Sunday, January 6, 2013

The dream I never knew I had

was asked to write a piece about my career choice for a student publication and I thought I'd share... 

I began reading just before my 3rd birthday. Not comics, not pop up books, proper books. 
My mom likes to think that I was a gifted child; I think of it more as peaking early. 
Truthfully, it's probably down to having an older brother and being fascinated by his homework and spelling flash cards. 
At 3 years old, I was lost in the world of Enid Blyton, obsessed with Moonface, Silky and The Saucepan Man. 
I was the child who couldn't ride a bike, but I could devour several books in a day. Yes, that child. 
Eventually, every one had caught up and reading was no longer a special gift, but rather a requirement. It didn't quash my love for books. I still can't sleep at night without reading, but Moonface and friends have been replaced with piles of fiction and even more non-fiction. 
My love for books hinted at the fact that one day, words might be my bread and butter. 
After changing my mind more times than I could count (I've never been gifted in the maths department), completing a degree and then pursuing my Honours, I finally decided to chase my dream of becoming a copywriter. 
11 years ago, I packed up my life, moved to Joburg and handed myself over to AAA for a year as a postgrad. 
12 of the best months of my life eventually came to an end and they plunged me into the deep end of the advertising world. 
After about 6 months, I realised that I wasn't living my dream at all. I felt stifled and frustrated by the process. I didn't want to just be a contributor, I wanted to give birth to an idea, love it, feed it, raise it and be there to send it out into the world. Most of the time, I just gave birth to the words and then had to give them up for adoption to another department. That's something I was unprepared for and something that revealed how precious I am about my work (read: control freak). 
So, I had uprooted my world to pursue a dream that I was not a good fit for. What does one do? Wait for someone to call you and offer you another dream? That wasn't the plan at all, but it's exactly what happened. 
Television. Do I want to work in television? In a word, yes!
Within 5 days of working in TV, I knew, in the same way you're able to point out exactly where your birthmark is without having to look for it, this was going to be my life's passion. 
Working in TV allows me to conceive my babies, watch over them, nurture them and kick them out of home when I think they're ready. 
I love my job fiercely. I struggle to articulate just how much passion I have for it. 
Most of the day, I'm behind a desk, pushing paper and writing endless scripts, but every day, for at least an hour, I get swallowed up by the magic and mystique of control rooms and studios and the agonising bliss of live TV adrenaline. 
For me, there will never be anything that beats the high of producing live television. 
I get to do that every day. Me! The little girl who buried herself in books. The girl who still can't ride a bike. 
That girl gets to meet the most incredible people. She gets to travel. She gets to learn something completely new every day. She gets to do something she loves, even when she feels like she hates it. That little girl didn't allow herself to dream big enough to ever imagine the life she'd have. 
That girl was lucky, but much more than that, she was determined, focused to a fault, hungry and ferociously in love with creativity.
No, I'm not curing cancer or solving the global warming crisis, but every day I get to play a part in making people think, or laugh, or cry. I help inform them, inspire them or entertain them. 
I get to live the dream I never knew I had, and given my often questionable use of commas, I'm sure that many of you will be glad I gave up copywriting.