Millie’s writing

Other parents might glow with pride when their kids are picked for the school football or netball team, but as a writer and a bit of a nerd, this page made me proud of our Millie today (click on the pic to see a legible version).

Millie school workIt’s a piece of school work in which she was asked to create descriptive sentences from just a couple of initial words.

The Lovely Melanie showed me this because she was so pleased, too (she’s a nerdy editor, remember).  I read through it and was amazed.

Millie, I’m told, sometimes has to be stopped from writing too much.  At age eight. 🙂

If writing was a sport then imagine me now, on the sidelines shouting myself hoarse and punching the air.

Like father, like daughter – this is what makes me proud. 🙂

Writer, cramped (or How to kill a blog, part II)

I iz spend all day write stuff. Me hav none wordz left in evuning.  And me not get out of house so much now, no much to rite bout. Me try do better for nex tyme.

Trafalgar SquareTook famlee into town at weakend and be torrists.  We like Trafalgah Skware; we like Crissmus decrayshuns in Covunt Gardun; we luv cayk in cafay on Charring Cros Rowed.

We not liik jazz at Sowth Bank.  Me not kno wy we see jazz at Sowth Bank – is silly wiffe’s idear.  Jazz start to play and Amber say “Have they started yet?”  We all laff and are think “Good question, Amber.”

Amber clever.

How to kill a blog

New jobs are notorious blog-productivity killers.  Many times in the past few days I’ve thought “I should blog about this,” then remembered that of more importance is the text for a promo video, the FAQ web page and checking a job description for error – not to mention writing the girls’ Christmas book (which looks like being quite long this year).

Oh, another problem was that I was out on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening – a burst of social activity almost unheard of in modern times!  Meeting up with old Yahoo! colleagues on Monday at a pub quiz in London’s fashionable Soho (and we won!); watching Gravity at the cinema in 3D on Tuesday (best film I’ve seen in a long time!); and Wednesday I went to watch Public Service Broadcasting in London’s not-so-fashionable Kentish Town (there were balloons – lots and lots of balloons!)

Thursday, as you might imagine, I rested – well, took a nap in my lunch hour (working from home is great sometimes!)

21st century home office
21st century home office

The new job with Fotolia is going really well; the work is enjoyable, the people nice, and I’m feeling happier than I have in a long time.  Have my family noticed the difference?  Hard to say, but I certainly have: I’ve had more patience and been a lot quicker to laugh all this week.  Even the enforced home working is going better than expected.  With no rush to catch a train there’s no panic in the mornings; I can pick up the girls at 3.15 so there’s no need for after-school club – hell, even the chickens get to come out of the coop more often!

And the writing… Oh!  The glory of writing for a living once again!  I can’t tell you how much I missed it!

Seriously.  It’s so good to be back.  A little nerve-wracking at times, wondering if I’m up to the task, but mostly…just glorious. 🙂

The only downside so far is that I’ve lost my reading time.  The hour-long commute into the centre and back was perfect for reading; with that two hours of literary bliss gone I’m struggling to find the time to read.

Still, it’s only the first week, and I’ve been out a lot in the evenings, so no doubt this will settle down into some new pattern.

I’m going to be at home until the new year, when more UK people will be starting, so the company will wait till then before renting offices.

Being home until Christmas sounds fine to me.  But I’d quite like to get out of the house after then…

Stupid Chickens, part… Oh, I don’t know – but “a lot”

Working from home full-time has its good points, its bad points and its unexpected points.

Here’s one of the less expected points.

No, I don’t know what’s going on either, but they’ve been doing it for an hour now.  Sigh.

On the up!

I’m back from Paris and feeling very upbeat. 🙂

Much as I was nervous about starting at Fotolia and being shipped off to Paris it was an entirely positive experience: the people were lovely, the company was exciting and forward-looking, and what I saw of Paris was just beautiful.

I met my new boss, Benoit, and new colleague, Dinah, on Tuesday morning at St Pancras and we caught the 7.55 AM Eurostar.  The Eurostar was cool, but so efficient it was something of an anti-climax – one minute you’re in London, the next you’re in Paris: no fuss, no heavy-handed security, no waiting around.  If only all international travel could be like that.

The Fotolia offices are in the centre of Paris and we spent a lot of time there, meeting people, being shown how the Fotolia systems work and learning how the company operates.  Nothing particularly complicated; in fact we could probably have done it via Skype from the UK.  But then we wouldn’t have met our friendly new colleagues and gotten to laugh and joke with them (in English – my French doesn’t extend much past Bonjour and Merci).

Moulin RougeWe ate out every night (on expenses!) and I discovered the French have every reason to be proud of their cuisine – even their hamburgers were remarkable!  Wednesday, Ben took us out to see Montmartre, Sacré-Cœur, the Amelie cafe and the Moulin Rouge, which despite being a whirlwind tour was great fun.  Thursday night we went to the pub with most of the IT team, all of whom spoke excellent English and made us feel very welcome indeed.

What can I say?  We had a really great week in Paris – and Dinah, who’s in charge of social media, is a very nice lady, too (which is just as well, as we’re going to be sharing quite a small office together in London!)

The icing on the cake was that there was a lot of positive feedback regarding what I wrote during our stay, and that’s so important when you’re a writer/copywriter.  Because there are no right or wrong answers (you can’t pull out a spreadsheet and show someone the equations) what people think of your writing, whether they like it or not, is extremely significant.  And as much as writers have to be flexible in what we produce, there is a sort of core style that it’s easier and more natural to write in.  Fotolia seem to like my “core” style. 🙂

So, I’ve come back feeling jolly optimistic for the future; hell, I’m even looking forward to getting back to work on Monday!

The only downer was, I missed my family while away.  Paris was very nice, but it’s always nicer to get back home again. 🙂