Book, Writing

Occupation: Mum?!?

The unthinkable happened. I have been asked to write something. And I have been paid for it. My first piece of paid writing in almost ten years. And my first ever piece of paid writing in English. Of course I am proud. Proud enough to have spent the cheque three times, to be exact.

An Isabelle Marant silk top, a pale pink double-row pearl necklace and a pair of leopard print Reiss sandals will remind me forever on this glorious stint into financial independence, honour and glory.

And just when I thought my writing career had reached its short-lived climax, I have been asked to pitch for a copywriting role. Don’t hold your breath – I didn’t get it. Mainly because I have been a bit unprofessional about it, I guess. The company, one of the UK’s leading nappy brands, asked me to write up four examples of how I would approach a fictional blog sponsored by them. I only handed in two. Because it was absolutely impossible to find out either how much time the role would require or how much the company was going to pay.

I know that beggars cannot be choosers, but I am not putting in a vast amount of (unpaid) work upfront, if I don’t know if I’d be able to cover my childcare cost and/or if I can take it on at all, as I would not want to put little L in a nursery for 40 hours a week. I made this point clear in an email, and I assume it didn’t go down too well.

Do I care? No.

Funnily, I have owned this I-don’t-need-you-you-need-me attitude long before I could financially afford to be that snobby about potential employers. I have walked out of well-paid jobs a few times, because all of a sudden I couldn’t stand the mundaneity and meaninglessness anymore. Why should I bite my tongue today when I least need to?

But I am digressing. The most important bit about the above: it gave me a major confidence boost. If other people believe I can write, if other people actually pay me for my written word, why don’t I believe in myself?

Why do I try to turn some (if anything) mediocre talent into a career? Illustrating takes a lot of time consuming practice – time I’d much rather spend writing.

I decided to put the children’s book aside (the story is ready, if there’s a bored illustrator out there…) and write what I really want to write. A novel. I have given myself two years to do it. And it has been ages since I last have been as excited about anything.

If asked, my official occupation will still be housewife. It recently proved impossible to get a decent quote for a car insurance when stating ‘writer’. Maybe that’s because now that I am a ‘writer’, I am a reckless Bourbon-gulping, recreational drug- injecting individual with no sense of responsibility whatsoever. Yay!

44 Comments

  1. Just found your blog via twitter. Fantastic, love it, your style is a delight to read. No idea what genre your book will be but I want to buy it already 🙂

  2. Congratulations, that’s completely wonderful.

    The novel is a constant dream of mine, I let life get in the way but I have to start this year- or else!

    Can we read your piece somewhere?

    xx

  3. Yay! I’ll drink bourbon with you any time. Welcome to the (Havana) Club! I’d read a novel by you too.

  4. 4 samples? Sounds like they got a range of samples from a few people, then the brief will be easier for them, as they clearly don’t know what they are doing as they are asking for a GHOST blogger. How terribly fake and ingenuine. You couldn’t be a part of that anyway, it is so not your style. Be pleased – you are pleased! And block some lovely time each day to work on your novel.
    LL xx

  5. That’s so exciting, MM, I’m really pleased for you and looking forward to reading the book already! Have you got a story in mind or are you going to wing it? xx

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  7. Good for you MM – I’m so proud of you and VERY excited for you!! I love that you already spent the cheque on what sounds like some beautiful pieces! And good on you for sticking with whats important – I think all too often, people try and take advantage of bloggers. What you write is great – why should you not be paid accordingly? xxx

  8. Yay! I can’t wait to read it! Congrats and yes, you are a beautiful writer, no doubt. You will be a fantastic novelist. Hopefully, we’ll get to get a glimpse of a few chapters;)
    I’m around this weekend. How about some tea on Sunday? x LZ

  9. How exciting! For the shopping, the confidence boost, the paid work and the NOVEL! What a lovely lovely way to come back from a holiday to all this news, and good news too 🙂

    Best of luck, sure it’ll be fabulous!

  10. It was so lovely to meet you on Saturday, and I’m so excited for you.
    I’m sure whatever you do will be fabulous – knock ’em dead!

  11. I love the spritz and light coming from this post!! Your blog is a pleasure to read, so why not get paid for writing?! Well done.

    And a novel, well, I am in on that one too. I once had a conversation with John Irving and in it I asked him ‘whats your secret?’ (I know, I KNOW, sooo cliche) He replied ‘Sitting in the chair and writing.’ Most people have a novel in them, a few of those people know how to write, but even fewer actually sit down and do the writing.

    Go for it!

    PS Sat at the same table with you in the cybermummy blog design workshop and wanted to say hello ‘properly’ but never got the chance! A very busy day, hope you enjoyed it 🙂

  12. Good for you and well done on the commission!

    Definitely, don’t do any writing for commercial purposes for free. There are plenty of brands out there who want to get work out of bloggers for nothing, when they could be paying a copywriter/PR agency. Don’t let them take advantage!

  13. Congratulations! How exciting and I love that you already spent the money three times over.

  14. Isn’t it amazing how a company that produces nappies cannot understand the needs of a mother who wants to work!!! Many congrats on your written piece, long may it continue, and can’t wait to read an istallment of your novel xx

  15. Also, I’ve been getting quotes recently for car and home insurance for our new non-London life and have found it VERY bizarre selecting ‘housewife’ – it makes me feel about 50 years old! x

  16. Congratulations! I’m in on the novel writing with you. I recently quit my job to write mine. Life’s too short to wait.

  17. Well done with the writing and the commitment on the Novel.
    I was working on a short story for a writing course that I am taking and my son came in, “What are you doing?” He said.
    “Working on some writing for a course that I am taking.”
    “You mean that you are writing something and you don’t have to??” He said.
    “Yes,” I said.
    “And you Want to do this?” He said. He just finished his GCSE’s and is nackered. I could see his point.
    And I realised that I really did want to write.

  18. It’s lovely to see you redress the work life creativity balance, too manymothers strive to do what they think is expected of them putting their own needs and wants last.
    Can’t wait to hear more about your novel.

    motherstylelucy.blogspot.com

  19. lynette says

    A well dressed/heeled writer which is definately a good thing!! I know it sounds cliche but believe in yourself because you ARE a writer.
    PS I am off to Reiss to get the sandals they sound great! L

  20. I’m new to your blog and would just like to say if your writing here is anything to go by, I’d love to read a book by you 🙂

  21. Wow! I am so envious. I am a pretend writer, I think I’m much better than I am (ha ha) BUT I have just received a hard copy of a local directory to which I contributed a column. I have a column! I am a columnist! OK sorry this is your great moment. I am very pleased for you. – HMx

  22. welcome back!!! And…how exciting about your new found path – I will be excited to hear about it. Hope you are doing fabulously!

  23. Hey Darling, that sounds so fabulous!! I too am working on a novel… or 5 different novels… but with no deadline. Perhaps I should give myself one as well? Lol. Good luck!

  24. Good luck with the novel!!!! My official title is Lady of Leisure even though I have a book out in October!

  25. Well done you. And whether or not the book is a success I have certainly enjoyed reading your blog. It is a delight.

  26. So excellent! I think you are very brave and I hope you do it all and more.

  27. melinda says

    Come-on, you have a well earning husband behind you, haven’t you ?!

  28. Hi Melinda,

    Yes, like in most stay-at-home mums’ households, my husband earns the dough and he doesn’t mind if I squeeze in writing a book as long as there’s a meal on the table, the house somewhat in order and the baby happy.

  29. a novel. how wonderful. that’s so my ultimate ambition. but i just can’t see how i’d ever get there.

    btw, you should hear what the insurance people say if you tell them you’re a journalist…. quotes skyrocket!

  30. Sounds a great move! I guess my occupation is ‘mum’ too for now (still haven’t got used to that) but hopefully I’ll be able to put ‘entrepreneur’ soon (better sort out the car insurance now then!) Good luck writing your novel – look forward to hearing more of your progress. Helen x

  31. Good luck and keep in touch… I too an on the novel writing path. Gulp. I would love to hear about your project and writing plans. Isn’t writing just the best?!?!?!?!!??

    Congratulations! 🙂

  32. well done. Good luck and hope you find your path. walking out on well paid jobs does the soul good. I’ve just finished reading Drive – by Daniel Pink about what motivates us. Not what we would expect. Fascinating reading.

  33. Wow a book!!! Well done lovely! You’re a fab writer and I’m an avid fan!

  34. Congratulations! I’m glad it’s boosted your confidence. Good for you.

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