|Not this reader's ex-husband|
I first spotted you when compiling a column / possible future blog about being a single mum, bought and read your book and was impressed --- then I lost heart with the idea a bit, then was completely knackered but carried it on on the quiet, and now have a healthy log of work to offer someone, somewhere!
When most people think of a single mum, it is of what you have written about; but there are a great many women like me who become single after marriages fall apart: me in my forties and many, many in their thirties, and I think there is room for a voice at that end of the spectrum.
I would still dearly like a magazine / newspaper column but haven't really had the courage or the wherewithall or confidence or space to do much about it until now, and there was your very kind and generous invitation! Too good to pass up, I feel.
My children are young, 2 and nearly 6 and I am ancient; so I was thinking of calling my possible blog something to do with middle-aged (single) mum but haven't got down to the nitty gritty yet. I am presently wading through 'Blogging for Dummies' which is a bit daunting, but I am getting there.
I would also love an Agent, so enclose Column 1 that was originally written for a wider audience and would have to be edited to be more blog like, but I was thinking of being honest about my intentions and perhaps introducing the columns as they stand.
Very best wishes.
Thank you for your time and effort.
It was great to receive your email and I really enjoyed the samples you sent to me. Brilliant that you bought, read, and enjoyed my book. Thanks!
I think you are absolutely right, there are lots of women who find they are single mothers in their forties, and also lots of women who wonder what it might be like to take the plunge to leave their husbands. So you definitely have something there, especially if you don't mind writing the truth about what you feel and have experienced.
I suppose this is the big one; would you be happy to write this book, blog, column, and stand in the playground chatting to other mums knowing that they have a back catalogue of history on you, and you don't on them? Would you be happy to go on a date with someone who researched you and read your book first? These things aren't very cool, and you can find yourself stuck with things to say if you've already said most of it online (I speak from my own experience --- and I'd bet my dodgy little toe that this is the same for other blog to bookers too.)
Feeling comfortable with this (paranoid) feeling is harder than you might think; and I wonder if lots of bloggers wrestle with the very show and tell nature of what they write?
Health warning over, I'll give you the advice you want to hear. I'd say writing a blog is a good route to trying to secure a book deal or a column. I say this because it has worked for many people, including me. However, there is a difference between blogging what happens each day, and blogging what is actually a story, with a hook, and a quest element. So before you begin, think about your story. Where does it begin, where might it end, what are you going to explore, and how are you going to do it? You need a beginning, a muddle, and an end.
What are your motivations? I began blogging because it was a creative exercise that interested me; it wasn't just about writing a diary online. I wanted to learn and understand how a story could be told online. I'd completed an MA in novel writing, played with short fiction, read at events, gone to events, written crappy plays and so on.
So, I think that if you want the blog to have a life outside of the blogosphere you should approach it from a writerly angle and a story angle, i.e. the main thing you want to do is to tell this story, and the blog is only a part of that.
You could, of course, not set up a blog and simply approach agents with your material and see what happens.
I take no professional responsibility whatsoever for the following, but I reckon you should:
Try your idea out, give it an existence other than on your computer and see what happens. Once you create something, and it has movement, it begins take on a life of its own: like water down a rockface, it will find its way, or simply dry up.
- Contact a few newspapers, magazines, etc, and try to get an article on this idea commissioned.
- Read your columns out at an event.
- Organise a discussion group around the theme (a teaparty for charity or something)
- Talk about the issue on local radio.
- Join a writers group.
- Set up a blog, website, podcast, Vlog etc,
In many ways, all of the above can be strengthened by having an online presence. It's useful to have something to show.
It seems to me from your email that you are feeling cautious. Convince yourself that the absolute worst that can happen is that someone will say no; yes, your ego will take a bashing, you will sit on the sofa and chew your hair, you might drink too much wine, but 'No' is only a word... if you hit a 'No' then you need to be canny, and like water over a rockface, avoid the lumpy bits, and find another way around.
I will answer questions for cash: if you donate to cancer research here RACE FOR LIFE...