I am standing in the queue at the kiosk, hopping impatiently from foot to foot, clutching my newspapers in one sweaty hand and my money in the other.
Tere! says the cashier, looking confused as I thrust everything at her in a rather over-excited manner. Tere! I reply with great enthusiasm. She peels apart the two identical newspapers in her hand and gazes at them. Kaks? (Two?) she asks dubiously, and I nod impatiently. Jah, jah!
I barely make it out of the kiosk before I am fumbling to get a newspaper open, and there it is: Autor: Hayley Millar, vabakutseline ajakirjanik. Which, in case you’re wondering, means “Writer: Hayley Millar, freelance journalist”.
Hurrah! I am a published travel writing newspaper columnist!
This 101 Things list is truly fantastic, you know. One of the items on it was, if you recall, “Ask someone I don’t know to come for coffee/lunch/drinks with me”. This was mainly because I wanted to meet new people and get over my fear of social situations, but it had surprising and unforeseen consequences. I contacted a local girl on the Couchsurfing website, asking if she’d like to go for coffee, and we ended up going back to her apartment and drinking tea, laughing and chatting whilst overlooking the beautiful Old Town skyline. It was a lovely evening. Then, through our conversation, it emerged that she was doing an internship at the national daily newspaper, Eesti Päevaleht. Having looked at my blog and heard about my thoughts and observations on life as a foreigner in Estonia, she showed my blog post about the swimming pool changing rooms to her colleagues, and – to cut a long, rambling, unnecessarily excited story short – they asked me to write a column article for them. And not a dull report, but something similar to the style of my blog, discussing the contrast between the Estonians’ reserved nature and their alarming habit of walking around naked in public changing rooms. Perfect!
I am delighted. This time last year I was still stuck behind a desk, answering phones and bored out of my mind. Progress towards becoming a full-time writer has been slow and at times discouraging, but it has been progress nonetheless, as I see now that I sit here with a list of regular clients, a portfolio of online articles, and now an article in a national daily newspaper. I’m still quite a way off from my eventual goal, but I’ve come a long, long way from where I was a year ago. Nearly an entire continent, in fact.
Of course, my article has been translated into Estonian, so I can’t actually put a link to it and cry Look! Look! Go and read it! Not that that’s going to stop me putting a link to it anyway. Allow me my jubilance, it is my first published article! (Which, incidentally, was another of the things on my 101 Things list.) If, for whatever reason, you’re actually interested in reading the article, then I beg of you not to use an online page translator. I can’t quite figure out how those things unfailingly make articles look like they were written by a six-year-old. Instead, check out the original text that I’ve uploaded to my blog here for the benefit of newspaper editors and travel book publishers and suchlike. (Please hire me.)
Next step: getting a novel published…
Oh, and if you’re wondering about the two copies of the newspaper – well, I had to send one to The Parents, too, didn’t I? :)