Monday, 31 December 2012
I knew I wanted to write when I was eight and a car was stolen from our street. The police came and I interviewed the neighbours, my mum and dad, my six year old brother and an indulgent policeman and wrote it all up in my own newspaper.
I studied, got a cadetship at a country newspaper, became a journalist. Learnt to observe, question the obvious, convey a story. Learnt to question and try not to be too intrusive except on those occasions when hard questions had to be asked. No Google then to conveniently help out, facts had to be sourced and it was often a hard slog.
I learnt to write impartially, factually, concisely, accurately. I learnt to keep myself out of the story. I learnt from a hard editor who would throw my story back across his desk and say "do it again" but often wouldn't tell me where I'd failed. I learnt to question my own work, and became a better writer for it. His name was Murray Tucker and behind his back we called him Motherf...think you can guess why. As in many things, it's in looking back you see the gift of that training.
And then, many years and three children later, I left the world of newspapers, went to the "dark side" of corporate writing, media releases, speeches, opinion pieces. Other people's voices and thoughts conveyed by my words.
I think this has made me struggle with this blog. Finding my own voice has been a challenge, all those years of disciplined writing about others and for others. The voice that tells me to pull back and edit, not to overshare.
I'm going to try to do better, for myself. I guess it's like another cadetship. Learning as I go, letting those thoughts in my head breathe.
This year, I've jokingly said it's The Year of Jo but in saying that I'm talking to myself. I want to pull back from my work and rediscover some parts of myself that I've had to put away to get the job of work and life done. Writing for the love of it, not for work, is part of it. So is taking better care of myself, living in the moment, observing and recording this life. Wish me luck.