You’ll never guess what just happened.
So I’ve been trying to drum up a bit more business writing freelance. I feel like I could probably take on one more monthly gig while still managing to keep track of which of my children is which (the non-identical ones, at least). And then the Archdiocese of Melbourne went and got itself a new Archbishop, which meant a special edition for the magazine I write for, which meant they wouldn’t be needing ME to write for them this month, which left me feeling a little bereft and unwanted and resentful of the Archbishop elect (how DARE he?), especially when an extra bill came in for exactly the amount I would have been paid if it had been business as usual.
So, I had some time to sell myself to editors. But I didn’t really know how to go about it. I hunted around on websites, but couldn’t find any email addresses. Then I made myself a profile on LinkedIn, but it seemed all the editors had private accounts. When I told people about my hunt, they invariably would tell me about a newsletter of magazine they knew about that was “always looking for writers”, but which only offered the joy of seeing your name in print as payment. Thank you: no thank you.
Lovely M had some contacts, so I armed her with some material to chase them up with. But I haven’t heard back, and I didn’t want to bug her. Plus I didn’t want to face up to the idea that my writing was NO GOOD and not worth a second look. I’m going to my high-school reunion in a month and all of the publications I write for have the word ‘Catholic’ in the title somewhere. This needs to change. So I pressed on.
Then, as I was digging about on LinkedIn (“you have almost reached your browsing limit”), I found the details of the editor of the Woman’s Weekly! Perfect!
So I spent a whole day crafting a breezy-chatty-yet-professional introductory letter and chose three of my best pieces to share. I wrote about how I’d grown up reading the Weekly and how it’s still close to my heart. I showed it to my family and asked their advice. I pitched ideas for future articles that I said I was already working on. I fantasised about being Pat McDermott’s understudy (she writes “Patter” – perhaps I could write “Scatter”?). And then I waited.
Here was my plan: I figured the editor would most likely begin her day by going through her emails. She would start early – Maybe 8? Maybe 8:30? – because she might have a meeting at 9. So if I sent my masterpiece at, say, 8:45am, it would come floating in to the top of the pile right when she’s in email-reading mode. I was all set. The PDFs were attached and all of the publications I mentioned were also hyperlinks to articles I had written for said publications. Any minute now and I would press send.
But that’s not really a true picture of events. It wasn’t like I was sitting there with my finger hovering over the send button, watching the clock. I had set the laptop open with everything cued up on the kitchen table, that is true. And I got in perhaps thirty seconds worth of finger-hovering. But then Annie needed help making porridge and Poppy wanted milk poured and Christopher needed me to shout at him to stop teasing Harry, and Daisy wanted me to find the Thomas the Tank Engine spoon. And then the doorbell rang and it was my mum and I hadn’t seen her in WEEKS and she’d brought food over and we needed to talk lots as we reorganised the fridge to fit it.
Mum looked across to the kitchen table. “Uh-oh. Daisy’s on your laptop.”
“Oh, isn’t that cute!” I said. It was cute. Daisy was working away with the same intensity she must have seen her mother display countless times before. Then I froze. “Get off Mummy’s laptop, Daisy!” I exclaimed, and rushed to the table. My email page was open, as it had been before. Now, however, a line of bold text ran across the top of the screen “Your email has been sent”. Wait: what?
But surely this wasn’t such a bad thing. I was going to send the email anyway – maybe Daisy had done me a favour dispatching it in such a timely manner? It was like she was my adorable little personal assistant. I frantically scanned the sent message. It was such a bad thing.
There, in the middle of one the opening sentences, Daisy had added her own input: a string of random letters and punctuation marks. In a mad panic, I dashed off the following message:
“Oh my goodness!
With regards to my previous email, my two-year-old jumped on my laptop as I was answering the door. She made her own amendments and sent the email off before I was ready! With the exception of “wor/.,.,,,,,,,mbfczsk”, the email is what I meant to send. Please excuse young Daisy’s input and be assured that I am usually a scrupulous proofreader and never short of anecdotal material!
If you’ll excuse me, I’ll go crawl into a nice dark hole now…
Except I used Daisy’s actual name, not her blog pseudonym, because I figured I should be honest and it’s a nice name, which shows good judgement on my part.
So that was yesterday. The time in between has been spent clicking the ‘refresh’ button on my email and jumping at loud noises. But she hasn’t written back. She hasn’t written back AT ALL. I’ve taken to wringing my hands together and muttering at strangers.
I blame the new Archbishop.
PS. I just went back to look at the email I sent and discovered, on top of everything else, I wrote the name of the magazine wrong. I wrote “Women’s Weekly” – not “Woman’s Weekly”. And I did it MORE THAN ONCE. What is WRONG with me?? No wonder she hasn’t written back! She probably didn’t even read as far as “wor/.,.,,,,,,,mbfczsk”, she probably threw her computer aside in disgust when she saw I didn’t even bother getting the name of her publication right.
I need to go mutter at some strangers (“Comensoli…ComenSOLI!”)