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!