Can an introvert be a journalist? If so... how?
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a journalist. Throughout university I was certain that that was what I would do when I had graduated. I switched my degree so I could take classes in journalism and the media. I approached essays as if they were assignments. I took part in a failed attempt to launch an alternative student paper. I wrote a dissertation that I was confident I could get published.
But I graduated into a recession - couldn't even get work experience - and before long I had given up. I decided I was too introverted to be a journalist anyway. And so the dream faded away.
Then today, whilst avoiding work, I read this
article by George Monbiot. It's his advice on pursuing a career in freelance journalism. Parts of it really resonated with me, particularly the bits about not wanting to specialise, thrifty living, and trying not to compromise your beliefs and become institutionalised. For the first time in years, the idea of being a journalist really appealed to me.
I say "idea", because there's a lot about the reality of it that I don't think I could handle. Firstly, I'm an INTJ/INTP-type personality, and I'm not sure I have the determination and confidence it takes. Secondly, I like that I've finally achieved some semblance of stability. I'm still relatively poor, but I'm comfortable with what I have. I've experienced not knowing how much money I'll have from one month to the next, and I hated it. Mr Monbiot is an excellent journalist, but I don't think he understands that some people actually like
things to be predictable and mundane from time to time. Nevertheless, the line in his piece that alludes to Benjamin Franklin's "they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" really struck a nerve.
I touched on this subject with a previous question
, and came away from it feeling that I'm more of a "work to live" kind of person. But I'm of the opinion that it's better to regret something you did than something you didn't, and I think I'm ready to give it another try. In recent months I've rediscovered my political side, and the thought that "if you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem" won't leave me be. I'm overworked and underpaid, and I feel that in the current climate, I may as well be underpaid doing something I care about. Journalism may be changing rapidly, and becoming increasingly difficult to make a living from, but my fascination with it (and my appetite for knowledge and truth) never really went away.
In the intervening years, my confidence has grown considerably, to the point where my introversion is now less of a limiting factor. I've also picked up a lot of "transferable skills" in my current job. Nevertheless, I'm having a hard time reconciling my reluctance to sacrifice comfort with my desire to make something of myself. I'm also skeptical that I'd have the personal discipline and drive to really make it as a freelancer.
So, my tl;dr question is: how do I go about giving my ambition a second chance, without giving up all of my hard-earned stability and security?