When I was in my early thirties and working for BBC News, I wanted to be a newsreader on the radio. I know that you know what that is, but for the sake of total clarity, it’s the person who sits in the studio every hour on the hour and reads a short news bulletin. If you are a bit funny you might have banter with the show’s presenter. And if you are really good at it you could graduate to present a real news programme one day. I used to get the opportunity to do it from time to time, but it wasn’t my full-time role. I would only stand in when someone was ill or on holiday, or carry out news reading duties at the weekend. It was really enjoyable, like a little performance, and it gave me a buzz. I wanted to do it all the time. But no one would have known, because I never ever told anyone. I didn’t even really admit it to myself. Helen, this is the bit you enjoy the most, focus on making the news reading happen.
Why didn’t I just ask?
I don’t know why I couldn’t just go for it, embarrassment certainly played a part. I felt that it was vain to want to be on the radio every day. How shallow, to seek the adrenalin rush and the recognition. No, I decided it was noble and respectable be fulfilled by the other aspects of the job. So I went reporting on stories, carrying out interviews, planning and researching news programmes….
I thought that if it was meant to be then my bosses would spot my inner talents and pluck me from the reporter’s pool to do the job I really wanted. Which of course they did not. Regretfully, none of my senior colleagues were mind readers.
Also, I suppose there was a powerful urge to play it safe. How embarrassing would it be to say ‘that’s the job I want’ and then not be good enough to make it?
There were people around me who didn’t get hung up about on this. They put their hands up and were dead clear about what they wanted, to become presenters on the radio or more often TV. They dressed the part and pursued career stepping stones that would lead them there. And guess what? That’s what many of them still now do for a living.
A long baby break later…
A very very very extended period of maternity leave (around 8 years in the end) has given me time to reflect on how I would navigate work differently if I went back. One thing I have promised myself is that I will never again be backwards in coming forwards about my ambitions.
But before you can state what you want, you have to understand it for yourself. This can be difficult, even awkward.
What I want now
So, trying to be as honest as possible. Here are my ambitions for this blog.
I would love it to become a small business. My priority so far has been building up content and a readership for my little corner of the internet. There is still such a long way to go on both fronts. But alongside this, I also need to try and understand how to generate income from it. In a way that I am comfortable with.
It’s never been my goal with this project to have a load of free blogger swag landing on the doorstep. Or to spend my time on Instagram flogging things that people don’t need. It really isn’t.
It’s been magic for me a have a creative outlet again. I love writing and taking photographs. But in all honesty, I think that there will come a point where I would like to see some financial return from it. Perhaps I will be able to get paid to write? Or work on decent collaborations? Or (wisely) use advertising or other marketing on the site.
I would like the opportunity to meet interesting and creative people, and to work on commercial projects with them. A podcast seems like a good fit too.
And do you know what I would really love? To appear on Women’s Hour on Radio 4. I know that’s a daft ambition, but I thought I’d put it in for fun. It would literally be the culmination of all my dreams!! I am trying to be honest here.
Quite possibly, none of this will happen. Writing these posts may merely end up being a stepping stone to something else. That’s fine too. I’m treating 2018 as a bit of a re-training exercise. Like a self-certified postgraduate diploma in blogging and social media studies!
Feel the fear and do it anyway
Be in no doubt, I feel a fool writing all of this down. If I don’t manage to meet any or all of these ambitions, then my failure is now forever committed to the internet. But who really cares about that other than me?
Things change, when I understand more about the blogging business, perhaps my expectations will have to shift and become more realistic.
This is my blog, and I reserve the right to change my plans for it at a later date! I’ll be sure to update you if I do.
Please share your ambitions. What do you really want from your job? Aim high, write it down here and perhaps that’ll make it a little bit more likely to happen. Helen x