Re-entering ‘The World Of Work’

Not quite as many books here as in the new Birmingham library but this is the 'literary phone box' I pass every day when I walk the dog.

Not quite as many books here as in the new Birmingham library but this is the ‘literary phone box’ I pass every day when I walk the dog.

As some of you know, I’m dipping my toe back into the world of work, after a bit of a ‘Cotswolds Gap’ (I’ve been on canine leave).

As well as setting up and teaching a ‘Creative Writing’ class (which starts again for a new term TOMORROW – eek – I should be preparing), I am still tutoring poetry for the Writers Bureau and now I have a new, part-time job, working as an Area Co-ordinator for The Friendship Project for Children.

It’s a very worthwhile charity (based in Warwickshire), which matches volunteers (‘Older Friends’) with disadvantaged children (‘Younger Friends’) for days out, fun and friendship. I used to be a volunteer myself, so I know the ropes from that side but of course being on the ‘staff’ is a bit different.

Today, I actually showered, did my hair, put make-up on and dressed smartly (normally, I do none of those things) and went to a proper meeting with about 20 other people from various agencies at the Fire Station in Stratford. (Sadly, no hunky firemen were on view. Actually, it turned out they were on strike! Weird. But anyway, I digress…).

When I got home I phoned my mum. “How did your meeting go?” she said.
Me: “Oh, really good! Yes. I enjoyed it. They gave us coffee and there were loads of cakes and crisps and biscuits and things… “

And I couldn’t understand why she started laughing. Hmm, you see I’m out of practice in ‘The World of Work’. I need to remember that the purpose of meetings is not to imbibe caffeine and stuff my face, right?

Birmingham Literature Festival

The Birmingham Literature Festival starts soon and a local DJ (who also happens to be doing an MA in Creative Writing), is spending the 10 days of the Festival in the brand new library (not sure if she’s actually sleeping there – I suspect not, but that would be more fun!) and her challenge is to write a 30,000 word novella – with input from the general public! It’s one way to get to know the new library, I suppose…!

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13 Responses to Re-entering ‘The World Of Work’

  1. Now this sounds like my kind of meeting – eating, drinking and chatting. Hope you managed to stop for refreshments, too…

  2. rasheed34 says:

    Hi Blog Abour Writing

    I apologise for not knowing your name. Your email is very interesting specially the part of teaching poetry and creative writing. If you are taking classes online I am very much interested to join.

    With kind regards.


  3. jossiemarie says:

    congrats on getting back into work, it sounds like you are already pretty busy. I did a course with the Writers Bureau, their prices are very reasonable and they have lots of great tips. I did their comprehensive writing course, which was a mistake really as it covered area’s I just wasn’t interested in and although I flew through everything I loved, the area’s I wasn’t so keen on were a real drag.

  4. Wendy Clarke says:

    Was there ever a meeting that wasn’t a waste of time? I go for your eating drinking type every time. Good luck with the new job, Helen.

  5. Tracy Fells says:

    Hmm I always thought the only point of meetings was caffeine and cake… maybe that’s why I love the writers’ life…
    Good luck with the new role, sounds very worthwhile and interesting too.

  6. Julia says:

    Interesting to read about the novella challenge. As you say, good publicity for the library.

  7. Oh, I’d have to stop at that phone box and linger a while. How lovely… I’m on week 11 of my new job Helen, it’s all answering the phone, sorting out pay pal or kindle problems, and typing articles on camera’s game stations etc. I’ll breathe a bit more easy when I get past the 3 months trial period… that’s if I do of course. They didn’t offer us anything like that, or a meeting, just a vending machine, microwave, and fridge in the kitchen!!! There is a cafe over the road though, but I take a sandwich.

  8. banksywrites says:

    I, too, re-entered the World of Work in the last two weeks and apart from my home life going to pot – surviving on microwave meals, running out of clean clothes – the biggest thing I missed was having the time off to attend your class. When the last course ended, I felt a bit lost and lost my mojo. But since I’ve been back at work, it’s worse. I haven’t written any fiction. Just press releases and quotes – although some might say that’s fiction.

  9. Linda says:

    Love your phone box, what a pity more weren’t kept and put to such good use.
    Your new job sounds very interesting, good luck with it!

  10. Helen Finch says:

    I’m trying to re-enter the world of working after being made redundant last December. I’ve signed up to tutor creative writing in Romford but only two takers so far – not enough to run the course. I’ve applied for all sorts of jobs but really need something part-time and school holiday friendly. I’ve even thought of writing for birthday cards! There are writing jobs out there but they all seem a little iffy to me. Any ideas would be greatly received. Am I getting priced out of the market by all the youngsters?

    Helen (Published author of two non-fiction books, various articles/short stories for children/adults) but obviously not good enough to get paid!

    • Helen
      In my experience of tutoring Creative Writing, you really have to get involved in promoting and marketing the course yourself (particularly if it’s a new one), to drum up support. If you’re doing it through a college, they often do nothing more than list the class in their brochure/website and that’s often not enough to generate enough interest. When I started my own class last April, I ‘advertised’ it in 40 different places (all for free) – including sending press releases/photos to local papers and still only managed to get 8 people, but it was enough to start the class! Good luck!

    • Another thought – they don’t pay a fortune but have you thought of approaching the Writers Bureau, to become a tutor? I know, for example, that they’ve recently lost a tutor of short stories…

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