Fate, My Old Friend

Before I resume my current crop of writing, I thought I’d pop on here to blog about my relationship with that thing called ‘fate’. You see, Fate has the most curious way of working in my life and I feel the need to refer to her as a proper noun because we’re kind of friends now.

I can see definite patterns in my life whereby plans have unfolded in the most unexpected way. I’ll give you an example. When I was in my final year at university, a lecturer set us an assignment that involved a fair degree of crystal ball gazing. Well, to me it did anyway. The idea was, we were supposed to map our career paths from then until retirement age but being someone who prefers to stick to the facts, I really struggled. Well, how was I supposed to know exactly what I’d be doing in 5/10/whatever years from now?! I do remember writing down some ambitions – I wanted to make a documentary for Radio 1 before I was 25 and have my first book published before I turned 35. While I didn’t doubt my ambition, I did often wonder how I might actually achieve these things given that I hadn’t really a clue where to start. You see, it’s all very well having skills and sending off job applications but a lot of creative and media work revolves around that old adage: it’s not what you know but who you know. At the tender age of 21, I knew no one!

I remember sending countless job applications to Radio 1 in an attempt to realise my documentary-making ambition but none of them were successful. However, I did fulfil that dream in the correct time scale in the most unimaginable way possible. I took a freelancing contract for a company who just happened to produce documentaries for Radio 1. I didn’t know this when I applied and didn’t actually find out until several months in. I submitted several proposals to the head of programming and it was actually the one I sent in ‘for a laugh’ that got commissioned! I delivered the finished programme just before my 25th birthday and it was broadcast six weeks later. No amount of crystal ball gazing could have guessed that!

And, yes, I did get my first book published before I turned 35. After five fruitless attempts at approaching publishers with ideas, it was actually an entirely unsolicited commission that came through my email that realised that that ambition. It’s funny but I’m really starting to believe that if things are meant to be, they’ll happen regardless of the amount of effort I put into them! Incidentally, the book commission arrived just months after I was turned down for funding for a research doctorate and while my subject matter was somewhat different, writing a book was most definitely easier on the bank balance than going back into education! I’m not entirely ruling the education aspect out as I suspect Fate might have other plans for me there.

Which brings me neatly round to my latest example of Fate. Over the last few months, I’ve been working on my second book – I’ll reveal more info about this at a later date, so hold tight for now! The thing I’m learning is that you can have it all mapped out who you’re going to interview and what you’ll ask but that’s no guarantee you’ll get the people you want to speak with. Especially if they don’t actually have a product to promote right now! This can and does of course lead to a huge amount of frustration and bruised foreheads but then invaribly Fate comes along and blows a raspberry in my face. You see, Fate apparently knows how things should turn out far better than I and I’ve just struck gold with a whole series of leads that have not only been amazingly helpful but have also allowed me to paint a more complete picture.

The more Fate crops up in my life, the more the hippy in me starts harping on about ‘paths’ and things that are ‘meant to be’. Yet no matter how many times my friend Fate has shown me that everything works out in the end, I still feel a little apprehensive about sitting back and waiting for her to appear. No doubt that’s the realist in me who’s just noticed the hippy’s flowers are made from fabric but it makes you think… That Fate, she sure moves in mysterious ways!

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