Growing up, I disliked English class intensely. I never quite grasped the need to learn pronouns, suffixes and prefixes. The prickliest thorn in my side was having to read Shakespeare out loud in class (to my horror even act out a sonnet while my teacher filmed us) or analyse poems I did not understand, such as The Praying Mantis by Ogden Nash and Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Usually, I would feel annoyed at the poet for not stating the obvious or telling things as they are. Why must there be a meaning within a meaning?
However, the most soul-crushing exercise came in the form of essays, which usually determined whether I would pass the semester. I was one of those kids who scrambled the day before the deadline to get it finished, causing me agony and feelings of anger toward the teacher, as if it was her fault. Once, surprisingly, when the teacher stopped at my desk to hand me my paper, I saw a huge red circle with a beautiful B+ in its centre accompanied by a scribble of “Good job!”
Onward to university I went where I continued my English studies for some obscure reason. There I was tormented further by the musings of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and William Carlos Williams’s The Red Wheelbarrow. During my second year of university, I decided I had had enough English to last a lifetime and vowed I was finished with grammar and literature forever.
Then, reality happened. Today, I am a content marketer.
Isn’t it funny how life works? I never begged or pleaded to become one. It simply happened one day in the blink of an eye. There I sat, terrified with my fingertips hovering and quivering above the keyboard and with a deep breath and a “bombs away” attitude, I almost typed myself into a frenzy. After reading the same article about ten times because I felt it was not good enough, I eventually plucked up the courage to click “SEND” then anxiously awaited feedback.
After a year of writing content and having some pieces of which I feel incredibly proud of, I still feel my English skills leave much to be desired. I suppose I am my own worst critic. Despite these self-deprecating days, there are moments when I feel incredibly grateful for this opportunity to write.
This is why I am grateful for my job
- I am an introvert. I seldom feel the need to contribute to conversations or scenarios, as life inside my mind is infinitely interesting. There are occasions, though, when I wish I could be heard above the chatter in an extroverted world. Writing is my voice, my only true opportunity to communicate what I need to say, in a concise and interesting manner.
- As a writer, it is completely acceptable to inhabit an alternate universe and dream up weird and wonderful characters and worlds. In fact, I could have a PhD in dreaming and imagining.
- In a work environment, a writer is hardly ever bothered and is more often than not left to his or her own devices. This suits me perfectly, as I am not that adept at jobs, which call for “must work well under immense pressure.” I love to put my headphones on and escape to a world of “what if,” “why not” and “how come.”
- Being a content marketer is exceptionally interesting if you are unwaveringly curious at all times. I am like a sponge, wanting to know anything and everything about anything. Each new day, my writing takes me to new destinations; today I am strolling down the Champs-Elysées in Paris and tomorrow I may be on safari, peering through my binoculars at the antics of wildlife. Next week I play doctor and thereafter, I don my wetsuit to dive with sharks.
All in all, the best part of writing for an online audience is when people from all parts of the world share a common thought or idea with you, recognise your effort in voicing your opinion, share your article with their followers and engage with you – that’s all I have ever wanted.
If you would like to journey with me, read some of my writing. You’ll find it here.
Written by: Ninette Minnaar