‘That’s great but you can’t do this. I haven’t taught you how to yet.’
It wasn’t quite the reaction I’d been expecting from my Year 3 primary school teacher when I proudly handed him a piece of work with my newly learned joined up handwriting.
My mum had taught me.
My mum taught me a lot of things before teachers got to that part of the curriculum.
She taught me about reading books, about loving books.
She made up stories for me, and then with me.
We used to turn them into little books; her writing the words we’d decided on, me drawing all the pictures.
Until I could hold a pencil and write my first words.
Then there was no stopping me.
She taught me joined up handwriting, and also how speech marks work (after I handed her a short story I’d written and just littered speech marks throughout because I’d seen them, but I didn’t understand them).
I don’t know why it took me so long to get here.
My business studies A Level didn’t quite cut it and becoming self-employed was never mentioned as a career option. ‘Freelance’ was an exotic word.
No teachers ever mentioned journalism, copywriting or editing to me when I told them I wanted to be a writer. There was only a sharp whistle through teeth, as if they were a man about to tell me that the broken thing I’d brought him was about to get costly, followed by, ‘That won’t make you any money.’
If only I knew then what I know now, I’d have told that teeth whistling man to stuff it and just fixed it myself.
So, I went blindly into other careers, searching desperately for something that gave me satisfaction of a job well done.
After completing a degree in archaeology, I realised a career in a museum wasn’t one for me (but I will fall over backwards to work on heritage and cultural projects).
A short stint as a veterinary nurse taught me that I couldn’t hack it (but I am absolutely here for any pro bono work with animal charities).
And a marketing career fell flat on its arse when the workplace became so toxic that I genuinely started to lose my mind (but I’ve brought all of those skills and knowledge into my business).
After the panic attacks pushed me out of regular employment, the internet informed me that ‘freelance’ was indeed a word. A real thing. And I should give it a try.
It turns out that I am one of those people who should have been self-employed from the beginning. I can’t do a 9-5, I don’t fit in an office. I want to do things my way, to experiment, to wear what I want, and learn things before we reach them on the curriculum.
In 2014, I quit my last permanent full-time job.
In 2016, I published my first publishable novel, Matter of Time (it was my third completed novel and took me seven years to write).
I’ve been a freelance copywriter, content writer, VA, and writing coach. In 2019, I burned out and took another job in a circle of Hell, which if you know me, sounds like it should have been fun.
Write into the Woods became an editing, proofreading and formatting business in early 2021.
That’s after ten years of every marketing professional I’ve worked with asking me to edit and proofread their reports, leaflets, booklets, executive summaries, prospectuses, web pages, you name it.
Realising that I not only enjoy working with small businesses and authors on their stories and words, I LOVE it, I’m now throwing everything I have into this business.
I’m currently studying for a copy-editing qualification with the Publishing Training Centre and I’m a member of the Chartered Institute of Editors and Proofreaders.
That’s alongside my diploma in editing and proofreading, a number of courses in palaeontology (because, dinosaurs), and the previously mentioned BA Hons in archaeology.
My main goal in all of this?
To enjoy life, and to help make your book/novel/novella/website/pamphlet/brochure/report the very best it can be.
And the stuff I haven’t mentioned?
I’m an Essex girl (UK) who met the love of my life online and moved to Bristol to be with him. We got married in a zoo and live with our Labrador who is very anxious but would like to know if that’s a biscuit in your pocket.
If in doubt, cake. Always cake.