Anna Quindlen, for those of you who aren’t familiar with her, is a 20th century journalist, reporter, columnist and most recent to date, novelist and my writing idol.
She entered a journalism career nearly 20 years before I was born and in that time made a huge impact on the world of journalism and careers in this field for women. In short, she is an absolute babe!
Her column, Public and Private was amazing in the New York Times and her books are simply inspiring – she’s pretty much an inspiration for my career. Plus turns out we have a lot in common – we both lost our mothers at young ages, plus they both died way before their time in their forties. We’re both very opinionated and, in want for a better word, blunt at times and both very determined and tenacious ladies!
But a quote of her’s I’ve always loved is this:
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.“
It really does speak to me – I’m often seen running around like a headless chicken or blue-arsed fly (which ever idiom or phrase you prefer) trying to do my utmost best to please everyone, and certainly not in a martyr way, in a way to make myself feel better, because in my head if I was doing a lot for everyone, I was being a perfect daughter, sister or fiancée (even if wasn’t even that much help!) -and it took me months plus this quote to realise that the way I would be perfect was by working on just being myself.
Being myself meant being a tenacious, determined reporter, who makes time to write for pleasure, walk my dogs, see my friends and family as, to fit in another quote by Ms. Quindlen:
“You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are.“
She inspires me to gain new perspective on my life and my work – I don’t want to be the next Pulitzer prize winner, or the best journalist in the world, as truthfully that isn’t going to happen. However, I can be more organised, more inspiring, not scared to be controversial.
She also gives me confidence in my already owned skills – she wasn’t coy with interviewing, her skills we second to none, and mine are pretty good, if I must say so myself. She won an award for reporting and my editor refers to me as his ‘star reporter’ – so I’m definitely making a start!
I intend to be Cumbria’s answer to Anna Quindlen, by being myself – I already get recognised around town for my features and articles, so I’m certainly on my way to ‘Anna Quindlen’ status – but maybe not quite there, yet!