So I was half way through a piece (late again) all about Christmas and family and blah blah blah when I went and got myself burgled (as you do). So with the loss of laptops, jewellery and personal effects I am resigned to writing this using my blackberry so this will severely test my patience and Sasha’s editing skills so please bear with me.

I toyed with writing about the burglary but that is distinctly doom and gloom I thought, so decided against it – that will probably come when I have fully come to terms with it.

Instead, with the New Year and my birthday being upon me (don’t ok – just don’t) I decided to go David Copperfield style and have a retrospective of the last year.

The year saw a lot of changes for me. It started well enough with my girlfriend and I celebrating together and making plans for our proposed wedding in September. However, over the course of the next few months through circumstances outside of our direct control, we split up and I found myself with a lot of spare time on my hands that hitherto, she had filled. Social networking is something none of us can escape anymore and one bored endless spring evening I was playing with my iphone and made a rare appearance on Twitter. I had a Facebook friend who had a friend who was a model and was on Twitter, she Tweets prolifically and one day I @’ed Sasha Shantel. Therein life changed. I followed Sasha and read her bio advising of her editorships which I then researched. I asked her via Twitter if she was ever looking for writers as I write for a living and also in my spare time as an escape and relaxing pastime. As it was, I began writing for inspireLS and loved it. I loved seeing my words being published and reviewed.

This led to my increased activity on Twitter and from that I gained followers, went to events, and generally stopped kicking around the house watching endless repeats of Only Fools and Horses on Dave or Gold or whatever. One day I got a tweet saying ‘you’re funny – your tweets crack me up’ (always nice to have my cynical, dry, observational wit appreciated). The tweeter in question was Leonard, the owner of Flavour Magazine. We tweeted a few times and he asked if I wanted to do the odd bit for another magazine he had; iCandy. Well, time was still laying heavy on my hands so why not? I never expected it to be anything more than I was doing for In-spireLS – but even I can be wrong…rarely.

Over a pint in a pub in Greenwich, Leonard and I met and spoke about iCandy. We had the same view and the same vision and I quite quickly became Editor in Chief.

There are some people that resented me for that and still do. Jealousy is a cruel and dominant green eyed monster and some of my contemporaries whom I met through writing disliked my meteoric rise to power and we no longer speak. It’s sad that that situation occured as I posed no threat to them or their own works. It is pure simple jealousy but where they attend writers’ retreats and start endless projects that never conclude, I’m published, I commission, I mentor and I edit. At the end of the day, they could have done the same but for whatever reason they didn’t. My skills have been questioned, as have my credentials but this is mainly by people who have never taken the trouble to ask. I write professionally, I am correspondence officer for the Mayor of London; I have been correspondence officer for the Chief Executve of a major bank as well as being an assistant manager for that bank. I was running a business at 19 with an annual turnover of £750k, responsible for 30 staff. I learnt my journalism skills at 15 volunteering for the local rag. I have an A level in Photography and a Degree in Media and Marketing. I know my business regardless of what others may assume. I’ve also learnt to be an excellent judge of character and can see people clearer than they see themselves.

I apologise if this piece is not to my usual style but as I said this has been written entirely on my Blackberry and has been lost twice. But I shall leave you with this; this magazine is by inspirational people made with the purpose to inspire others. The last year for me has been a rollercoaster ride but I have fought for and continue to fight for what I know I can achieve and deliver. What was once a dream is now my everyday life. Never be afraid to chase your dreams because one day you may catch them and when you do, you know that no matter how exhausted or lonely you may feel, as there will be times you will feel both; you did it.

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W| By Gareth Long

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