There is no greater pillar of stability, than a strong, fierce and educated women.
These lines stated by Maya Angelou proves that women can do anything. Who would’ve thought that a 21 years old girl will rule the world with her words?
Benazir Mungloo , a name that inspires every single person that age is just a number. You just need passion and hard work to make your dreams turned into a reality. The author of famous book ‘‘Scarred and healed’ is now working as a copywriter in an IT company.
Last year, I was fortunate enough to talk with her about her book. This time as her career got a boost , I was surly very excited to talk about this.
A little questioning with Benazir Mungloo on her journey.
Benazir, what do you think has paved your way to be a copywriter?
• I think my creative career as a fiction writer and poet has enormously helped. It is definitely true that I am double majoring in Media & communications and literary studies with specialisation in creative writing. But to get any kind of graduate jobs does not just require that you have a degree in it since anyone can have that nowadays. Nor does it require you to have a high WAM at university. It takes something more and we all know, that is experience. And that, well that is something I did not have the minute I was proposed a job as a copywriter.
In fact, how this happened was that I, being a chatterbox ended up talking to the person sitting next to me during my short flight from Melbourne to Perth. Upon being asked by that person what do I do and responding with a short history of my writing journey, the man was super kind to consider giving me a chance. I don’t what it was that struck him about me – whether it was the way that i was describing my passion and ambitions for my creative career.
Since at that time I had no idea who he was or whether he wanted to give me offer. Whether it was just him listening to a 21 years old narrating how she got published at 19 that made him give me a chance.
But I am immensely grateful to that man, Shibhu john who happened to have a directing position at a major IT recycling company with various branches across Australia and is now my senior. So the point is, it was definitely not my degree. It was my creative career and achievements so far that made him decide to give me a go. Everyone starts somewhere and mine started here.
- What was the role of your book and writing journey in getting a contract as a copywriter?
As mentioned previously, my book and writing journey was the actual bet for them to give me a chance. It is to be noted that I haven’t even graduated yet and I still got this chance. And I give myself the credit for that – for pushing myself above the limits, for wanting to be a writer from a young age. And actually working towards it, for not quitting anytime I thought I will never make it. Because now, all those articles, stories and poetry books that I have written or contributed to, have actually benefitted me a long way.
A quick look at my writings through my poetry book that was shown to my boss. A quick google search of my name that brought up both a the articles and stories that I had written including my IG poetry page. The articles that the press wrote about me for my achievements stood at the basis of me getting this job. My creative achievements are the most precious things that I have done on my own. I cannot help but be a lot proud of myself for that.
It has not only carved my identity but also helped me make a breakthrough for my professional career even before graduating from university.
- Is there any myth about copy writing that you want to highlight?
Hmmm.. I am not too sure about myths. But all I can say is that copy writing is a completely different stream and style of writing compared to fiction, blogging or poetry. Sure, my writing journey helped them decide to give me a go as a copywriter. But the real test started when they handed me the project. I had to alter and develop the professional type of writing needed for marketing and writing business profiles or marketing contents – they are things that I had never done before. At the same time, copy writing is not just all about creativity and just writing as you like it. I am working for an IT recycling company and I had zero knowledge about the industry.
On top of it, I have always struggled with technology – let alone trying to understand how any of secure data wipe systems works. Even all those codes that I needed to be clear about if I have to write their business profiles. So, copy writing is definitely an all rounder.
Your first step is research and you have to wear your “can do attitude” on your sleeves! You need to be willing to learn what even looks like the biggest challenge to you.
Your second step is sorting and drafting and then again drafting. Draft until you get it right. Then the final step is writing and proofreading. A much harder task than just sitting down and writing like a lot of people assume it is!
Oh and did I mention that you need to also be great at understanding SEO optimisations and graphic designs?
Yes, all these skills are also needed since you do not want to produce an amateur content to a major company.
Take on feminism :-
- what does Feminism mean to Benazir Mungloo?
Feminism according to me is empowerment. It is freedom of choice. It is equality especially in terms of opportunities. Now, everyone has their own perception of feminism which may be very different to mine.
But here’s what I think it is, in more details. When I say it is about empowerment, I mean it is about encouragement to push women to overthrow the limits and the glass ceilings if they want to.
Prior to the age of feminism, women used to be pressurised to be the “perfect little women”. They have to abide by a certain set of rules to be seen as “feminine”. Segregation of tasks in those eras brought different expectations from both genders which happened to often be very sexist.
This is where feminism stepped in and fought for the rights of women. The point is we fought for the right to choice!!! This also means that we fought the timelines set on our backs and the expectations that society would have from us as women. Now you’re wondering why am I stretching this so much here. But what I want to prove and say by this is that in this new era, expectations have changed accordingly.
As much as it is somehow for the good to expect and respect a woman who decides to marry in her 30s to be able to focus on building her career prior to that, we should also be able to respect the woman who had the same option but decided to be a mum at 20. Because this is what feminism is all about – it is about choice. Plus who said that you cannot do it the opposite way : have a baby, get married and get your degree?
To me, I have great respect for a lot of my girl friends who ended up as mums at 20 but still getting that degree and pushing forward. To me, this is still empowerment. And this is what feminism is all about – having a choice to do things your way!
- If given a choice, what would you choose – self publishing or traditional publishing?
I think I have answered this question a few times before in other interviews. But my answer remains the same – they both have their own pro’s and con’s. Being a creative writing student who has already self published by default of a traditional publishing house that published my book but then ended up closing down.
My lecturers push me more for traditional publishing. They believe it is more credible and it is more productive if you want writing as a long term career. Well, we have to set a point that I cannot disagree on that. My lectures with all good advice’s and good intentions only want me to dream even bigger.
They show me clips of award functions, literary book events and readings that are only possible if you are published by a prestigious publishing house. It was not surprising for me that they were not rooting for self publishing. Because self publishing comes at many risks – talking from experience.
Self publishing depends on you doing everything after the book is out which includes marketing, sales as well as event planning if you want to truly promote your book. Yet even if you end up being successful at all these, unless you have a great social media outreach with tonnes of loyal followers. Who will show up to your book readings and buy your books, you cannot expect a lot of sales as a self published author. Sure, with self publishing all the money you made is solely yours and the publishing process is shorter than traditional publishing, but in the background to even make that money takes a lot of efforts.
So, I am not sure. I am definitely trying for traditional publishing – I mean c’mon that’s truly every writer’s dream. You want it big and you want it credible enough for everyone to know you for your book. But if all fails and while I still wait to make it to a publishing house. I will not mind self publishing at all but putting to good use my marketing and advertising skills.
•What would you consider the biggest lesson of your journey till today?
I think that’s a tough question because I have had several lessons grasped through the course of life till now that have built me into who I am today. But if I have to point to something that I remember again and again when things go down the drain, then that is to focus on yourself at every stage of life no matter how hard it is!
The thing with me is a heartbreak can do a lot to me. But one of the things that I keep in mind all the time is to feel the heartbreak. Feel every jist and every part of it. But keep moving forward. Keep building. Because once you have been through every single stream of it and you have been fighting through to get pass it, you can turn something painful into something magical.
Take Lily Singh’s story (commonly known as Superwoman) for instance. She goes by the same mantra as me and I just cannot agree more to it. Don’t stay stuck there when life drags you through mud and dirt. Find a way to get out of it and keep your head high! I think this was one of the biggest lessons that I have mastered.
•Any message from your side to the youth who continuously strive towards their dreams?
Keep your head up and keep fighting! Do not give up and keep having faith. Because if you have faith, you keep fighting and you keep finding a way.
But if you give up on yourself, all your doors are going to close. Because no one is going to build your dreams for you. Only you can do that! And the only way to do it is by continuing the fight until you make it!
• 2018 has been amazing year for you. Benazir, what are the plans for 2019?
2018 has been an amazing year. 2019 is the most important one. I am about to graduate in one semester. I have tons of things going on. We are in the final stages of our current project at cyber computer recycling.
I have been told that I am being recommended for a contract as a copywriter for them. However, I still have to find a full time job in my field right after graduation or enrol for my masters right after. I am yet to decide which one suits me better.
In terms of writing, I am done writing my second book. I plan on finalising it and start sending my manuscripts for publishing to publishing houses. That’s all that I can reveal about my plans for now.
• Do you have any resolutions if you believe in them?
I believe in having dreams and plans about how to achieve them. Terming those as “resolutions” is probably the last thing that I do since I am a big time dreamer and a hustler.
As mentioned in the previous section, I plan on at least sending out manuscripts of my second book to publishing houses and finding a full time job or enrolling for my masters soon this year.
• It’s always an honour and pleasure to talk with you. Your life is way more inspiring for everyone of us. How was it talking to us once again?
It’s always a great experience talking to you and sharing how things are going for me. Because if I expect anything from these interviews, it is solely to inspire others who are struggling because I have also been in their shoes before.
I know how it is when you are just struggling and unsure if things will ever be as big as you want them.
PS – Benazir Mungloo is a renowned name in the authors. She is known for her great work. The book “Scarred and Healed” is a mirror of her hard work.
In such a young age, she has attained the heights of success. As now, her journey as a copy writer has begin. We are here to wish her all the best for her upcoming plans. Thank you for your precious time.