13 years of writing, and I still want to write for many more" – Shreya Pattar | Shreya Pattar

I’d always dreamt of becoming a doctor. A veterinarian at first, then an ophthalmologist; and I had very emotional reasons as to why I wanted to be these. But I also had other interests like writing poetry, writing essays for my school competitions. My parents always saw that interest and always encouraged me to do what I wanted to.

I took up science in my high school, but before graduating from high school, I decided that this was not what I wanted to do. I didn’t even feel like I wanted to try my best at science, and I thought it was a bad idea to live with something that didn’t pull me towards it. So I changed my course and told my parents, “I want to go for English.” The first person I told was my dad, and he encouraged me saying I should prepare for SAT, search for colleges.

I had just finished my twelfth and I had over a year to myself, until the next September. So I tried out internships. I interned for a month with AdFactors, a different experience from what I wanted to do. So from the next internship onwards, I went in specifically for content marketing and content creation. I interned at Times Now, where I was in the Twitter team, and then with a startup, where most of my copywriting experience comes from. Nothing was planned, I just seem to have been lucky in the way things worked out for me.

Around this time, I was visiting a lot of education fairs, and it was at the Ireland Education fair that I came to know about Trinity College Dublin. I was very sceptical whether I would get into this university, but upon my mom’s insistence, I gave it a shot. And it worked out!

I was very nervous about having to live alone, so I booked a twin room to ensure I didn’t feel very lonely. Tears came down my eyes when I was waving my family goodbye, but once I landed in Dublin, I was absolutely immersed in everything that was happening around me.

My experience in college was very different from what I had experienced in my Indian schools. Every day is full of adventure here. It is more about learning things, and thinking of their real-life application.

Our college once organised an event where the former CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner, had visited for a talk. I was mesmerised by the way he spoke, and I just ran behind him. I told him I was a student, and did not know what to do with my LinkedIn profile. Standing right in front of me, he took my phone and scrolled through my profile. He asked me what my dream job is, but I wasn’t sure. To this, he said “You need to be specific about your goals; that’s when things work for you.” Applying what he said changed my life.

Once I figured out my seriousness for writing and my commitment for LinkedIn, things were clearer. At such points, it is very important to have a mentor in life, someone we can reach out to anytime we need guidance. My parents have been my mentors, because they understand me and appreciate my work, but also point it out instantly when I’m wrong, or when I could do better.

More than anything, my family keeps me sane when I am overwhelmed and lost. A few months into beginning college & freelancing, it all started getting overwhelming. I would stay up until 3 AM, working, and then wake up at 8am for lectures. That’s when I realised that I need to set up a routine, which ended up really helping me manage things well.

Like my day, my writing also has some sort of a routine. When I’m writing, I first make a draft and spill out everything that’s in my mind. The second step is to edit, because it’s very important to organise things to make sense. I’ve heard from a lot of new writers, “I am scared of beginning writing – is it going to work out?” I would say, it’s important we overcome those fears, write, edit, and then forget about that content. Move on to the next piece of writing, and do better.

Yes, there are other concerns about writing and freelancing. Initially, I did face communication issues with my clients. Eventually, I figured out what works for me and I got used to dealing with various clients at a time. In fact, in May, I worked with over thirty clients and it was all seamless. Everybody was very happy.

Another question that pops up is, “What if I run out of things to write about?” Well, I always peek into my own life and share my own stories. In fact, this is also why I have always admired Taylor Swift so much, mainly because she wrote her songs about her own life and everyday experiences. That’s exactly what I’m doing, just in the form of LinkedIn posts!

Now comes the final question, “Where am I going now? What do I want to do next?” Honestly, I don’t know. For now, I am certain that I am passionate about writing: so much, that I want to write in a pandemic; and when I’m sick; and even when I’ve been writing for 13 years already. In many ways, my life has been a series of lucky events, which has taken me from a student, to a freelancer, to an entrepreneur. I’d like to see where it takes me next!