I’m a find-something-positive-in-every-situation kind of person.
Accordingly, I don’t worry too much about anything, I prefer to just go with the flow. If something goes wrong, I try to make the best of the situation and move on. And since right now, there’s not much going on in my life in spite of dancing, I don’t have anything to worry about in the first place. Except maybe that my dances are nowhere close to where I need them to be if I want to win the German Open Championships in November…
Correction: Writing Morning Pages Clearly Doesn’t Work for Me
That doesn’t mean the concept of writing every day inherently doesn’t work for me. And this brings us to the point of this whole article: I need to make writing work for me. Ever since I stopped writing for my old blog, I was afraid of loosing my writing mojo. That’s the actual reason I started writing Morning Pages.
I soon realised, however, that if I want to write for the public — which I do, after all I’m a journalist — I need to practice writing for the public. I don’t want to discredit “private” writing here, I’m sure that it can support both your character and your public writing, I just realised it wasn’t for me. But for some reason, I knew my old blog wasn’t the right place to go…
It’s Time for Something New
I started Stepabout in April 2015 and kept it up for roughly one year. When I started out, I had no idea what blogging was about. I jumped into blogging so I’d have a better reason to not study for the exams I had coming up at the time, with no intention to keep it up. But life never goes according to the plan: I ended up liking it.
I liked blogging because it gave me my very own space on the internet. Stepabout was a place where I could write whatever I wanted, in whatever style I liked, about any topic of my interest. Stepabout helped me rediscover my love of writing, which I had lost in my three years of strict academic writing. I am truly grateful for this experience and I would never go back to who I was before I started blogging.
And yet, I got a bit disillusioned with my blog. It lacked a clear direction and I felt it wasn’t helping anyone It had, nevertheless, given me my love of writing back and no one can take that away from me now. Looking back, I realised that this was the most important, but at the same time the only purpose it ever truly served.
Enter my Accidental Journalism Career
It’s an obvious exaggeration to call it a career at all. I slipped into journalism by accident: Half a year ago, I applied for an internship in online marketing even though marketing was the one subject in high school I hated even more than maths (In Switzerland, we have specialised “profiles” in high school. For reasons I can’t even explain to myself, I chose Economics & Law).
The reason I applied for that internship at all was my realisation that I didn’t want to become a teacher, although that’s what you usually do as an English linguistics graduate. At that point, I had no idea what else I wante to do with my life, so I just started looking into different fields.
The company I applied to was a media agency that produces content for print and online media outlets. During the job interview, I started talking about my blog because they asked about my experiences with Wordpress. “So you can write?”, the editor-in-chief asked casually. I nodded.
A few weeks later, I was sitting at my new desk in front of a huge screen, typing my first article for one of the company’s niche websites. Apparently, the editor was impressed with my work: Once the internship was over, instead of a farewell gift, he handed me a freelancer contract. Ever since then, I‘ve been working as a freelance journalist. And I love it.
So I Guess I Do Want to Write
Thanks to a random internship in online marketing, I now know that I want to be a journalist (in fact, I already am). Nowadays, journalism and blogging are moving closer and closer together, so I guess I want to be a blogger as wekk. The only problem I still have is my language issue…
In May, I launched a new blog with a clear focus and direction: www.karintaglang.ch. It’s not even truly a blog, it’s more of a magazine-style website. It is aimed at women in their twenties, thirties and maybe fourties who want to read something that is not a beauty blog every once in a while.
I decided to get a .ch domain and build the site in German. The reason for this decision was that as a journalist, I mostly write for German-language publications and I thus felt I had to build my blog a.k.a. portfolio in the same language. But I want to keep up my English writing as well.
I know I’m gonna miss the freedom I had on my old personal blog. My new website is a thematic niche blog, so I can’t pop up there with a random post about something that’s happened in my life, an update about my new writing habit or about the book I just read. And that, I hope, is where Medium comes in.
So to all the lovely people who have known me as ReelCarina from Stepabout: I’m back! I just had to figure out where I’m going.