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What do you do?

Me: I write about cars. Because of this, I get the same question over and over: “How did you get this gig, and how do I get in on it?” It’s not easy; and it takes patience, knowledge, and passion. And, you have to be into S&M as well.

Patience is something we’re born with and, to a certain extent, can gain. I’ve seen a number of newcomers, fresh out of school, jump on the bandwagon and immediately expect Jags, Porsches, and trips to Monte Carlo. If you do manage to stick it out this way, you truly belong in the business, but the fact is that I’ve witnessed some fall flat on their faces shortly after thinking they’d hit the big time. Everybody needs to pay his or her dues.

Knowledge comes with patience, and a desire to learn. It is one thing to be able to fire off all the specs for a 2013 Lamborghini Gallardo and Ferruccio’s life history, but it is quite another to actually understand what you are saying. Reading up and repeating what was read will only take you so far. Learn about cars, learn how they work; gain knowledge, and most importantly, never stop learning.

Finally: passion. I could have included writing skills, but I myself consider my abilities to be average on my best days. One can learn how to write, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to “write.”

Passion is what brings it all together and makes it possible. My mother-in-law is passionate about plants. She can revive them all and make them grow with little or no effort; it is within her to do so. She also makes a mean apple pie…

Passion is what makes it all seem so easy. If you’re a budding auto journalist, or journalist in any other discipline, and doing the job is tedious and frustrating then you’re doing it wrong or are in the wrong business. You can’t make it happen, it just is.

There are exceptions to every rule, obviously. Some have a command of the written word that I can scarcely comprehend, others are gifted with memory, while others still can talk the talk, but can’t walk the walk -- they all manage to get by.

I won’t pretend and say that a little bit of luck doesn’t help, because it does. The fact remains that this career, like all careers, has to be earned through dedication and hard work. And I wasn’t kidding about S&M: It’s 11:48 p.m. and I’m just finishing up this blog now so that I can file it via email by deadline so that, technically, it won’t be late…


Mathieu St-Pierre
Photo: Sébastien D'Amour