Though jobs have always been an integral part of identity, we are living in times where we are (for better or worse) increasingly defined by what we do professionally. We writers in particular tend to relish in the inferences that come with the label. But in this multi hyphenate, side-hustling society, the parameters of what a “writer” is and does has shifted. You rarely meet a millennial writer who makes a living solely writing - they’re consulting, they’re podcasting, they’re hosting events, too. Millennial creatives generally do, well, the most, not only because we’re usually being paid the least, but simply because the opportunity has presented itself.
I have always been someone who likes to play to my strengths; I know my lane and how to slay in it, comfortably and confidently. But the last few years have forced me to reconsider what this looks like. In 2018, I co-wrote a nonfiction book (which itself felt vastly out of my comfort zone), and have since been presented with opportunities that I'd never source myself. To do keynote speeches, to present podcasts, to moderate panels with audiences I would have once sat in. It had already taken me long enough to feel comfortable referring to myself as a ‘journalist’, since I didn’t sit the NCTJ exam or study journalism at university. Now I was being asked to veer into territory I was even less experienced in. Of course came the cacophony of reasons not to step outside my comfort zone where I felt safe and smart. But a small part of me did wonder if there were strengths I wasn’t playing to, because I wasn’t sure if they existed.