It has been a while since I had time to sit down and have a little splurge so – in case you are interested – this is what has happened since I started this blog and what lies ahead.
After having a ball of a time getting extremely lucky with testing people’s cars and the odd bit of metal from a dealership, I dropped some emails around the large automotive outlets in London to see if I could get through the door with work experience. With the blog acting as a platform, I was accepted for a week at Auto Express and Car Throttle in the summer of 2015. Both of those weeks went extremely well – especially at CT – and after a small lull in communication afterwards, CT decided to take me on as a freelancer in March 2016.
This was one hell of a challenge considering the demands of my Mechanical Engineering course on top of creating content on a regular basis for a potential audience of millions. This wasn’t just arranging a car test for whenever I was free and then taking a month to write it up – this was some serious shit. But considering that my writing had gone from the docile beginnings of Gasket Case to being seen all over the world on such a massive platform was genuinely humbling.
Starting with a couple of articles a week, this moved on to four pieces (two midweek and two for the weekends) based around technical car content but this soon morphed into a vast array of titles and pieces. At the same time as this being a huge leap forward in terms of starting a career, it was also a baptism of fire. I have a generally good knowledge of how cars and their components work and if not, my engineering nouse generally allows me to fill in the gaps adequately. However, I have made a couple of mistakes and the CT audience aren’t the most-forgiving bunch. But I’ve thoroughly learnt from those hicks and I’m a much better writer for it – as they say, there’s no success without failure.
After a second spell down in London last summer in the Car Throttle offices, it was time to think about a bit of security in terms of my future. Considering I couldn’t think of anything worse than spending my years staring at excel spreadsheets and stress heat maps in an engineering office, I knew I’d have to start thinking about a full-time journalistic job somewhere.
Life is far too short to be trudging through a job that isn’t fun. My outlook is that I should be happy to do this job for nothing due to the sheer enjoyment I get out of it. That’s why writing about and driving cars has risen right to the top of my priority list. Happiness is the be all and end all, period.
Jobs in automotive journalism are very rare but one such opportunity arose as a perfect and stable route into the industry. I applied for it, interviewed for it and have now been offered the job; happy days. The role is Content Editor at Auto Express starting in June – that means coming up with content ideas, managing the social media strategies of the company and generally getting to grips with an editorial that managed a profit of £2,000,000 last year.
This obviously means finally getting away from the confines of Edinburgh and settling in London which is something I’m very much looking forward to. My intention in the first place had actually been to go to Loughborough University to study but that simply wasn’t to be. So I’ll miss what has been such a great city to grow up and mature in but it’s definitely time to fly the nest.
What do I hope to achieve? My aim is to maximise every opportunity that comes my way, going that extra step than may be expected of me and assert myself as a true asset. I want my work to be my 9-5 and my downtime – a seamless transition that means I can pour every second of my time into producing quality and engaging content that I also get a kick out of producing. Although that has mostly been words and the odd picture thus far, my plan is to move onto video. Just give me a few months to trial my camera voice/face.
I finish my course in May and then it’ll be a quick dash to find a place to stay in London – if it has a decent shower and parking, I’m game.
Despite my sidestep from engineering, university has been one hell of an experience. I started off fairly well in 2012, took a severe dip in 2014 which led to this blog starting and since then things have just gone exponential.
The opportunities thrust my way have been truly off the scale, whether it be a private jet out to the Isle of Man for the TT, a sponsored trip by Subaru to drive throughout the Scottish Highlands or my involvement with bringing a major track and field championships to Scotland in 2019.
I can honestly say that my only true setbacks in the last year or so have been personal ones, most of which have been out of my control. But all-in-all my 21st, 22nd and 23rd years in life have been the best thus far. Oh, and I’ve bagged myself a new bird. She’s off to Africa to volunteer for a while so if you fancy helping out, click here.
I have a couple of things to tick off my list before university ends and time will tell whether I achieve them, but it’s safe to say I’m very happy with where I am right now.
So bring on graduation, London and my first proper job.