I was approaching the age of sixty and had to plan for my retirement from a long career in aviation. I wanted to use my time usefully and felt that I would like to become a writer. I came across The Professional Freelance Journalism Course provided online by the British College of Journalism and enrolled, graduating late in 2011.
My working life had been spent in a field that had no connection with journalism. My only writing achievement from the past had been a modest ‘C’ grade at A level English back in 1971. I was able to complete this online journalism course in between my final flying obligations and I thought it was excellent.
The course was succinct and to the point. It described clearly what was required in a journalistic writing style and it described exactly what was required by publishers. The approach by my tutor and the course contributors, all very experienced writers, was clear minded and realistic.
I always received a prompt reply to my assignment work. The comments and opinions expressed by my tutor were extremely constructive and directional. I had to rush my response to the last tutorial due to work pressures and I knew that it was not acceptable. Despite the fact that I had paid in full for the course in advance, my attempt was returned to me with constructive criticism and I was asked to do it again, I re-attempted the assignment and was passed.
Nowadays, I write for four travel websites. I produce an article each month and support them with original photos of my own. I write for silvertraveladvisor, thegoodlifefrance, YourHolidayTV (part of Ashford Advertiser group), and the more obscure b-c-ing-u. My articles are generally based on my working experience (I worked as a civil British airline captain for 35 years) from European bases and my lifelong travel adventures on the continent.
I join press trips on three or four occasions annually as a participant. This has been ongoing since I was the guest of the French Tourist Board back in 2014.They looked after me in grand style for four days in northern France. I was to write for them on behalf of a British regional newspaper.
I have written for the popular aviation press as well. One of my early articles featured in the glossy magazine ‘Airliner World’ and was spread over six pages surrounded with shiny photographs. I was thrilled.
At the time of writing, I have submitted 138 articles over the last four years and 103 of them have been published. I have also attended 11 sponsored press trips both here and on the continent. I also have written a number of articles for the Coach Tourism Council based on visits made with them in the UK and France.
The Professional Freelance Journalism Course has given me a new career. It has allowed me to have a sense of fulfilment in my retirement. I do not have a particular writing talent but I have applied the lessons that I have been taught. It has worked for me and I enjoy it all so much.