My Facebook friends may have noticed that the word aspire features in my job description. According to the dictionary to aspire to something is to seek to attain or accomplish a particular goal. The Fiona Cooney definition of this word ……..sit on your ass and wait for everything you’ve ever wanted to fall from the sky into your lap. I’ve been aspiring for many years now and needless to say it hasn’t led to much. You might ask why a 27yr old qualified journalist has yet to make a mark on the industry. The answer I give to that question has varied throughout the years. At first I was ‘taking a year out’ after graduation. Four years of studying had taken its toll, I needed a break (or so I kept telling myself). My plan was to work full-time for a year, save a little money, then put operation Cooney Career into full swing. Deep down I knew that I was really just doing what I do best….procrastinating.
The gap year argument wore a little thin after the first year. It was time to come up with a new reason for not pursuing a career. Luckily for me Ireland found itself in the midst of a recession, the old ‘lucky just to have a job’ excuse became my best friend. My parents were told repeatedly that there were simply no jobs available in the journalism field. Truth is I never bothered to look….sorry mum and dad! I have no doubt I’m not the only one to fall into the retail trap. A steady guaranteed wage is hard to walk away from, not to mention the fact that the recession and cuts to the unemployment benefit have turned virtually any job into a keepsake. However the state of the economy was hardly the real reason I failed to ‘spread my wings’ so to speak. A combination of laziness and the fear of failure were the real forces at work here.
Two more years past and like its predecessor –the good old recession excuse lost its mojo. It was now time to work another angle. I thought back to the last time I felt like I was actually furthering my career and putting my creative forces to work. I realised it was back in my college days. As Oprah would say-I had a ‘light bulb moment’. I decided to go back to the place where the foundations of my promising future had been laid….college. What better way to dodge the look of disappointment on the faces of those who dare to ask ‘what are you doing with yourself these days’? I could now tell people I was in fact studying-perfecting my craft in preparation for my assault on the media industry.
Going back to college proved to be more than just a valid diversion on the road to career success. It actually served as a system reboot. That urge to create came creeping back and as cheesy as it may sound for the first time in years I felt like myself again. I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed or the most sensible sister around, but I do pride myself on having a decent ounce of good old creativity. My childhood memories are filled with images of yours truly putting on concerts and acting out scenes from my favourite movies (this probably explains the delusion that a Hollywood career awaited me). The life of a retail assistant had led me to forget or perhaps neglect the things that had once brought me so much satisfaction. I forgot how much I loved the process of writing. For me there is no greater feeling that putting my fingers on the keyboard and just letting rip (by letting rip I am not referring to the passing of gas-instead the process of releasing my inner thoughts and attempting to string them into sentences that both make sense and provoke some amount of interest).
It was around this time that I decided to do something that I hadn’t done in years….take a risk. In the past any of my written work had only been seen by a teacher-with the exception of the odd time when I allowed a family member to glance over an article or two. For me, writing has always been a very personal act, one that I was hesitant to make public. I tend to pour my heart into whatever I write with little interest in censorship. For that reason the idea of putting it out there left me feeling exposed, laid bare if you like. However with the encouragement of my amazing sister I decided to challenge those fears and start a blog. Cue the birth of ‘Yours Faithfully Fiona’. The response to my first post helped put to rest any previous reservations. To hear that people liked my work meant the world to me. My purpose on this planet soon became very clear. My name is Fiona Cooney and I was born to write!
However now I find myself back in familiar territory. College is well and truely over and there is nothing standing in the way between me and the life I crave. That’s what scares me the most. I have nothing to hide behind, if I’m not succeeding or reaching my full potential it’s no one’s fault but mine. Believe it or not I even tried blaming Facebook for my lack of achievement. The temptation to spend time in other people’s worlds instead of my own was proving too powerful. I realised I had not written in a very long time and decided Facebook was the culprit. This led me to conduct a little experiment over the past weekend. I temporarily deactivated my account thus removing the temptation. So did my hypothesis ring true? By removing Facebook from my life did I manage to allocate more time to my budding writing career? I’m guessing you already know the answer to that. However it did lead me to write this blog so I guess on some level it worked. But Facebook or no Facebook, recession or no recession there will always be an excuse for me to fall back on. I read a brilliant quote recently that really hit home, it said ‘what will be is up to me’. I couldn’t agree more, so with that in mind I Fiona Cooney vow to have some of my work published within the next six months so help me god. And if I don’t feel free to give me that look of disappointment, and whatever you do don’t let make an excuse, we both know it’ll be nothing but bullshit.