We're currently on the lookout for a new weekly Columnist. If you'd like to know what it's like being the IdeasTap mouthpiece, here are a few words from previous winners (l-to-r) Jamie, Nell and Nicola...
If given the opportunity to write a series of columns on a widely read arts website, many would seize the chance to inform and engage their new readership of buzzing creative minds.
I, however, spent my months as Columnist inadvertently exposing myself as an unsteady sociopath who once, with a Paxman-like verve, wrote at length about what kind of bakery product most resembled David Cameron’s face. I settled on “an enchanted pancake”, if you’re interested.
Regardless, whether you use your column to educate, entertain or – as I frequently did – fuel your mother’s concerns about your ability to make friends, this is one of the best platforms around for a young writer. You’ll be writing to a massive creative community, you’ll gain some vital and all-too-rare experience and, when you’re not rattling your empty head off of a desk waiting for the smallest particle of an idea to fall out, you’ll enjoy it.
And, to all IdeasTap editors: I definitely haven’t reapplied under a false indentify with an MS Paint moustache on my face. Honest.
Read Jamie on Broken Britain.
The week I found out that I was going to be the new IdeasTap Columnist I was loading vans for £5 an hour in an industrial site off the North Circular.
As you can imagine, the choice between being a paid writer on a nationally respected arts website or having 2lb boxes dropped onto me from a great height by men with tribal tattoos was a tricky one. I probably wavered for, oh, 0.3 seconds before shrieking down the phone to Editor James that he had just made me the happiest girl in Edmonton.
Whether you’re a freelancer, a student, an over-ambitious teenager or experienced arts writer, being a columnist is basically the dream gig. You can write with humour, opinion, flair and passion about all the things that make you tick. Or twitch. Or even tremble.
Of course, my story has one of those Hollywood endings (I’d like to be played by Vin Diesel, please guys). After working as the columnist for six months, I was then lucky enough to apply for, and get, a full-time job as one of IdeasTap’s Assistant Editors. I would say “This could be you,” but frankly, I don’t want you to steal my job.
After all, a girl can only load so many vans.
Read Nell on endings.
The IdeasTap Columnist position is one of the best first writing gigs that you can get. Each week you have a chance to whittle something completely your own – whether it be a pervy rant, a tale of an awkward experience or simply a weekly catharsis. You also get paid for it, which, let’s face it, has become a bit of a novelty.
Having your own column adjusts the way you perceive your daily fripperies. I’m constantly on the lookout for new material that will interest the young creative minds IdeasTap reaches. This worries both friends and family. It also means you make more of an effort to do cultural things, instead of watching Neighbours on catch-up.
The Columnist is a priceless opportunity to get feedback from your lovely editor, which is very rare and extremely helpful at the start of your writing career. The best part is that you’re positively encouraged to find your own voice as a writer, which is one of the most valuable things you’ll take with you.
Being a regularly published writer looks great on your CV, and will hopefully be that extra push future employers are looking for.
All good things must come to an end, so I urge all you budding journalists to apply to the brief and see where it may take you.
Read Nicola on cabin fever.
Apply for The Columnist.