May 24, 2017 § Leave a comment
What’s your overall take on the ‘salaries/rates’ bit of this year’s survey results?
More women took the survey than men, and the gender pay gap’s still increased. Why do you suspect that is?
Have your own rates changed since last year’s survey?
Is ‘put your rates up’ the catch-all answer?
What’s the best pay-related advice you’ve been given, and what tips do you have for other writers?
“Here’s a strapline for a few hundred quid. That’s yours to slap on every bleedin’ TV ad/item of stationery/T-shirt/novelty hat/website/banner ad/dirigible/200ft-high holographic squirrel you produce over the next 2,000 years.”
Folks, if you’re good, you’re worth good money.
In-house, not freelance, but I was stiffed on my starting salary at my current company. I had an offer below what I wanted (a salary I was actually already earning) and I negotiated, asking for more once I’d passed my probation. That was agreed and I was proud. I later found the job specification with my boss’s salary estimate. It had taken me nearly two years to start earning what he’d set as the maximum for my starting salary.
I still work for the company and took enough of a leap in both role and salary to make that OK – and that particular boss is no longer here, though I don’t blame him for my own mistake. But I certainly learned a little something from that.
You can’t pitch too high if they want you; they’ll come back with another offer and you don’t have to take that either. Once you know you’re good enough for a company to really, really need you, you’ll feel less scared about shooting for that shiny ol‘ moon.
March 3, 2017 § Leave a comment
Yes, I’ve been missing. But missing in action. I’ve written millions of words, I’ve filled pages with pictures, I’ve worked a LOT, and – after a very long wait – I’ve adopted two children.
They’re five weeks old so there’s still eight weeks to go before we can bring them home. They’re so tiny and delicate right now but when we next see them (in three weeks) they’ll already be bouncy creeps who want to play. By the time they’re ready to leave their mam, they’ll be gangly, leggy dog-cats.
After so many years of wanting and nearly a year of waiting on a litter, I couldn’t quite process that they were real. I’ve never seen a kitten that small except in pictures. I held our boy and he was warm and soft and confused. A few minutes later, all six were a sleeping puddle on their blanket, with Bramble the show-winning knock-out laying protectively next to them.
Their names are Dio and Dime, and they’re going to change our lives.
January 4, 2017 § Leave a comment
I used to be constantly moving and shaking. Shaking quite literally: with fear.
Fear drove my pitiful carcass for many years, pushing and shoving me to greater things. I was BRUISED by ambition. And once I started feeling happier and more settled, I worried about losing my much-fetishised ‘edge’. The shining, electric zeal that kept my eyes aching-wide and my brain churning.
Now, as an old lady, I have little need of the hustle. I have a lovely job that challenges me and keeps me too busy to freelance – what would I be hustling for?
I always expounded the virtues of staying sharp, keeping all your profiles sparkly. Sleeping with your shoes on and bags packed, basically. Powder dry.
But it’s tiring. If you’re spending hours a day worrying about how you look and how to position such-and-such little no-pay project, you’re spending less time on the doing bit. The bit that’s actually soulful and rewarding.
I guess it’s about faking it ’til you’re making it; reaching the point where you’re just ticking along, doing the job you wanted, is actually a whole lot more relaxing. You’re doing 10 times the work your 23-year-old self found exhausting – but it feels like home. You’re settled in your own backside-cradling chair and no one’s going to suddenly push you off and make you go run around outside in the cold for a bit. I’d love to see them try; I can just picture my lazy, reptilian stare from under half-closed eyelids. Oh, hun. Oh, sweetie no.
By nature, I’m a burrower. (Not a Borrower, though nearly.) A burrower: one who burrows in and sets up camp, leaving only when its own spreading volume forces a change in scene. I like a home. I do not flit. So my hustling was largely extra-curricular, which is a very unrelaxing way to move through life. Trying to freelance around a full-time job feels like how movies portray working in fashion: running around, crying, dropping things in the street and getting 10 dogs tangled around your legs.
Nay – not for me. No more. Having a few more hats piled on top of my company cloche has been a blessing. It’s forced me to stop hustling. Don’t have the room for it, and life is cosier without. These hats are warm af.
All that said, I have today done an aspirational thing. I bought a domain name that came to me in a dream – yes, that’s right. A dream-sent domain; millennial manna. My dream told me that my secondary initials – Augusta Rose Clement-Hayes – would make a great name for a copywriting venture. Arch also happens to be one of my favourite words. It’s my favoured demeanour: eyebrow cocked, half smile ready to form a sarcastic bon mot.
So, Arch Copy. archcopy.co.uk. I won’t be needing it for a good while but it’s mine. For when that hustle gets kicking again.
December 13, 2016 § Leave a comment
Afraid and crying
In the wrinkled shade of the canyon
He slowly fucks the love back inside
A grimy wrist swings limp in the stale air of her forgotten castle
Once the author of tangled charity acts, polished immortality
Now, some belated chick
Camaro snarls penetrate from out on the blacktop
As the blanket creeps, pilled up, over goosebumped flesh
My mam emailed me to say she’s too thick to understand this. Which actually makes her really smart because it’s assemblage. I just find the most used words on Hello Poetry – a corpus of love and sorrow – and look for interesting patterns. This kind of writing is only asking you to find your own meaning in the meaningless nonsense. It’s your Rorschach.
October 14, 2016 § Leave a comment
Compromising on the me-ness of me is too high a price to pay for fitting in.
October 5, 2016 § Leave a comment
It’s a new season for me. I’ve decided that I’m reaching the point in my life where I am an adult. A human that is no longer just a morbid collection of childhood hurts, teen angst and treasured disappointments languishing in the dusty trophy cabinet where badness lives.
After so many years of being puppeteered by fear, guilt and a need to change myself, I’m now a collapsed pile of limbs and costume, relieved and resting.
That need to change. I was always trying to improve myself, based on my own bizarre list of personal standards. Not improve; CHANGE. Erase what was there and replace it with something better.
And now I’m not. The work I do now is acceptance. I like who I am. I can put time and effort into buffing up the good ’til it glows, and I can sandpaper the not-so-good to a smoother finish if I fancy a spot of DIY. But I’m not a problem to be overcome. I’m a maze, a puzzle; the whole point of my life – any life, I think – is the adventure of exploration as one figures out the next turn.
I guess this means therapy works. It’s been tricky and not always nice, and it’s taken a lot of mind-bending. A lot of shouldering open stuck doors in the cobwebbed old library I keep upstairs.
There’s books in there I could burn, but I won’t. I’ve sorted them, bundled them – then put them aside. I’ll keep them like old text books from school; they’re how I got here and they taught me everything I know, but I’m not going to build the next 40 years on them.
A big stack of obsolete books. Theories disproved, authors forgotten and covers faded to grey.