Fifteen years ago, the answer to what do you want to be when you’re older was ‘a journalist in Africa’. For some reason, which I can’t really identify the inspiration for, I went about this mission with a methodical determination. I poured over the CVs of journalists and even student journalists who happened to have got into the best programmes. I tried to work out everything that an ideal African journalist would know and do, and find a way to get that. I worked on my touch typing, I learned short hand, collected work experience across the country, took French classes, I signed up to the right magazines and joined the Royal African Society.

Maybe I’m at that stage again. At least I have an idea that I’d like to do a lot more writing and photography in the future. To take writing, it seems clear that writers write a lot, they read a lot, they associate with other writers, and they know about their craft. I’ve built many of these things into my life, though the key thing – doing a lot of writing – remains rather absent. Today I finally got to write a couple of short creative texts, and hopefully this can continue. Part of the excuse I give is that I spend my working life in front of this computer, and it doesn’t seem sensible to have a hobby that involves more hours at this keyboard. One option I’m considering is being a separate personal laptop that helps me differentiate mentally from work time. Another option, might be to hand write, at least for writing that I’m just doing to exercise the creative muscles.

Between now and the end of the year, I should have plenty of time to find out whether this writing malarkey is my thing.

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