Last week felt like a washout, but it was just a lot of work for little immediate result. I was working on several pitches from scratch, and my ideas all needed research just to see if they were even viable. Some obviously weren’t. I’ve decided not to write about Thomas Hardy’s first marriage because Hardy and his two wives burnt much of the evidence about what exactly went on. I sympathise. Unexciting as it is, I wouldn’t want someone like me pouring over my private life in a century’s time.
One of my other ideas is still just a word in an Excel file- “goats”. Tell me you’re not intrigued!
I might have said this before, but I find matching an idea with a market the difficult part of the process. Sometimes it’s easier to read through a magazine, and see whether I can think of anything to particularly suit their readership. Other times, no matter how much I’m in love with my own idea, I know the chances of placing it are minimal.
After six weeks, my inter-library loan came through. It proved almost useless. Then, within a couple of hours I’d found the information I wanted in the local library’s on-line archive. I sent off the article and it was officially accepted the next day.
And by the end of last week, I’d decided to make a topical pitch to a broadsheet. I’m not expecting an acceptance, but the mere possibility made it worth the effort of spending hours on Saturday researching and writing the full article. I’ve the satisfaction now, of knowing I gave the opportunity my best.
It’s all a lot more fun than laundry. But that reminds me!
I’m writing an article on the Bournemouth Marathon Festival, which involves a few interviews. My husband says I’m just drinking coffee for a living, but he’s forgetting the nosy questions I get to ask.
My first interview was on Thursday, with the festival’s founder. Everyone likes Martin, but still, I was nervous about covering ground, asking the right things in the time we had, and not losing my place.
In the end, it turned out to be far more organic than I was expecting, a conversation rather than a verbal questionnaire. I had time to organise myself beforehand- sort of. He’s given other interviews and written many articles himself, so he knew the kind of information I wanted. As a participant and part of the race crew all three years, I’d thought of myself as a bit of a BMF expert, but many things he said surprised me. For instance, I knew it had a Bronze IAAF award. I didn’t realise only three other UK marathons (including London) share this honour.
And then today, after parkrun, I spoke to friends Steve and Carole, for whom the festival has been a family affair. With one interview down, I was slightly more sure of what I was doing. They too told me most things unprompted and were far too interesting for my word count. Their personal experience as runners and fundraisers, will really add to the piece, but I had to scribble fast. My writing, never easy to read, has becoming increasingly illegible over the last couple of days. I typed the notes out immediately I arrived home, before I lost the ability to guess what they said.
I do like my children- almost all the time. Every so often, I stop to wonder where I’m going wrong, but not half as much as I did a year or so ago. My big breakthrough was to swap guilt for gratitude. And realise parent-child relationships are supposed to be unique, because we’re individuals. Number two son was never going to sit quietly, colouring his way through childhood. And I was never going to be the kind of mum who looks at a yoghurt pot and immediately thinks of a craft.
As a castaway on Desert Island Discs, Nigella Lawson said she wasn’t a children’s entertainer type of mother- a very freeing thing to hear someone admit publically- but she could hug and dance. It made me think of what I had to offer instead of what I didn’t- hugging, finding the funny side of things and answering questions. My children are the ones who know what to do with a cornflakes box.
With acknowledgements to Janet Gibbs who told me this stuff long before I took it in.