I understand most people hated writing in school.
Creative writing was an opportunity to muck up, and essay writing was boring.
I loved it. It was a chance to escape the classroom, to enter a zen-flow-state and play with my favourite things - words.
You don't get much of an opportunity to play with words as a kid. If you use big words (or short, unusual words), you clearly haven't got much of an investment in a social life. Essays were a chance to learn and argue (arguing was definitely my second favourite thing).
How lucky I felt to get a job as a journalist - key tasks: writing, talking to people (another favourite), and, on occasion, arguing. The arguing is a little harder as a journalist. You have to defend your work when it hurts people; explain your job is to tell the truth, rather than cover up uncomfortable facts.
Research is critical - people love to whinge about the wheelings and dealings of big business and politicians, but it's our job to unearth them.
The talking is harder too. Convincing someone at an emergency scene to share information when they are busy isn't always easy. It's also my job - so readers can know what's happening, if their families, homes or lives are at risk.
Talking to someone who is dying, or who has lost a child, husband or wife, isn't a walk in the park either. To hear someone's raw grief is an honour - and heartbreaking. To turn that conversation into an article that does their story justice is not easy.
People complain about paying for news. The idea that what I do isn't worth paying for, hurts. That's life - if I don't want to buy a particular house, or eat at a restaurant, I don't spend my money there.
The idea that someone wants to read my work enough to attack me or the masthead I write for personally, but not enough to spend a couple of bucks, feels like entitlement. That makes me mad.
In a world where we pay for basic necessities, why would news be exempt? If you want to get your information about the world from gossip, great. It's no different from letting your mate Robbo fix your car on the dodgy. You can't expect quality.
If you want to rely solely on taxpayer-funded outlets, also great. But they don't have the time to go to your kids' footy match. If you don't think regional journalism is work worth paying for, don't, and it will disappear. But don't ask me to work for free.