Current financial constraints (yes, Dave and Nick, I'm talking to YOU) have meant the Husband and I have been reviewing the contents of our purse. We share one. No, it’s not pink OR blue. It’s more an electronic, metaphorical one really.
And one way we thought of trying to counteract our...um... unbalance is by trying to sell – yes, for money – the product of our individual ‘talents’.
"StrictlyCarpenting", you can probably see where this is leading. And so I'm here to report that for the past fortnight I've been attempting to write for the masses. "Attempting" being the operative word.
I’m not talking about fiction. Oh no, these markets are purely sensationalised factual pieces written to ensure that “OMG!” hits the reader squarely between the eyes. And because the demographic of the readers is nobody I actually know, writing for this market is doubly difficult. I’m having to watch Eastenders. And the Jeremy Kyle show. And Hollyoaks. Actually scrub that, I’m NEVER watching Hollyoaks. Bring back Brookside, I say. And it’s not easy, let me tell you - not easy at all.
The last time I read a weekly woman’s magazine, they were harmless and fanciful, filled with recipes and knitting patterns, ideas to get stains out of the Sunday best tablecloth and cutesy letters from readers with pictures of their grandchildren and their dogs on their laps. Oh My God, what’s happened? Not only are they called things like ‘Give me a Break’, ‘You're Kidding’ and ‘No Way!’, but they’re chock full of mental headlines like "My Gay Stepfather Killed my Secret Transvesite Lover – Now We’re Happily Married” And they scare me. No, they do. I mean, do these things really happen and more to the point, why would these people want their stories spread around the country in a magazine for the world and his wife (and probably her transsexual stalker) to read?
*ahem* I digress. Anyway, I’m trying to look on this slight deviation from my ‘norm’ as a kind of exercise in genres. I’m flexing my writing muscles, giving my words of two syllables or less a bit of a stretch. And it’s hard. Seriously hard. I can only equate it to Lardy-arse me popping into the the local Gym (do we have one?) to quickly get shot of the Bingo Wings. It ain't happening anytime soon, and it's not as easy as I'd like to think. Although any kind of exercise, writing or otherwise, must surely be good for you and un/fortunately my patch-worked past also means I have a plethora of ‘life stories’ that I can draw on and *sex up at will. In fact Will might have more success at it.
I have to admit, though, I'm actually quite enjoying the madness it's stirring in me – I feel like a child let loose with a tube of red paint in a perfectly arranged room!
Of course, if anybody wants any sensible advice (unlike this) on how to write freelance, the lovely Deborah Durbin, who has guested for Strictly before has her website here and is not afraid to tell you how YOU can write for the weekly/monthly glossies. She’s far more sensible and successful than me. In fact forget you ever read this, I might be having the human equivalent of a feline cat-nip moment.
p.s. A magazine has since responded to my "Two Car Crashes in 5 months - Was Somebody Trying to Kill Me?" story (see how sensational that sounds?) implying that if there'd been more *sex (there was precisely NONE) or if I'd been hit twice by the same car, then they might have been interested.