What will you be when you grow up? (On writing and tweeting and losing track)

When you’re a parent, it’s inevitable that your children will ask you a lot of questions.

“How far away is the moon?” and “Are we there yet?” and “Why does that lady look funny?” are among a few.

One of the questions every child will inevitably ask their mother or father is “What did you want to be when you were little?”

My youngest son has been prodding me about this recently because his current passion is pondering his own career choices.

For me, the answer is easy, as I had very definite ideas and passions. But I’m wondering what happened.

Prakky, wannbe writer and cyclist of the 70s
Prakky, wannbe writer and cyclist of the 70s

You see, I wanted to be a writer.

A novelist to be precise.

As you would be aware, dear reader, I am not a writer. Not of fiction or creative writing, anyway.

I kid myself that I do write because I blog frequently. And aren’t tweets carefully crafted sentences? I make a living from writing social media plans and social media content, do I not?

But what a long way I have come from my primary school years when I bashed away at a little red typewriter that my father bought me. I was convinced I was going to be an author, but in the meantime I used to churn out all types of content.

In year 7 I wrote a novel serialisation that our teacher used to read aloud to the class for 20 minutes every day; it was somewhat of a soap opera which revolved around the men and women of Tullarmarine  Airport. Students used to plead to him not to stop reading it and I felt the pressure of any LA scriptwriter as they congregated around me asking what would happen next.

I wrote the year 7 school play and the school community was invited to come along one evening to watch. The school was required to contribute a news column to the local paper, so I wrote that too.

One of my particularly gauche products was a novel about children fleeing Nazis to the live in a non-descript European forest during World War II. My year 7 teacher encouraged me to send a bound draft to the esteemed South Australian novelist, the late Colin Thiele. Dear Mr Thiele – also a teacher – sent me some very kind feedback (the only kind you can supply to a young writer who has churned out several thousand words) and gently encouraged me to focus on subjects closer to home that I might have more familiarity with. Ahem.

In high school I began to stray toward non-fiction writing.

I distinctly remember being in a group of ‘advanced English’ students sitting around a library table with our enthused teacher. She told us to envisage a man walking a path through some woods, until he came to a fork in the road. She asked us what the tale imparted to us. I said “It’s a man walking in the woods and he comes to a fork in the road”. She told me I should be a journalist.

Prakky, wannabe writer, 90s soft rock era
Prakky, wannabe writer, 90s soft rock era

I had a taste of earning money through writing when my piece about being a bookworm was published in Dolly magazine for which I received a $100 cheque – the most money I had ever held in my hands. I began to help write a football column for the local paper. And yes, I began pondering journalism. My two high school work experience stints were in the local newspaper (where I’d later work) and in the local TV station (where I had the chance to tail a spunky young blond cameraman for a week).

I ended up gaining a BA in Journalism but didn’t really take to the craft. During my university studies I used to intersperse my reading of media textbooks with readings of Ibsen and Miller plays and dense Dostoyevsky novels. Shorty after graduating, I had a sorrowful short story published in the literary journal Meanjin. It was crafted with feedback from novelist Gerald Murnane, which I was hugely excited about. Today I cringe about the story because it’s an obvious amalgam of myself and my best friend who committed suicide when we were 16. But that’s the kind of things writers do, hey?

Now I’m looking back on what’s essentially a 20 year career in corporate communications. Writing has been a central part of every role and while it has been creative in one way or another (I did work in politics and public relations, after all) I do wonder when I lost the urge to tap out fiction. Was it when the teacher pointed out that I couldn’t see the metaphor of the man at the fork in the road?

Recently I attended a writing function and bumped into an acquaintance who I had known through the SA Writers’ Centre (I’ve recently re-joined the centre as a board member after a decade’s absence).

She asked me: “Are you still writing?” and I was stunned. It didn’t occur to me that anyone saw me as a writer anymore, in fact it didn’t occur to me that anyone had ever thought of me as someone who writes.  Today I’m known for being a prolific tweeter and this blog itself has had a single-minded focus on sharing social media tips; after all that’s become my career. But having joined the Writers’ Centre again and having the chance to redress the old question of “what did you want to be when you were little?” I am feeling a tingle of motivation in my typing fingers again.

It’s not too late. As my friend @bludgingwriter reminds us, Elizabeth Jolley was 53 when her first book was published.

What did you want to be when you were young?

155 Comments Add yours

  1. Gary Lum says:

    I wanted to be a doctor like my Dad (GP) and uncle (urologist). I got there and now I’m combining it with bureaucracy.

    1. Prakky says:

      Well done Gary! You not only got there, you went beyond. Now I need to know what sort of bicycle you rode. 😉

      1. Gary Lum says:

        I wish I had a picture of me and my first bike. It was a lime green three speed dragster. That quickly got converted into a BMX bike. 🙂

  2. Gary Lum says:

    The one novel I remember reading in primary school was February Dragon by Colin Thiele.

    1. Prakky says:

      I remember Colin Thiele’s Sun on the Stubble. And I watched Storm Boy at the drive-in and cried my eyes out.

  3. I did have “I failed miserably” as my first sentence …. but then I stopped and thought about it. I wanted to be a teacher or librarian when I was a kid – and achieved neither.

    But then I stopped and thought about it – heaven’s knows I shuffle enough books at home to be a librarian – and anyone who has a child knows you teach them – all you can – and without any qualifications!!

    Maybe at 48 I still haven’t discovered what I want to do when I grow up?

    1. Prakky says:

      Cathie: the thought that perhaps you haven’t even discovered what you want to do when you grow up is exciting! Plus, anyone who’s read your Twitter bio or followed your photography or Redbubble work knows that you’re pretty prolific.

  4. Jen says:

    I also wanted to be a writer when a child and used to churn out content that I kept to myself either using my typewriter or a paper journal and pen. I studied Professional Writing at uni and that’s pretty much what I’m doing now. Not quite the famous author I may have envisaged at school.

    Now my son has started his own blog and he’s told me and one or two others that he wants to be an author.

    So you gonna write some fiction Michelle?

    Here’s one of my first bikes – just incase you were wondering http://semanticallydriven.com/2009/02/biking.html

    1. Prakky says:

      I’d love to write some fiction Jen, the trick is finding some mind space for it. I’m wary of embarking on too much, especially as I’m halfway through this first year of my own business. But I’d really like to. 🙂

  5. Lee Hopkins says:

    Bizarrely, I used to play at being a radio dj and as a photographer. I got to live the dj experience when working in the RAAF based at Butterworth in Malaysia, spending my spare hours playing dj in the base radio station. I’m now having a bit of small success as a photographer.

    The only other aspiration was novelist, the desire for which came in my 30s. I bought a swag of books on how to write a novel, some expensive software, and two half-starts later realize I don’t have the patience and persistence for the game. Like you, I leave it to blogging and writing long, turgid industry reports on social media as my creative literary output.

    1. Prakky says:

      You’ve taken a lot of creative paths, Lee. I did also find creative writing somewhat lonely: with the outputs being extremely long term, there’s little scope for feedback and interaction which I crave, sadly. Perhaps that’s why so many writers produce works of all kinds, and lengths?

  6. Am am VERY excited to know this. I’m dragging you on this writing journey with me! We’ll have SO much fun!

    1. Prakky says:

      Um.Okay. Be gentle.

  7. Maggie says:

    I too wanted to be a writer, but a sudden realisation has hit me reading your blog, Michelle. I wasn’t in love with conveying the story, I was in love with experiencing the magnificent feelings the story allowed me experience. That’s probably why I’ve been a part time actor for the past 20-odd years! And now it has lead to my discovery that I love helping others feel totally awesome about themselves, further study and soon launching my new company to deliver life coaching, training and NLP. I’m 51 and a quarter and I’ve worked out what I want to be when I grow up! 🙂

    1. Prakky says:

      That’s a great short story in itself, Maggie! Thanks for sharing. It’s exciting to hear about your new company and I’ll keep an eye out for it!

  8. As a small boy I wanted to become an inventor – I built robots mostly. In 1982 I bought my first computer and began teaching myself how to program. It was then that I think I decided to work with computers as a profession. Then came the teenage years and I thought I wanted to be a rock star. I picked up the guitar, started a band, and moved to Adelaide. I did that for ten years before I discovered the Internet in 1995 and bought my second computer after a break of over a decade. I’m still working with computers and now run my own web design business here in Adelaide.

    I often look back and wonder what happened around age 15, why my direction changed during the most important part of my schooling. Was it puberty, was it the friends I hung around in high school, or something else? I had no idea what I really wanted to do for those important high school years. At one brief point there I was even going to join the army…just because I enjoyed camping! I think knowing what jobs are out there, what your options are is very important so that a choice can be made rather than just falling into a profession, which is what ends up happening to most of us.

    My first bike was a three speed green dragster with a banana seat and sissy bar just like yours Prakky. I think it was a Malvern Star.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks for your comments Vintuitive. You pose an interesting question: what happens to change our direction; what outside influencers have such a huge impact on our lives? When young, I do think you can be highly influenced by a few words from your peers or even disapproval from adults. Knowing what jobs exist is also key – and of course, some jobs for this generation haven’t even been “invented” yet.

      Love seeing readers comment about their own bikes – go, the dragster!

  9. I am 52 this year and still don’t know what I want to be. I have never known what I wanted to be and never had strong aspirations for a certain career..
    I now have three children (ages 16-25) and I have never pressed them on what they want to be ‘when they grow up’. The environment in which they have grown up is radically different to the one I grew up in. No longer are careers forever, so why ask when their employment future is so unknown.
    For my children I want them to be strong socially, be good communicators, be empathetic and listen and learn from others. If they do that, they will be able to learn and adapt throughout their lives. (This comes from the book of ‘Lessons I learnt in my 40s!)
    The most recent lesson I have learnt – and will impart to them – is to develop their own ‘brand’. This is critical in the connected world in which we now live.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks for your comment and for reading this post, Robert. You make a very good point about developing your own ‘brand’. This is something perhaps we’ve been doing for years in many ways, with the way we dress, the clubs we join, the bumper stickers we put on our cars! But the online world has made this an entirely larger proposition and there are many more opportunities to build your personal brand online and have a ‘following’ that used to be reserved for celebrities, politicians and industry leaders. I’ve even reserved my childrens’ names on major internet sites and I’m sure I’m not the only parent who’s done that.

  10. Koe says:

    You know, what you choose what you wanna be when you grow up, it doesn’t really matter, and the kind of job you become then, it doesn’t really matter too. What matters is either you regret it or not. What matters is either you still striving for another job or not.

    What matters is, either you have given out your passion or not.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks for your comment Stellakoe: you’re right of course. I’m happy because I’ve had a lot of passions, and my current role in social media is one of them. Recent occurrences brought my old writing aspirations back to me though, which I’ve found fascinating.

  11. Like many aspirers, I tend to be inhibited by the skill and sparkle of others who came before me… How can I paint, when Laurence Alma-Tadama does it so much better? How can I compose music when Bach/Mozart/Leonard Cohen did it so beautifully. Now, I KNOW that this is foolish. I KNOW that if those quoted artists had thought that way we would have been deprived of their talent; I know that nobody should be impeded by predecessors…
    But I look at the writers I admire – Mary Renault, Nevil Shute, John Wyndham, Patrick O’Brian; writers that leave me breathless with admiration and awe, and I think… “who am I to follow in their path?”
    Yes, yes, I know… and I do try, I do keep writing, but I am overwhelmed sometimes by the talents of those and other writers. Perhaps I should not read? But how does one appreciate art without experiencing great art? It is hard to maintain one’s bravery, courage and confidence. I guess I will just keep on keeping on.
    Thank you for your post and congatulations on being freshly pressed.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks Warriorboxmaker, I am thrilled to be Freshly Pressed and I do see it as a big ‘tick of approval’ for sharing more of myself than I usually do – and also paying more attention to my writing of a post than I usually do!

      It would be easy to look at the work of great writers and be afraid to try: in that case, perhaps we should pick up some ‘shocking reads’ and then be inspired because Surely We Can Do Better. 😉

      1. True…. that counts pretty much for the whole of Mills and Boon!… but I have to acknowledge their author’s Chutzpah forat least getting published… and reaching a market from which there is a certain demand… Yay them. 🙂

  12. Gary Dale Cearley says:

    You’re blogging? Then you should write!

    1. Prakky says:

      That’s good enough for me, Gary!

  13. Ava Avaniko says:

    I always wanted to be a scientist when I was young and dreamed of taking Biology classes in college, earn my degree in Biology and become a famous scientist (not exactly what field in science as long I’m a scientist), but then when I came to college my first year, it didn’t happen what I was always expecting it to be so I finally decided that I would focus my studies in English (my 2nd choice) this school year and maybe hopefully become a writer (IF) or any job that deals with English (I was thinking of being a librarian or journalist which I used to work and I liked it) but I’m not expecting too much of it (I am but not as I was before). Ever since I decided to take English, I felt much better with it and finally knew what I wanted to do (kinda..) 😀

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks for sharing, Ava. So what are you doing now – studying?

      1. Ava Avaniko says:

        Well, right now I have already changed my major to English and still thinking about Writing as my minor.

  14. Nurse Anj says:

    When I was a kid, I wanted to be a lot of things..a teacher, a mother, a writer to name a few. I became a nurse eventually. The best thing about my profession? I get to be a teacher to my patients who know little about health care, I get to be a surrogate mother to children who are disease inflicted, and I get to be a writer who blogs on the real essence of nursing.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks Nurse Anj: sounds like you’ve got everything covered! I’ve had a few nurses in my family and it’s a profession I admire.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I am 26 years old, and I have always been at a loss with this question-” What are your goals, yoru aims and where do you see yourself blah blah years from now?” err, i really dont know where I will be five years down the line. Or two , or one! I often feel dejected that I have not found something that I am so passionate about that it flows spontaneously . However, I also realized that passion burns out, no matter how fierce . Hard work and sincerity is what gets you going in the end for any job, of any kind.
    I admire people who knew hwat they wanted to do ever since they were 7 . I am not sure of what I want to do. I feel like I am too old now , and cannot really change career direction or o have teh motivation to start somethign new. So if any of you out there have done something like that for real, do tell me and usher in some inspiration!

    1. Prakky says:

      Hi Anon! You’re 26? That’s so young. I have friends – in their 40s like me or their late 30s – who have changed professions many times, who have returned to study many times, and who have “started again”. It’s never too late and perhaps especially because of what you’ve said above: “I really don’t know where I will be five years down the line”. We can’t know what we’ll enjoy, cope with, or tire of. We can change direction: don’t feel like you’re locked in. 🙂

  16. I wanted to be a foreign correspondent; my blog now has thousands of readers worldwide reading my stuff about life in the U.S., so that’s as close as I got to that specific job. I wanted to be a journalist and author, and that’s what I do today.

    1. Prakky says:

      You’ve done well Caitlin! Thanks for reading my post, I look forward to checking in on yours.

  17. I always wanted to manage a restaurant – not there just yet, but having fun anyway.

  18. crazyinpink says:

    This really struck a chord with me. I was that kid in primary school too. ‘The writer’. My first ever published piece was on a local war hero which was published on the front page of our local newspaper when I was 7. Since then, I wanted to be a journalist.
    In my teenage years I started to think about other kinds of writing, I was so inspired by my English teacher that I went off to university thinking about teaching as a future career. The writing courses I took at uni completely changed my mind. Like you, I was more drawn to non-fiction. I think I know now what I want to be when I grow up…a historian. I took history as a way to back up my writing because I love the stories history has to tell. And they’re all true! I’m about to start a PhD in History and I wonder if I misinterpreted what my 7 year old self saw in that first article. it wasn’t so much the writing but the topic that I should have heeded.

    1. Prakky says:

      That’s a great story, and I think you may be write. There could be something in the activities that we undertake, whereby we identify ‘the wrong thing’ that we’re enjoying, when it’s actually something else. [I’m not being very coherent here, but I hope you know what I mean].
      I do love reading about your interest in history, as my eldest son is a history buff, and I’m so looking forward to watching him enjoy History subjects he’s enrolled in next year. I think he’ll thrive, following a subject that comes as a natural passion to him. Perhaps he’ll pursue it further in some way.
      Good luck with your PhD.

  19. You should totally get back into writing! Writing is in our blood, and it seems you have the talent for it. Just let an idea for a story come to you, and when it does, don’t hesitate to sit down in front of a computer and start typing the story out. I garauntee you won’t regret it.

    1. Prakky says:

      Aw, thanks Rami, that sounds like good advice. I’ll let you know how I go!

      1. i look forward to hearing about it.

  20. When I was small( not like really small but 14 or something) I wanted to be a pilot. Somehow things didn’t work out because my father didn’t approve of the idea. I thought I have lost my passion completely. I started writing when I was10 or 11. It started with poetry, moved on to short stories and as I grew up I became more philosophical. I used to write only when I was sad or in an introspective state of mind. But, after losing my passion for flying, I always knew that I was meant to write because that probably was my first dream in life. I am still not so sure about my future. Currently am working in an MNC as a Programmer Analyst, and am convinced that this is not what I want to do forever. I want to write and that is what I really care about. I hope to find the right inspiration and immerse myself in WRITING!

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Nikita. You might need to read Rami’s comment too! Both of us need to sit in front of a keyboard and just start writing …

      1. True…We need the first step 🙂

  21. tigress.lisane says:

    Interesting take on this. Yes, it’s never too late to pick up the pen again

    1. Prakky says:

      You’re right:it’s not too late, as many others here have reminded me! Thanks for reading this.

  22. random8042 says:

    I still am young(ish), but not as young as the girl in the picture. I want to be a codebreaker at MI6/GCHQ.

  23. ohmyboy says:

    I think I wanted to be a teacher when I was a little girl ( I bet 8 out of 10 girls at my age have the same ambition as me). Not only that, I wanted to be many others as well. Throughout my life, I change my ambition without announcing it aloud but just inside me and I can never make up my mind. And now I’m actually undergoing training to be a teacher. It feels really weird.

    1. Prakky says:

      Good luck with your teaching training.
      I did flirt with the idea of teaching too. It’s a marvellous profession, but also can be so diversified depending on what and who you teach.

  24. Miriam Joy says:

    When I was very little, I wanted to be an angel. This is especially worrying when you consider the fact that I believed people became angels when they died. I was a five-year-old saying that when I grew up I wanted to die. *ahem*

    Later, I said I wanted to be an author and an actress, and then an author and a musician, and then an author and a dance teacher, and now … now I want to be an author and possibly a dance teacher if I can train without my body dying on me. I write a lot, and I know that if I was determined enough it’s something I could pull off, but I’m just going to wait and see where things take me because who knows, I might change my mind. Ten years and I haven’t yet, but you never know.

    1. Prakky says:

      So you’re still training as a dancer, Miriam? Sounds exciting.

      It seems we all change our mind about what we want to do: not a bad thing, really. Makes things more interesting.

      1. Miriam Joy says:

        Currently I am still in school, taking ballet classes as an extra curricular activity. The decision I’ll have to make is whether to audition to study it full-time or whether to focus on something academic at university.

  25. drex01 says:

    I wanted to build a jet pack.

    1. Prakky says:

      I’m sure it’s not too late for that. We’re all waiting for jet packs!

  26. murfomurf says:

    Fantastic getting on Freshly Pressed! I’d just like a job doing something I really like where people liked what I did. Now 60, I have abandoned all career paths & just hope something will come up as I’m trying to finish that Masters degree. When I was about 5 or 6 I decided I would be a doctor or an astronaut, so when I left school I went straight into Medicine & I liked it- but it didn’t like me as my health wasn’t good enough to keep it up. I’ve had 3 careers I guess- uni psychology lecturer, health researcher & computer network manager. Loved the work in the first 2, hated the 3rd! Now I’m perfectly suited to being a public health researcher but have been told I’ll never get a job in it. I’m stumped. Still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. But I did win a heap of awards for writing when I was a kid… no way Jose!

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks Kay! Your journey is quite interesting.
      I’m sure you cherished the writing awards when you received them – they are so encouraging, aren’t they? Being Freshly Pressed is delightful. I’m embarrassed to admit I hadn’t checked into FP before. Now I’m part of it I will definitely use it to find new blogs to read and follow.

  27. Tara says:

    I knew I wanted to be a writer at the age of 5 when I wrote a six page story for class. I still remember what it was about. Now I am one semester off finishing a journalism and international studies degree but all I really want to do right now is travel.

  28. Tara says:

    I knew I wanted to be a writer at the age of 5 when I wrote a six-page story for class. I still remember what it was about. Now I am in my final semester of a journalism and international studies degree. Though all I want to do right now is travel…

  29. I wanted to be a writer. But now I find myself in my last year of med school. Which I also write about. Life’s a gas.

    1. Prakky says:

      You write about your medschool experience? Or as part of assignment requirements? #interested

      1. I write about my medical school experiences – funny and sad and thought provoking – on my humble little blog, Mullberry Whine. It’s good fun, as is the whole med ed thing… 🙂

      2. Prakky says:

        Cheers! I’ll check it out soon.

  30. catsworld1 says:

    Based on the title alone “What will you be when you grow up?” my answer would be “I don’t know yet”. I’m only 68 years old, so I suppose I should decide soon whether I wish to pursue my writing or my photography. When I was (chronologically) much younger, I wanted to be a bank clerk like my mother. Never happened. I worked in motor transportation and found I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1. Prakky says:

      I actually am fascinated by the concept of “growing up” too. I do believe it doesn’t actually happen and I might have to work on explaining that in a future blog. Maturity comes at different ages to different people: and sometimes doesn’t come at all! It’s a funny phrase .. but I guess it works for this piece. 🙂

      1. catsworld1 says:

        I covered the concept of growing up in my posting “If it’s optional, I’ll pass on it” of August 7. The title was based upon a bumper sticker that read “growing old is mandatory, growing up in optional”. And that’s a view I like – a lot. “)

  31. I never wanted to be a writer, for sure. My mother said I was a great teacher schooling my siblings in tying their shoes, etc. and I did become a teacher, than moved into sales/training. The call to write came four years ago in retirement and what a blessing, I was freshly pressed myself last week. Congratulations and have fun in the sun. claudiajustsaying

    1. Prakky says:

      You were freshly pressed last week? That’s great: how did you feel? I thought it was such a sweet surprise.
      Writing in retirement sounds like bliss.

  32. girlandthoughts says:

    I always stumble on these sorts of questions. I’m 20 and I’ve never known what I’ve wanted to be. I still don’t! Maybe I’ll work it out someday? Great post by the way.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks for reading!
      I think a lot of us are pushed in directions by our teachers or elders, as I was somewhat, because deciding ‘what you want to do’ is very difficult indeed. Good luck!

  33. Dan says:

    I was dead set on being an international spy. I hid in trees, made “spy credentials” and wrote reports. In retrospect, I almost definitely would have too much of a paper trail; for me, it was all about documentation. I loved to write, and although I told myself it was spy stuff, it was really just creative writing. I have maintained the tradition- of creative writing, not spying- off and on to the present day, but have yet to make a nickel doing so.

    Anyone who blogs has something to say, to write. The fact that you are here at all says a lot about your creative impulse: you haven’t obscured it, simple channeled it. Most of us find ways of doing the same thing, whatever our passion. It’s a psychological must.

    All the best to you as you move forward in your chosen path. Don’t be afraid to dabble, if only for the personal satisfaction. But maybe you get all you need out of what you do now- and there’s nothing wrong with that, either.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks Dan, your line about your ‘paper trail’ made me laugh. Thanks for your best wishes; everyone here has been so kind and supportive, it’s been a fantastic experience. I don’t usually write posts of this nature and I’m grateful I did because it’s giving me even more impetus to ‘get creative’ again.

  34. innamazing says:

    When I was little I remember all the girls in my class wanted to be vets. I never considered that an option for me. I always wanted to be a journalist or writer. My favorite hobby when I was little (7-10ish) was writing adventure stories, making them into little books, and even illustrating them myself. I miss that. Swing by my blog if you wish, love.

    1. Prakky says:

      Funny how some classes have group ambitions like that! In high school a lot of my peers wanted to be nurses and they had work experience at hospitals. A few of them did realise that goal, while my closer friends didn’t pursue nursing and are doing other very worthwhile things.

  35. From all that you have done, I would definitely describe you as a writer! You have so many examples of how you write for a purpose in your every day life.
    When I was young, I wanted to be a teacher like both of my parents were. When it came to my time at Universtiy, however, when most people really focus on their future, I sort of ignored mine! It took me a couple of years to do so, but I eventually returned to my childhood desire to be a teacher and that is what I am today!

    1. Prakky says:

      Thank you, that’s very kind. Congrats on being a teacher. x

  36. “I kid myself that I do write because I blog frequently. And aren’t tweets carefully crafted sentences?”


    1. Prakky says:

      Hehe, cheers Emma!

  37. I write! I’ve always needed to write. I felt the need to write as soon as I learned that those little black squiggles on paper made words. I’ve been hooked on words ever since. I don’t even care a whole lot if what I write is ever read, it would be fantastic but I can live with it not ever being published or read. What I can’t live without, is writing. I have to write. It’s more important to me than eating or breathing. It is what I am. I am a writer. I started out like all writers, imitating writers and books that I loved. When I was 14 I discovered poetry and wrote that as an emotional release for all my problems. Now I write children’s stories. I am 58 and still trying to get my first book published. But I have given up on that as a priority. It would be nice, great even, but it isn’t the reason I write. I write because I have to.

    1. Prakky says:

      That’s what I hear from a lot of writers: they write because they have to. With that sort of motivation, I’m sure you relish every writing moment. I think that’s another reason I second-guessed myself about writing: that I didn’t feel a constant impetus to do so. But perhaps not all writers do … like any field, there will be different approaches, failures and successes.

  38. Katherine says:

    Every time I’m asked, I find myself giving another answer regarding what I want to be “when I grow up”. Its discouraging, because I am already growing up, and it feels like time goes too fast…

    1. Prakky says:

      It’s nice to have lots of ideas Katherine! Perhaps better than having no answer to the question. 🙂

  39. I will be me .. jumping for joy!

  40. hayleens says:

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! It is great to see Adelaide up there! I always wanted to be a writer and am working towards it still. I think I will always kid myself that I am a writer, even if I end up back in banking. 🙂 Excellent post.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks so much! Keep working towards your writing goal and best of luck – hope you enjoy it along the way.
      I can’t help asking: Are you a member of the SA Writers’ Centre?

      1. hayleens says:


        No, actually I’m not. I live in London so I am never too sure where I should be a member these days. I move around so much.

        Do you think it is worthwhile becoming a member from over here?

      2. Prakky says:

        Probably not! Sorry, from your comment I thought you might be in Adelaide. 🙂

  41. Jennifer Lilley says:

    Wow, what a fun read! Thanks so much for sharing your story.

    Your post gave me flashbacks of me sitting in tub in the third grade “writing” a Noxema commercial, a USA Weekend letter to the editor being published (huge thrill for me) and later, working with the college student newspaper. I had a column, “A Thought in Passing” and was convinced that its slice-of-life observations would make me the next Erma Bombeck. I mean, I was sure of it. Ha.

    Fast forward to public relations careers and copywriter positions at ad agencies. . . great because it was still writing, yet not so great because my own style got lost in the whole “everyone’s a writer” thing. Before I knew it, the body copy was the work of my office mate, the janitor and the FedEx man. Somewhere in me was still the little girl dreaming up Noxema commercials . . . who more recently ended up as a dental assistant for two years. (Long story, economy, lay-offs, etc.) Sigh.

    So . . . your post was very inspirational. I’m so happy you’re feeling the motivation in your typing fingers again and wish you the best. You’ve reinforced the importance of writing and staying true to your passion. No matter what we do or where life takes us, we’re writers first and foremost. Here’s to all of us!

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your story Jennifer, and for your kind words! I used to dream of having a column too – ala Helen Fielding and her Bridget Jones’s Diary. How much fun would that have been?

      I guess that’s another thing that drew me toward blogging – the whole self-publishing thing is very empowering. And while my blog is focused on my social media consulting, the whole experience of this particular blog post will encourage me to open up a little more and be more creative in what I share!

  42. I actually played teacher with my younger brothers growing up. They weren’t in school yet and I was making them take times tables tests! I wanted to be a lot of other things, but I guess teaching was really in my nature, even at 6!

    Great post and congrats on FP!

  43. Xenogirl says:

    Oh gosh… as someone who has worked as a professional writer and teaches tech writing, I totally understand! I have spent this summer rediscovering the creative writer within me. My new blog is a result of that process and I have been writing on some similar topics. Congratulations on your freshly pressed status! I was on that podium last week and it is a such a wonderful, encouraging experience. Enjoy every moment! I look forward to following your blog.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thank you! And congrats on your Freshly Pressed, too. It’s such a lovely feeling, isn’t it?
      It’s inspiring me to work on another post about the blogging community itself and how I fear I’ve been neglecting it! Stay tuned. x

      1. Xenogirl says:

        I am pretty pathetic at the whole social media/marketing end of writing. Your blog will be very helpful for me. Thanks again.

  44. I have written non-fiction since I was seven…I now blog as numerous transcripts were shot down and since I am not a celebrity, my chances are zip to zip. Please drop by my blog/world and congrats on being FP.

  45. B says:

    I’m 30 and I think I am still figuring this out. Maybe I am a late bloomer or something and I know the clock is sorta ticking. I just haven’t found what I feel good at. I hope to some extent that I can figure that out soon enough.

    1. Prakky says:

      Never too late, B. 🙂

      1. B says:

        Thanks, I know… it’s just a matter of squaring everything away.

  46. potterfan97 says:

    I have always wanted to be an author myself! Writing is my passion, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Creative writing and fiction are my specialties, though I do enjoy reading a good non-fiction book now and again. I also plan on being a high school English teacher, so that I can bring my love of Language Arts not only into my free time but also into my work. Everyone in their childhood comes to the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” The answer can be found when you really get to know yourself. And I mean, REALLY. Only when I dug deep into my heart and asked myself what my passions were and what I love -and always have loved- doing, did I find the answer to my career dilemma. It is never too late to dig deep into yourself and follow your dreams! My motto is that it’s better late than never. If you love writing and you ever find yourself regretting not pursuing it, don’t question yourself. Just listen. Do what YOU tells you to do! Wishing you the best of luck, Natalie.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment! It sounds like you’ll be a fantastic English teacher: here’s to inspiring future generations and helping them to become passionate and enthusiastic about the written word.
      Best of luck to you, too!

  47. Wow, I found this incredibly moving, and like your classmates waiting for the next episode I’d love to know what happens next – especially if that’s that you begin writing creatively again. I wanted to be a street artist who lived in Paris and wore a beret. But writing came next, and much more strongly. As I said to a friend and artist who wailed that it was too late to make anything of her painting, ‘You’re still here aren’t you?!’

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks, that’s such a kind comment.
      I love how your dream was very specific, with you wanting to wear a beret. 😉
      I think our concept of careers often colours whether we’re interested in it or not – the concept of the writer as a ‘free agent’ sitting at a typewriter overlooking crashing waves and not having to be anywhere 9-5 is popular but probably not accurate!
      And you’re right: as long as we’re still here, there’s hope.

  48. D.C. Fischer says:

    I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field when I grow up. I’ve seen decent and great people die from cancers and other diseases. Thinking that I could make a difference, I became interested with medical subjects.

    However, I failed to get any scholarships to get in a medical school. I ended up studying engineering in a local university.

    Then I started to write for assignments and my language lecturers asked if I was interested in writing. They said I was not close to being a good writer but I had the potential. Since then I find myself extremely passionate in writing to express myself because that is the only way we could share without judgments or criticism from others.

    I see that you’re an experienced and good writer, being able to be listed in Freshly Pressed. My friends and family encouraged me to set up a blog to reach the public with my articles and I just started my wordpress today. Hoping to progress as I read more great blogs like yours.

    1. Prakky says:

      Well, your friends and family have done well to encourage you to blog. I’ll take a look. If you’re passionate about your writing, I do hope you’re enjoying the process!

  49. Russell Petcoff says:

    I wanted to be a writer, as well. In the same boat, studied journalism and now working at a strategic communications company. I also struggled with metaphors. Once took a literature class on Ernest Hemingway. We had to read a short story about Hemingway going on a fishing and camping trip after coming home from World War I. The professor tried to show how elements of the story foreshadowed to Hemingway’s post-war emotional and physical struggles. I said, “Maybe he had a good fishing trip and wanted to write about it. I struggle for weeks on end on what to write about for my blog. Inspiration comes and goes.

    1. Prakky says:

      Haha, Russell, thanks for that comment! I used to read Hemingway in my university years and loved the simplicity of his style but didn’t push myself to study his lifestory and find correlations. I just enjoyed the reading.
      And now you work in strat comms? Cheers!

  50. aparnauteur says:

    I wanted to be a fashion designer, ended up as a doctoral student in the health sciences, and, now write mainly coz it gives me a lot of pleasure. I don’t know where this takes me…. maybe fashion blogging!
    Nice write-up. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

    1. Prakky says:

      Writing for pleasure is perhaps the best motivation to write. And who knows what will come of that? You may end up with volumes that one day you want published. It’s especially interesting in this era of e-publishing now!

  51. Claire says:

    Thank you for this post. It means a lot to me, considering I’ve put off my writing dreams for over a decade. Earlier this year I decided to get going because I can’t bear to *not* be a writer any longer.

    1. Prakky says:

      You’ve decided to get going? That’s brilliant! Keep it up, it sounds like it was meant to be.

  52. I admire your road to as a writer, I wish I had taken more chances to do that. I tended to be shy in sharing my writing or my voice. But i love to write fiction and non fiction. I’m working to get out of that shy rut. That SA centre sounds cool. I didn’t know they had that. I am not from Australia but I’m sure that have similar groups in the USA.

    1. Prakky says:

      Yes, the SA Writers’ Centre is sensational. It has a lot of workshops and guidance for writers: a fantastic idea.

  53. MJ Conner says:

    Older. I wanted to be older when I was young, and now I want to be young. It looks like I’m doomed for a life of disappointment at this rate… Then again, I also wanted to be a dancer, an actress, miserably famous somehow, a professional tennis player, and then I wanted to be a marine biologist. I’m none of those things, but I’m totally happy with what I did end up being.

    1. Prakky says:

      Glad to hear that you’re happy with what you ended up with – funny line about wanting to be ‘older’. I guess, as kids, what we really want is to be independent and in charge of our own decisions.

  54. madhaus7 says:

    Such a fun blog post! I grew up similarly hacking away at an old typewriter when I was probably 7 years old, asking my mother to help me spell every other word. And now, I’m still aspiring to be a screenwriter while maintaining a blog, writing short stories and poetry and anything else that requires words strung together elaborately. I’m happy to hear writing has always been a part of your life but I’m hoping you do take this motivation you’re feeling and get back into story telling! It sounds like you’ve always had a knack for it. Good luck!

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks for reading! I’d love to have kept that typewriter, but it’s long gone. I even had a typists’ instructional book that I borrowed from an Aunty to help teach myself to touch type. It worked! (I was determined). But ouch, those old keyboards hurt.

  55. gwynnem says:

    I love your post! And your photo on the bike is very dear to me, as it reminds me of the good ol’ days when banana seat bikes were the norm. 🙂 Great writing.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks Gwynne, very kind! I cherish that old photo – wish I still had the bike!

  56. Kelly S. says:

    I wanted to be a teacher or a scientist. Now I am a clean energy marketer, which is kind of like teaching science to business people! (Although my undergrad thesis adviser does not agree…he keeps telling me what a shame it is I don’t use my science degree! Little does he know how often terms like “specific heat” come up in sales training 😉

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks for reading my post Kelly. Sounds like you’re on the right track! ps I have no idea what “specific heat” means.

  57. edgeledge says:

    I admire people who had some idea what they wanted to do early. After years of drifting, I still don’t really feel I have a clue about what I really want to do, though having a multitude of different jobs has given me some good experiences to fall back on and use.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and an insight into you.

  58. Very interesting post! I am soon to be 14, pondering my career choice still and hoping it will evolve into something either in photojournalism or creative writing! I hope you continue to write, and rediscover the beauty in writing itself! Cheers on being freshly pressed 🙂

  59. Emily says:

    Congrats on being FP, it’s a great post. I have to admit though that I’m in my 30’s and I’m still trying to figure out who I am and some days I think I’ll never figure it out!

    But, I have to bring up something that’s been bothering me. It seems in some places a person is defined by what their job is, writer, teacher, doctor, etc. While in other places the emphasis is on what that person’s interests are, yoga, reading, dog rescue.

    Personally, I don’t want my job to define me. I guess all I’m saying is that I am so much more than that part of me that brings in a paycheck.

    1. Prakky says:

      Agree Emily, that’s a good point. When meeting other people in particular, there’s often a focus on what “we do” for a living. I guess it’s as good an introductory conversation entry as any, however as you say, our career doesn’t necessarily define who we are. Thanks for reading, and your congrats: I’m excited about being Freshly Pressed!

  60. I wanted to be a fashion designer when I was very little – I loved dressing up. Then as a preteen I wanted to be a marine biologist. Part of me wishes I had pursued that. But now I’m pursuing writing and getting out of the 9-5, having more freedom and making my own schedule. And earning enough to take a cruise to Antarctica. And swim with dolphins (but not in Antarctica).

    1. Prakky says:

      Haha, glad you clarified your swimming with dolphins excursion, Maria! Enjoy, it sounds wonderfully exciting.

  61. My 4yo has a long list of things he wants to be when he grows up. Listening to him talk about them is so cute. But sometimes it’s so sad to think that someday he will have to realize that he can’t really do everything he’s talking about, that he has to pick, that he might not do any of it. Parenting has a way of putting life goals in perspective–in ways both happy and sad.

  62. Overwhelmed By Joy says:

    I still want to be an author, or so I claim. I haven’t submitted a single thing for consideration by a publisher. There is a serious disconnect going on in my head!

  63. According to my scrap-book (and my memories) I wanted to be Roy Rogers, but to my dismay, only Roy Rogers could be Roy Rogers, ride Trigger save women and men while playing guitar and singing.

    Because I was born into the age of the space-race, I also wanted to be an astronaut. Years later, I designed IC’s that are in space heading towards the edge of the solar system, so my ideas made it if my body did not.

    Following a serious physical setback, I’ve re-taken up playing guitar poorly, and posting the licks/solos and songs along with tablature to save young cow-pokes the trouble. So I’m now Roy in my own sort of way.

    Fun article, and congrats on being freshly pressed.

  64. elesjackson says:

    I am amazed at how many persons wanted to be a writer. I too wanted that. Still do actually. I feel like one blogger who stated that they are still not sure what they want to be. Although I am nearing 40 and am a mother to a kid. How is that possible? Ha! I don’t know. But I still want to be a writer. I have no idea the things I am to do to become one. Just started with this blogging thing and that’s taking a while to get off the ground. And I have nothing else in store to get me going. Maybe–maybe someday I’ll become that grown up I always wanted to be! 🙂
    As for the bike, I had a green bike similar to the one you show in the picture. But the absolute best was my Incredible Hulk Big Wheel!!!!!!

  65. Funny I should come across this right now! I always wanted to be a big shot actress and novelist as a kid. After graduating uni I moved overseas to explore for a few years, but my current contract is due for renewal soon and I’m feeling the urge to go home to my roots again. Which in turn has made me wonder about those childhood dreams – and if I’m too late (or too scared) to tackle them!

  66. Tarina says:

    Hiya, awesome writing there, interesting about the man and the fork in the road XD
    When I was little I wanted to be a teacher. Now I want to be a writer, artist, musician, and anything else creative. So, it does change – and since I haven’t really ‘grown up’ yet I still have heaps of time to make up my mind! 🙂
    That’s awesome you wrote a novel in year seven. You must have been really into it. I think it’s sad that teacher said you should be a journalist – I imagine that’s not what a novelist would really like to hear. Not what I’d like to hear anyway xD the thought of facts and libel and things freaks me out! So yeah, go for your writing! Keep trying until it takes you somewhere. Yeah. I’m blabbing on now. Go for it, well done. 🙂
    – Tarina

    1. Prakky says:

      Hi Tarina – nice of you to agree it was a ‘novel’ in year 7! It was probably more of a bound looooong story.
      I’m so happy this blog has found a lot of creative people like you.

  67. Hi Prakky. I so enjoyed reading this blog It resonated with me for several reasons because from the time I was very young I loved words and writing, and I remember how, in I suppose it was year 7 I was top of my class in English. I loved writing essays, and acting in school plays ( not ambitious enough to write them though!)This carried through high school, and funnily enough at our 25 year reunion, several of the girls asked me if I was still writing! I also found it strange that that was how she perceived me. For years, all I wrote was the occasional letter to a friend, but 9 years ago, at the age of 58 I signed up for a writers course, and throught that and the encouragement of family and friends I started writing The Great Novel of the 21st Century. I’m still at it, but I believe I am a writer, even though I have never published anything except at blog. As you say, it is never too late. You go girl!

  68. sfroi says:

    Well, this has me convinced. I have to finish my book. I started and it, and lately I’ve been putting it off and putting it off. It’s time I started again. Right as the next semester starts… oh joy…
    But thanks for the motivation.

  69. Anonymous says:

    why is this so dramatic

    1. Prakky says:

      Is that a question, Anon?

  70. I wonder what kind of writer would be your teacher told you if you had answered differently, e.g. “The man has to decide from several options.”

    Anyway, I am an aspiring writer myself. Yet, the aspiration didn’t come as a childhood dream. It came along as part of divine intervention to my destiny. Having no English literature background, nor advanced English, even worse, no formal or informal study on journalism, I landed on writing related job after my Engineering degree only resulted in 10 months of unemployment. hahaha… so, i’m constantly trying to improve my quality of writing, not to mention my English literacy, as English is not my mother tongue. But, I love English! and somehow, I turn to love writing, in English! (I’m worst in communications with my own mother tongue)

    I myself wonder why I don’t write fiction, nor have I attempted to write one. I see my friends write excellent fictions, and sometimes think if I should wish and start writing one too. Yet, I can’t seem to bring myself crafting things which aren’t real, though I do daydreams. Fyi, I’m a corporate writer too, just like you; but unlike you, I have only less than 5 years of experience and am still actively figuring out what I’m good at through my blog.

    Thank you for sharing your evolution as a writer 🙂

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks for reading this and for taking the time to comment. 🙂 Blogs are an excellent tool to help us figure things out, aren’t they? And at the same time, biuld an audience and practice our craft. Good luck with your writing, I’ll check into your blog.

  71. Great read, when I was a kid I wanted to be an artist…….now I’m a drummer

  72. Jessica says:

    Great article! It definitely got me thinking…as a child, I wanted to be some blend of ice skater/fairy princess/paleontologist. Needless to say, I haven’t managed to achieve that dream yet. :p

    But about nine months ago, I was talking to an old friend about life and careers and saying I felt like I hadn’t found my ‘thing’. She said “Don’t you want to be a writer?” like it was the most obvious thing in the world. I didn’t think so, but now all I’m doing is writing – I’m an editor and translator for a website, plus a freelance travel writer. Funny how things work out, isn’t it?

    Thanks for a thought-provoking read!

    1. Prakky says:

      Hi Jessica. The ice skater/fairy princess/paleontologist hybrid would’ve been fascinating! (Perhaps there’s a book in it?)

  73. texasprep says:

    I was inspired by your post, too! Love your blog.

    1. Prakky says:

      Thanks so much.

  74. TheGuyLeftBehind says:

    Liked and Re blogged! I find this one very interesting to read! Keep this blog coming! =)))
    Try visiting mine too! http://theguyleftbehind.wordpress.com/
    Thanks! More support! 🙂

  75. TheGuyLeftBehind says:

    Reblogged this on TheGuyLeftBehind and commented:
    Oh well, I still don’t have any but then right now I just want to enjoy and live my life to the fullest! 🙂 How ’bout you, what do you want to be?

  76. thewor1disee says:

    Great read, i guess thats just one of many questions our kids may ask us in the future 😉

  77. joiedevivre74 says:

    Reblogged this on This beautiful life.

  78. raina says:

    I wanted to be a doctor, and then studied law and then became a writer…so funny where life takes us eh? Thanks for this entry…

  79. I wanted to be a musician when I was younger, that or some kind of outdoor job, I just wanted to avoid sitting around, yet I ended up studying Graphic Design, and am now the Director of a clothing company, pretty far out from what I dreamed of as a child, but if I’m honest I’m really happy how it all turned out! It really is interesting how much we change as we age, and the different directions life takes us in.

    1. Prakky says:

      It is indeed interesting how things change, sometimes without a ‘plan’, and also work out so well. 🙂 Thanks for reading.

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