I’ve gone and done it. That thing that freelances never, ever do. I’ve Turned Down Work. I took a call yesterday in the middle of Boots from a PR man asking if I could take on a commission with a very tight deadline and, despite every instinct wanting to say: “Yes of course! It’ll be with you by Sunday!”, I actually found myself politely declining. And it’s all because of The Book.
Earlier this year I decided that in between working for Macmillan Cancer Support and being a journalist and a copywriter and doing subbing shifts, I really needed to pitch a book idea to a publisher. It was an idea about heritage trails in this part of Wales, inspired by my being asked to write the 2011 tourism guide for Rhondda Cynon Taf. I put loads of work into the pitch, researching and brainstorming and deliberating over which font publishers like. Then a six-page contract arrived in the post and that’s when I realised my brilliant idea hadn’t gone as far as actually completing 20 walks and writing 40,000 words.
So this summer (yes, in the school holidays, when I need to squeeze in a bit of looking after my children too), I will be hiking across south east Wales and visiting museums and interviewing knowledgeable history bods. I’ve allocated September for writing (are 40,000 words possible in 10 freelance working days?), while in October (deadline month) I will be mostly panicking. But the walking and interviewing and panicking are officially on hold for the next two weeks while, in my day job, we get through a royal visit and a rather large awards ceremony.
But if anyone needs a copywriter in the next couple of months, please get in touch. Because even if I take your call six miles into a wild Welsh heritage trail, I’m really very likely to say: “Yes I’d love to write you 2,000 words by teatime.”