James Luxford of BBC Radio Oxford discusses the trials and tribulations that come with getting a big break

Well, dear readers, where do I begin? The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster for me, but it’s safe to say things have changed dramatically.

Just before New Year’s Eve I received an email from The Guardian, following a brief exchange on Twitter, asking me to pitch article ideas for the film section of their website. It was established that, every day, I would send my pitches at around 6.30am, with usually a yes or no coming an hour later. Needless to say, I didn’t get an awful lot of sleep that first week. As exciting as the opportunity was, this was the type of break I’d been working seven years for, and so in my anxiety-riddled brain the whole thing had become life or death.

The first week was all ‘No’s’– not exactly unusual, in the pitching process you have to get a feel for what the outlet wants, which means a lot of trial and error (mainly error).

One morning, however, my wife got to their email before me (at my request, I’d gotten a bit fed up of the ‘No’s’), shouted out a word not suitable for print and said “They want one!”– a pitch I had thrown in as an afterthought, talking about how the actor Vince Vaughn could do with a career reinvention, was accepted and by the end of that day I had written an article for The Guardian.

So, that’s the happy ending, right? Actually, what I thought was the finish line just turned out to be the beginning of a whole new level.

I felt absolutely brilliant – proud, accomplished, emotional – I still do. However a couple of things came along that I didn’t expect that made the experience a bit overwhelming. We talked a month or so ago about my incredibly thin skin. The good news on that front is that I’m working on it. As you would imagine, the article got an awful lot of comments – most I imagine are just interacting with the piece, getting involved in the debate, a few I imagine are calling me the worst journalist of all time. This is fine, for two reasons- 1. Every single article written has someone writing an insult of some sort in the comments, and 2. I didn’t read them, and I’m not going to.

The second incident I must admit took me aback. A friend told me that the article was talked about on a national radio station. Curious, I listened in, and the presenter did indeed mention it, saying it made them ‘sad’. I’m not sure if they meant sad for Vince Vaughn or sad because of the article’s tone – my wife thinks the former and me, ever the pessimist, thinks the latter.

Either way it was overwhelming, like when you first start secondary school and you unwittingly get the attention of the bigger kids. So, do I pack up my bags and get out of journalism? Of course not. Despite all that, this is a huge thing for me and something that I’m very grateful for. Careers are made by people giving you a chance – seven years ago a website did, two years ago BBC Oxford did, last year Oxford Mail did, and they’ve all led me to places I couldn’t have imagined. Let’s see where this goes!