Since I was seven years old I knew I wanted to write – and I knew a master’s degree in Media Studies from Concordia would help.
While I did my master’s degree I had the opportunity to organize my thoughts and improve my writing by doing many essays. My “fait de complet” was a 90-page research paper relating to racial politics. I read the equivalent of five pages of bibliographic material for that paper. My reading comprehension skills improved. Reading philosophers like Heidegger in my media studies classes four times was good training. Taking Iain Cooke’s new technology course gave me marketable skills.
The opportunity to be part of small class discussions and do presentations was all good preparation for getting a job.
My degree at Concordia was a springboard for interesting things.
I’ve been a freelance writer and independent contractor for 11 years professionally – some of that work done during the two years I spent doing my degree.
I keep my calls in the evenings short so I wake at 6 a.m. The night before I start my freelance writing, I get my Yahoo email and MSN Messenger ready. I open a Word document and date it, keeping the document in my Media Research Institute electronic folder.
I work from home in the early mornings and it helps to pay my rent. I’m finished work by the time most people start. This leaves my day free for other writing projects.
The writing I do is for the automotive industry and I am learning a lot. I’m still getting used to having the morning coffee ready.
Writing is hard work and not everyone is making J.K. Rowling’s big bucks.
In my spare time, I’ve written four books and plan to publish them.
The first book I ever wrote was completely done by hand in a notebook. I knew about computers, but there was something intimate about putting pen to paper. I’m hoping to self-publish it with a place out in Vancouver. The first time I self-published was when I had 15 copies of my research paper/thesis printed and sold three of them for $50 in Montreal. I made back my investment and broke even.
I have always wanted to write. All my career decisions have led me to achieve this goal. Recently, I’ve worked with the Ontario provincial government. I worked with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for more than a decade, with many opportunities to write. I was a journalist fulfilling many different roles. Speaking of roles, I’ve even done acting and landed a commercial with The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Ontario. As I read my lines, I dreamt of writing the script.
That’s probably why writers write. There’s so much I do not know – but what I do know is that writers have a brief moment of destiny building with the words they put down or speak. It’s not much different from a carpenter who builds a house or parents who create a child. It’s a powerful thing.
As the cost of living gets higher in a city like Toronto, it becomes harder to really only write. Other sources of income are needed – and if I were to write my complete CV from the time I started delivering newspapers at the age of 10 – it would be 10 times longer than this.
What keeps me writing is the fact it’s a challenge, a friend, and a personal outlet. It’s a challenge – I’m always trying to earn a living. It’s a friend – writing has been my constant companion since I wrote my first story on dinosaurs. It’s an outlet – it keeps my hands busy.
A big part of my identity is tied to being a writer. I have Concordia as one of the many places and people to thank for that.