Back in 2008 my uni boyfriend and I went to Singapore. It’s all a bit of a blur now but I do remember we met up with this important man that was a friend of his family. I think he did something in finance, but anyway, he was wearing a nice suit and looked like Sean Connery. I’ll call him Mr Nice Suit.
Back then I was in my first year of uni and like everyone at that stage, being plonked in a random city doing a random course meant I had NO idea what I was doing or what I was about. Like those family parties where you dread your successful relatives asking you: ‘what you want to do after university?’ – this same question came up in conversation with Mr Nice Suit. Sipping his expensive drink and looking half intrigued and half already unimpressed I gulped and said “well I like writing. So maybe..a.. journalist”.
Obviously the questions then followed..what do you want to write about, what are you interested in? Have you done a course? Do you have any contacts? How are you going to make that happen?
I didn’t have a clue. The two men then continued to talk about banks, stocks and funds whilst I sat back and felt a bit stupid.
Later on, in the afternoon, Mr Nice Suit asked me if he could borrow a pen.
I rummaged around in my bag and couldn’t find one.
Then this: “You want to be a journalist and don’t carry a pen? Or a notepad?”. He then snorted.
This stayed with me ever since. Despite his pompous nature, he had a point. If I wanted to start being a writer, creating ideas, sourcing stories and making things come alive, I had to start thinking up things throughout the day. Writing down your ideas is so important; saving that split-second-light bulb-moment whilst sitting on the tube can be so easily forgotten. So, remember your notepad, especially if you see someone in a nice suit.