Internship at Legend Press

In the past year or so, I’ve come to the realisation that the only kind of journalism I’m interested in are book and music reviews – which you can’t really make a career out of straight away and live off. They’re both competitive, and I probably wouldn’t be able to focus solely on them until much much later on. So I had a bit of a life evaluation, or more like a think about what I want to do with my life career wise, and of course I kept coming back to the ultimate dream of being an author. I love books, so it made sense that I should go into a career about books – and this is where publishing comes in.

I have very little knowledge about the publishing industry, especially as all of my experience is in the journalism sector. So began the panic earlier this year of writing to as many publishers as possible practically begging them to let me follow them around for a couple weeks (meaning work shadowing, not stalking). I made a long post previously about putting yourself out there, and this is basically what I was thinking about whilst writing it. After a few replies saying not possible, and one panicked 15 minute conversation where I was offered a placement on a week that I was away in France, I finally had an offer I could accept – and that’s where I’ve been for the past two weeks.

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I was mainly in editorial in a very small publishing house – there were only six or seven people in the office every day, and on my last day there were just three of them due to holidays – so I was able to have an insight into several different areas. I was reading through manuscripts, proof reading, compiling many different spreadsheets for Sales, and several other jobs. I’m almost tempted to write ‘completed’ on my reading challenge for this year with the amount of books I had to skim through over the past two weeks. In my first week, I read at least two manuscripts a day, but as it was mainly skim reading just to get a gist of the plot and writing style, that probably doesn’t count.

There were classic, stereotypical intern moments, such as being sent out on an errand, sorting out the bookcases in the office, and having lunch at itsu most days. There were also jobs I didn’t think I’d be given, such as going through competition entries and assessing writing.

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At this current moment in time, I’m sitting in a towel having just had a shower and have about forty minutes before I have to head off to work (no rest for the wicked), and am drawing a serious mind blank on what else to say about these two weeks. So I’ll end with this: I’m so happy I managed to secure the internship, and although it was unpaid it was fantastic experience that I will very proudly add to my CV. I’ve learned so much about the industry, met some fantastic people, and definitely have more of an idea of what I want to go into.

Guide to University/Life: Put yourself out there

I wasn’t sure whether to make this a general post or Guide To University, but as the inspiration came from experiences at University, I decided to go with the latter.

It’s bloody difficult getting your life together, as I’m sure everyone can relate to. From getting into good schools, to doing well in exams, deciding if university is for you, picking your career path, making steps towards said path – I mean, come on, that’s not even including your social life, your housing, bills, taxes, food, relationships, and everything else on top. Instead of trying to tackle all of these today though, for now I’m going to focus primarily on the career aspect.

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I’ve been told all through my life – by parents, friends, adults that actually have their lives together – that if you want something, you have to work for it. That you can’t just sit on your arse with your hands open, waiting for something to fall into them. That it’s not all down to luck and chance, that you actually have to work for it. It’s about perseverance, determination, and a bit of guts on top of that.

In the career paths I’ve looked into (journalism, writing, and publishing), networking is a large part of them. That means that whenever I’m in a setting where a contact could help me greatly in the future, I have to suck it up, go up to them, and get their details. I was crap to start off with, when I was on the Young Journalist Academy and seeing all these amazing people walk through the door and thinking ‘damn, wish I got their email’. Honestly, you have to just put yourself out there and shove some of those nerves, and maybe a little dignity, aside. You can’t be insecure, you just have to toughen up and walk on and, if they don’t give you that email, they don’t give it to you. You won’t get it without trying, and that’s the mantra I try to keep on repeat in my mind.

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Next step? Actually email them. I’ve only just started to make sure that I actually do that as soon as I can, rather than wait until a lot later when I think ‘oh, maybe so-and-so could help me out with this problem’. I suppose I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunities that I’ve had, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t worked for them. I only received work experience at The Sun by talking to someone at an event and asking for their card so I could email, which is when they asked if I’d be interested in experience. I’m currently on an internship for publishing now, which I managed to get after sending out email after email to as many publishing houses as I could asking for any experience in the industry they could offer.

What I haven’t manged to do well yet, and I imagine won’t be able to deal with perfectly for a while, is rejection. I am bloody terrible with rejection, feeling as if it’s a personal attack and agonising over wording in emails, whereas they were probably written within minutes. Finding the strength to not let yourself be upset when you’re not picked is so hard, but I’ve found the real challenge is picking up the pieces and getting on with it.

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Take a couple months ago for example, where I had an offer for an internship for two weeks that I already had set plans. I replied, angry at myself, only to find out I could shift my plans. Another email hurriedly sent, only to find out that they’d found someone else. (This all happened in about 15/20 minutes) Then comes the anger, the tears, the irritation, the cursing, and copious amounts of chocolate and tea.

So it’s safe to say that when you do put yourself out there, you’re also very likely to be rejected a few (a lot) of times. But when you finally get that ‘yes’? All worth it. 100%. (Well, maybe not the many calories you’ve put on, but you can deal with that later)

Grief

I’ve been absent for the past few weeks as finding the motivation, or even the inspiration, to write a blog post has been near impossible. My Grandma passed away two weeks ago and I’m still no closer to feeling back to normal. I’ve been so lucky as I’m twenty and this is the first death close to me that I’ve had to deal with. My Dad’s parents died when I was much younger, but I grew up seeing my Mum’s parents at least every week.

It’s strange, this grief. I guess I expected just to feel sad for a few weeks and then the sadness would just become less and less, but it’s nothing like that. It’s more like an emptiness, a hollow spot in your chest and your bones that sometimes you forget about for a few moments but then you feel it again. Grief is more like a balloon inside of you, inflating and deflating constantly but contorting into different shapes. One moment you feel numb, the next you feel desperately sad, and then you’re angry, then you’re back to feeling empty.

The stages of grief aren’t stages at all, really. They don’t fall on a straight line. You don’t pass one to get the next. They’re on overlapping circles, crossing over each other and continuous with no end in sight.

The funeral was a couple of days ago, and although I felt strong at the beginning and like I could handle it all, the feeling didn’t last for long. And there’s still this numbness that I can’t get used to. Being at work is good and bad – keeping busy is wonderful, as you forget that the grief is still there, but you can be in the middle of a conversation with a customer and it all comes back. I had someone say ‘sunshine’ to me yesterday, and all I could hear was my Grandma calling me ‘Sunshine girl’. I also saw some customers that looked slightly like my Grandma, and again it all comes back in waves.

But not everyone understands – I certainly didn’t. You hear the news and feel sorry for your friend’s loss, but after a few weeks it’s old news. Already at work it feels like I should be getting over it now, like it’s just an obstacle I have to get past instead of something that I’ve picked up and can’t just get rid of.

So I’m not moving on, but just carrying on with this new weight/absence/whatever-the-hell-you-call-it with me. It’s a part of life that I never really thought too much about, or at least didn’t want to think about it, but it’s something that you have to shoulder. For now, it’s the memories that help me get through the day, the times of smiles and laughter and love. It’s trying to fill that emptiness with a bit of life.