Attempting to make it as a writer

Posts tagged ‘magazine’

Parental Responsibility

What can you do?   Tomorrow you have a packed day full of appointments and you already know time is too precious.   Then you spend the night up with a poorly child, coughing, hot and generally not well.  You already know what the dilemma is going to be.

Working mothers struggle so much when their child is not well, commitment to employers, guilt to the child and wisdom to find the right answers.

How ill does your child have to be before you cannot chance sending them to school?  How far should you travel away from home, in case the call comes to collect?    If they are that ill can they not go shopping, in the car, to work?

Some people have the luxury of a grandparent or family member already at home with young children who depending on the illness will look after your child.   Let’s face it though where does he really want to be:  at home with mum.

These days that scenario of having family help is all too often not available.   Many grandparents are either still working themselves or too far away to be useful at times like this. Other family members fall into the same category.

My mother was nearly called upon the other morning.   The reality, however, was to get Mini Son to her for the day; I would have had to get him up, dressed and out of the house by 7 am.  We would have had an hour’s drive to her house.  I would drop and run to be back in time to take Middle Son to school and me to my appointment all for 9am.

Had any of this really been plausible, the shock to my mother of me ringing her, at what she would have considered the middle of the night may well have finished her off.  I suspect arriving on her doorstep at 8am in the morning unannounced would also have been shock enough.  Not to mention, she has tai chi or church carers lunch or was it the square coffee morning she would be going to.   There had to be a plan B.

Plan B, involved Sexy, Sporty Dad.   He could stay home and look after his offspring, nurse him through the day and tend to his various needs.   It all made perfect sense for him to take on the parental responsibility.  Sexy Sporty Dad informed me he had very important meetings all day.  I knew the kind where you drink coffee and make very important decisions.  He was obviously not going to be Plan B.

Why couldn’t I just forgo my day?  What do I do that is so important anyway?

Well the hairdresser for a start.  Not a good defence to begin with I agree.   Had I just been popping in for a trim I could have cancelled and booked again anytime; but I wasn’t.  I was down for my half yearly colour and cut, a whole three hour appointment which had been booked since the last one six months ago.     It was not something I could just move to another slot in my diary or theirs.

I had a new lead that afternoon someone I really needed to come on board with my magazine.  I had actually made the appointment to fit in with his hectic schedule.  This meeting was important not just for the immediate business it may or may not bring, but in order to avoid commercial suicide I had to turn up and be professional.

I could of course just send the poor boy to school and hope for the best.  A sudden flash rushed into my brain;  the colourant half baked with me wrapped in foils and unable to move – that was when the inevitable call would come from the school asking me to pick him up.  That left me with no illusions about him attending that morning.

There was nothing else for it, he had to stay with me.   In a perverse sort of way I was happier; while he was feeling so bunged up and miserable I could monitor his asthma and not rely on relinquishing the responsibility to others.

Mini Son did not let me down, he was so good having taken his sketch book, DS, reading book, lunch and drink.   He entertained himself drawing a bird, which then needed a background, a few other birds and ducks appeared over the pond and in the field.  He challenged himself on the DS reaching a best ever score; for him at least.  My phone disappeared from my bag and I learnt about a lot of the game apps that have mysteriously appeared on it.  Bite by small bite the lunch and juice disappeared over the morning while his reading book lay quietly unopened in his bag.

It was certainly an alien environment to him as he wandered over to show me his latest success.  Glancing around a salon full of noisy women; all at differing stages of their individual cuts, blowdrys or colours he watched fascinated.

“Mummy why have you got tin cans on your head?”

Probably not the image I really want for my readers or my potential customers, so let’s just say I came out of the salon looking a million dollars,  it nearly cost me as much.

As we left and let’s face it I did feel a million dollars so now was the time to work my charm I realised we would pass the post office as we drove home.  Well it would save getting him out again later.  I dashed in and then popped into a couple of potential clients, one wants to come on board later and one gave me his card to design an advert.   We then returned to the car, guilt now replacing the self confidence.

A builders van was parked behind me and a young man stood gathering bits from the passenger seat.  One last wave of opportunism hit me.

“Are you Clifford?”  I asked.

“No I am Tom his son”

“No problem I am….” And it was done,  another media pack and business card given out; he even looked interested and asked the right questions.

We got in the car.

“Mummy you always say ‘don’t talk to strangers’ and you didn’t even know that man.”

Van Man Danger Stranger

Touché.  To be fair, the stranger did have his name, or rather father’s name plastered all over his transit and I was in the main street very visible.  My nine year old son is right though – you should not talk to strangers.

Mini Son then had to accompany me to my afternoon meeting which after an hour I had managed to persuade the client to come on board, not this month but as a tester next month.  What a coup!

“Why did it take so long, you said it would be only 10 minutes”

He was right, most of my meetings don’t take an hour and more to the point I usually do the talking and attempt the selling.  Not this one; my client did most of the talking and finally talked himself into coming on board. Some coup!   Take note I must learn some tips from him.

Mini Son’s learning may well have been increased that day although I am not sure how many curriculum subjects we could claim to have covered.  When he is the next Lord Sugar, Vidal or has a string of Virgin companies, my guilt at dragging him round may be assuaged.

So is Mini Son going to be fit enough tomorrow?  Let me get my diary out!  I feel a duvet day coming on……. Oh lush…

Have you had the dilemma?   What did you do and how did it work out for you?  Let me know.




Check out my tea time treat this week and serve your guests a delicious pear and ginger crumble



Waste Not : Want Not

I am sorry to admit that my writing; which I would list as my number one passion has had to take a very definite back seat at the moment.   I promise this is not an on-going state of affairs but there are only so many productive hours in each day.

There is an old adage that if you want something done – give it to a busy person.  I find there is a lot of truth in that comment.  A busy person will just fit it in to their busy schedule and complete it with no fuss and no fanfare.

I believe I would come under that category of a busy person but sometimes I would like to concentrate on one thing.  I suppose that is what NANOWRIMO gives me; one month to write the bare bones of the next book.   I have to admit to; a certain selfishness during November when my only thoughts are the story, uploading and getting my succeed certificate.  In my mind I live the story, the characters, the plots and the development.  I am sure if Freud analysed my writing he could tell where I went on which day to produce the different chapters of the book.

Currently my overworked mind is taking up with my latest project.   For several years I have been heavily involved with No 1 Son’s rugby team who will finish youth rugby this weekend, those still committed to the game and with the talent will continue into Colts. A very different set up and not reliant on ley volunteers who organise rather than coach.  I will be giving up my role as Youth Chair and my role as Mini Administrator and letting others take the tasks forward.

Naturally this will leave a huge gap in my life or so I thought.   I could, now knuckle down and work on my books.   It would be a great time to take “Memories” onwards and try seriously to get it published.    I would like to do something with “Scrum Down”, after all it is a story about an U16s season with a group of rugby players.  By the time I get round to publishing it No 1 Son will be playing for the VETs.

Life never goes as planned.   I am about to launch a community magazine.  Not just about to; it is well on its way and I have spent weeks trying to find advertisers willing to give me a chance.  I am not a salesperson, I may be good at many things, not that I can think of any off hand, but selling and cold calling is not one of the attributes I list on my CV.   I am however passionate about the community need for the magazine, supported by the very favourable reception that I have had locally.

So the magazine I am launching has plenty of articles and editorials and a few confirmed advertisers.   I really believe in the power of local enterprise.   There are lots of small businesses in every community who struggle against the giants in their trade but need an avenue to tell people they exist.   I hope that I will provide the conduit they need to increase their business and in return they will support my business.

There is always a slightly selfish angle to all new ventures and I am no different to anyone else.  My altruistic motives may be intrinsically good but until I am a well-known multi best-selling author I have to be realistic.   Once I am established I hope to be able to publish a story or a diary each month in the magazine to get my name and my writing out into the public domain.  Maybe then with the publication of my books or even the next NANO book I may already have a local following keen to read some of my work.

I remain steadfast in my commitment to my writing but do not always enjoy the luxury of dedicating enough time to it.  As most of you know I am a member of a fantastic writing group.   This group is supportive, encouraging and critical, in a developmental way.   Each month, we meet, we write and we are set homework, although not always easy I do try to have a go.  We try different genres, different styles, and different tones. It stretches my writing in ways I would never otherwise have had the confidence to try.   I no longer have long periods of writers of block as there is always homework to start, finish or edit.   I tend never to go for the conventional story but try to have a twist in my tales.  These develop as the story turns rather than I go out and look for a surprise.  I wonder what Freud would make of some of my twists and turns.

I now have multitudinous fragments of writing that one day I hope to come back to.  A piece of writing is never wasted.   Memories developed from a short story.  The remit for a competition was a children’s short story about a little girl afraid of the dark.  It had to be inspiring to other children and help them overcome their fears.  I believed I could be a great children’s writer, after all I had children, I worked with children and I appear to be in tune with children.  I didn’t get anywhere with the competition but it was one of my very early attempts at writing short stories.  The story and theme played on my mind and I wondered; what if there was an underlying reason for this irrational fear?  What if they took her seriously and investigated the fear and find out some darkened past?

The story still rolled around my mind for barren months with no avenue to develop.

I sat down on 1 November 2010, yet another brainwave from the writing group, with no idea what to write a novel about. My mind turning somersaults with different words, phrases and scenarios. Fear of the dark, triggers, irrational reactions, and emerging past all vying to be written.  Suddenly Memories tumbled into a story.  All those what-ifs developed plausible answers and other new what-ifs found their way on to the pages.  That was the easy bit, now we are at a far more difficult stage waiting to be sent to a publisher.

It is a lesson to remember; whatever we do or learn it is never wasted.

Here’s to my next chapter that it will bring new readers into my world of writing.  Maybe this November will bring a fictional thriller about the secret life of a magazine owner.



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