#17 At least I… have your attention

November 24, 2009

So basically, I’m just gonna hand out some of these card things and, like, I’ll probably get a job as a columnist and cultural commentator by next week. I mean I’ve done absolutely nothing about it but I think writing reviews, snippets and features might be something I’ll not hate… It’s pretty easy too, right?

Wrong.

I don’t need telling that a few bits of cardboard and a polite; ‘thank you for your time’, isn’t how you get people to pay for your writing.  What I do need, though, are readers. You. If I don’t get people reading my words and seeing what I’m doing then how, I ask, am I ever going to stand out from the crowd?

I’ve spent the best part of two years emailing journalists with requests for advice and PDFs of my student newspaper and magazines. I’ve done a lot of hard work the orthodox way and had some great responses. There are some amazing writers who’ve been more generous with their time than I can ever thank them for: just an email means a huge amount.

Unfortunately, however, I can’t rely on emails as a way of making contact with busy, busy people. Roughly every 20 emails I send will give me one good reply and – from chatting with like-minded friends – I think this is a pretty general rule. If so few of the industry’s influential people have time to reply to speculative emails from youngsters then it would take decades to get that ‘right place, right time’ moment. It’s already been six months.

This is why you received my card (if you did): it’s a way to show I’m here and to attract a few more people to read my work. Just as I’ve been doing for different websites and companies for months, I’ll write you up anything you want. For free.

I know it won’t start me on the road to fame, fortune or regular pay cheques but if someone decides (as they’ve already done) to give me a shot and get me to write something then this whole ‘affair’ has been, in my eyes, completely justified.

If you get a moment – take a look at some of my other posts here and, you never know, you might like what you read.

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4 Responses to “#17 At least I… have your attention”

  1. ns Says:

    I admire what you are doing. Keep doing it! It’ll pay off in the end.

  2. You peaked my interest... Says:

    you are going about it the right way…keep it up!

  3. Luke Says:

    Hi Tom

    Noticed your article on the Guardian site. Well done for giving it a go. Yes, you may not have got a job at a national but you’ve gained a valuable experience and attracted many people to your blog that would not have found it otherwise.

    Those that don’t think it was a good idea may have called arrogant but at the end of the day you tried to do something for yourself and you can always take the more traditional route in the future.

    Good luck.

  4. Mike Says:

    Hi Tom,

    Have you considered working abroad? I, like you, am a recent graduate. I want to work in human rights. I graduated in 2007, finished my MA in September 2008, and for over a year I have unsuccessfully applied for (paid and unpaid) positions in NGOs. Ultimately, I decided to look outwith the UK. I’m currently teaching English in South Korea. I arrived three weeks ago. I’ve already managed to find three voluntary positions working with refugees. Whilst this year is not my ideal route in to employment, I’m still gaining experience (plus the added benefit of becoming fluent in another language). Don’t limit yourself to only working in the UK.

    Anyway, best of luck with everything. I know it’s a difficult time for looking for jobs. Keep persevering and something will come up eventually.


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