Long time no blog: 2020 reflections, and where Madeleine Mae is headed

by Maddie

Hai. This feels weird. Last time I sat down and wrote a wee blog post was most likely at the end of October !! Craziness. Where’d I disappear to? If you follow me over on Instagram, you may know I was offered my absolute dream freelance work offering editorial assistant and junior writer support for Hearst Magazines (my dream publisher) and since November rolled around, I’ve assisted on some incredible branded content campaigns for Hearst titles, and I can’t believe imma saying it, but I’ve written for the likes of Cosmopolitan, ELLE and Men’s Health in November and December.

It’s safe to say I’m shooketh with how the end of 2020 panned out professionally for myself.

This work came at the right time for me, because as you may know if you’ve read this blog for a while, I’ve wanted to be a magazine journalist since around the age of 9, when I used to spend my Saturday afternoons mocking up my own version of Girl Talk magazine on Word (classic Maddie). This nerdy appreciation of magazines has lasted all the way into my twenties, with this little blog I started back when I was 18 at University as a space for me to write and express opinions on taboo topics I’m hella passionate about. I’ve adored magazines for as long as I can remember, and they’re a formative part of a lot of gals’ tween days – and beyond.

But, as lots of you might know, breaking into the journalism industry is incredibly hard. I’ve interned in the past (only for 2 weeks at a time, as it’s all I can afford) and when I graduated in July 2019, I didn’t think it would be possible to find a journo job straight away, so I settled for a role in Marketing. Since the coronavirus pandemic hit (and even without the pandemic, let’s be real here) I’d kind of given up on trying, because I just thought it’s basically impossible for a working class gal without connections to make it in journalism. Plus, London is scary and it’s where the magazine journo jobs are, and I’m not quite ready to move there – just yet.

So, for many reasons, I was so close to giving up trying. But then, thanks to a recommendation from a 2-week work experience slot I had at Hearst back in April 2019 (!!!) I was offered this opportunity to support the Hearst Studio team. And working 1.5 days a week for Hearst around my part-time 4-days-a-week Copywriter role for a Marketing agency was tough, to say the least. I didn’t want to pass up on literally the opportunity of my dreams (bar a full-time staffer role, let’s be honest) so I decided something else had to give in my life to make this whole thang work. And that was 1) my social life (wasn’t too hard considering Tier 3 life) and 2) this blog.

I started this blog, which I have adored writing since 2016, as a creative outlet for myself as Russell Group uni life was DRAINING MY SOUL, but mainly as a space to create some bylines for myself – because I wasn’t gettin’ any. I had no one to look to that I knew for inspo and tips on making it in journalism, I didn’t know how to pitch, I didn’t know how to secure work experience – I just knew I wanted to be a magazine journalist. So I did all I could, which was to try and create this space online for myself to show journos that I loved to write. I didn’t know it would become a space where I collaborated with brands such as Dior, expanded my creativity over on Instagram and that it would literally become a space I missed dearly when I didn’t have the time to continue with it all.

So, here I am, writing this post on December 30th, with the dawn of 2021 on the uncertain horizon (lol cry), and to be completely honest, I’m not sure where I’m headed. I will have a little more time in the new year to get back on the blog train, but I’m questioning what this blog will look like as we move forwards. I still want this to be a space where I rant as eloquently as possible (lol) about things I’m passionate about, where I break down society’s BS and also chat about style and many things I find FUN, but I also want this space to reflect where I’m finally headed professionally. So, as we head into 2021, you might see a little more professionality from Madeleine Mae, with a new portfolio section being added to this site to share my articles – as that’s what all good journos should do (I am cringing SO much about having to big myself up, but as one of the editors said to me, you gotta think like a white man to get ahead). I’m going to put more considered effort into the blog posts I do put live, instead of rushing 2 posts a week like days of before.

In short, I’m not 100% sure, essentially, where this is going. This would usually terrify me, because I’m an organiser and a planner, but if 2020 has taught me anything, it’s to bloody well just go with the flow, because there ain’t nothing but the flow to cling to. 2020’s made me panic less about the future, because who the feck knows what the future is at this point?! I’m going to feel my way into 2021 and see what the new year brings up for this blog – so for my parting advice, I guess I’m just saying: hit the ground running in 2021 by winging it … allll the way!

If you have any ideas on what you’d like to see from me on this blog or over on my Instagram, I’d very much appreciate it. Now, I’m gonna go eat my festive self silly and consume many vinos between now and new year. I hope you have a relaxing time and forget about the world for a little while. Speak soon!

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