Pink balloons in the sky

Yes, dreams do come true

We all have dreams. Call them aspirations if you will. A big white wedding dress, travelling the world, buying a certain car, getting that promotion, running a marathon. Everyone’s are different, some might seem small, but to the person whose dream they are they are huge, important and memorable.

For me a lot of my aspirations have been career-related. Think what you will of that, but that’s just the way it is.

When I was younger, it was seeing the words I’d written in print – with my name alongside them. Then it was doing certain ‘journalisty’ things – covering stories in a warzone, covering a court case at the Old Bailey, interviewing royalty or Prime Ministers. Fast forward a few years and the dream shifted – writing features on food and being paid to do it, being taken to exciting places to try new things as a ‘food writer’ rather than a news reporter.

Writing for Delicious Magazine.

Ask any freelancers about their dream publication and they’ll have one. Some may not be able to explain why they’re so desperate to see their words in that particular newspaper or magazine. Some can. For me it’s about nostalgia. I remember leafing through Delicious when I was younger and drooling over recipes. Cutting them out and carefully arranging them in plastic sleeves in a lever-arch file for future use. Cooking from some of them and dreaming to cook from others.

Back then I’m not even sure I actually read the features in them, but the magazine was a source of comfort. It’s something I’ll pick up when grabbing reading material for flights or long journeys, or to take on holiday and leaf through on a lounger while drinking too many cocktails and eating unnecessary snacks (is there any such thing?).

Since I went freelance and realised that yes, I could persuade people who I wasn’t directly employed by to publish my work, I have wanted to write for Delicious. I’ve pitched ideas, they haven’t been right. I kept trying. You see, with freelancing there are myriad reasons why a publication might say no (to find out more about this you’d do far worse than visiting Hazel and Heidi at Muse Flash, they are the dons of pitching and taught me a lot of what I’ve learned over the last four years). But those reasons aren’t necessarily that your idea isn’t any good – it just might not be right for that publication, that particular time, that issue or that editor.

So you keep trying. And one day, when you’ve honed what your idea is, whether it’s right for that publication, and picked the right time to send it, it happens. Four years after I turned freelance, amidst a global pandemic that created some pretty unprecedented conditions for all of us, freelance journalists included, I saw my name in print in Delicious magazine, talking about how coronavirus had meant I had finally learned to cook.

I’m sharing this to remind us all that yes, dreams and aspirations do happen, sometimes at the most unexpected of times. Maybe it’s trite and overly-positive, but we need some of that now more than ever. So whether you’re an old hat, a new starter, or just looking for a bit of a pick-me-up, don’t give up. It will happen, and probably when you least expect it.