Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

From word counts to typing tests - The journey begins here - Embarking on a new career in writing

Published by Christine

A few weeks ago, I raised the topic of what you might call my mid-life crisis. Fed up with the career path I chose because I didn't know what I wanted to do, I was trying to work out the direction I would like to take instead. Since then, I've made some positive decisions and taken some steps forward. Would you like to hear about them? Go on then.

Working on working

There's going to be a bit of a pause before I can make any massive employment-related moves, but I do have an inkling of what I am going to do in this regard. With that in mind, I've started to think about how to tweak my CV to focus less on numbers and more on words. In the comments, Steven was pretty adamant that Sidepodcast was my CV. When I started thinking about all the different things that go into making this website run, there are a lot of different skill sets at work.

From writing all the way through to editing together a montage (that's in progress, by the way), it's quite amazing the variety of tasks that Sidepodcast and F1 generates. My CV definitely needs a lot of work. Any tips you have would be appreciated, and I will share some updates when the time is right for me to make my move.

Learning to write

Given that I have some spare time before I can leap into the job-hunting world, I decided to go for a journalism course. There was a general feeling that qualifications aren't really necessary, but under the circumstances, I decided that it couldn't hurt either. I like to learn, and I'm curious to see what they have in store. I opted for the London School of Journalism's distance learning programme, with the course called Freelance and Sports Writing. There was a slightly cheaper version of just the freelance modules, but I thought I would throw in the sports part too, as that is what I seem to spend my days writing about.

I've just completed the first lesson and sent it in for review. Although they take it nice and slow, easing you in gently with some 400 word essays about who you are and what you want from the course, that was something I didn't find particularly comfortable. I don't like to go on and on about myself, although you wouldn't know it from this blog post. There are so many more interesting things to write about, however I trust the course, and will wait to hear feedback.

The topic of word counts is cropping up frequently at the moment, as a few of our commenters have essays and personal statements to complete. We pondered how many words is ideal and/or average for a blog post. There's even an idea that this week's Thursday Thoughts could feature a word count, as well as the regular fiendishly tricky question.

Terrific typing

Back to the course, though, it was very easy to enrol and begin. Everything is done online, and the first lesson is emailed to you almost immediately you have hit submit. I began work on it that very same evening. One of the highlights was trying to figure out how fast I could type. That begin a bit of a competition in the comments and we all took this test with varying degrees of success.

I managed 91 words per minute, with zero mistakes as I went back and corrected them as I went along. This was a complete surprise to me. I knew I could type relatively fast, but 91 words a minute seems far too many. Mr C scored somewhere in the 30s, so he was adamant I take the test again. That time I got 93. I blame the Factbyte Factbox and the live transcribing. You can't hunt and peck when Mark Webber is talking so fast! If you've got a spare few minutes, why not take the test and let us know how you got on? We could all meet back here in a few months and see if anyone has improved. I'm assuming I've reached my peak, though. If I typed any faster my fingers would actually fall off.

So, for now I am taking typing tests and waiting on the feedback from my first submitted lesson. I'm also pondering the beginning of the next assignment. Apparently it is all about "rewriting poorly written copy" which sounds easy enough to do. I will report back on my progress.

All content in the series My Not-Quite Mid-Life Crisis