I am back from The Eternal City. It seems to have taken me all week to a) recover! (erm, there was a lot of walking and a lot of Negronis and b) to get into the swing of writing again.
Does anyone else find that? When you stop, it’s hard to get going again?
Now of course, it’s only right that I ‘decorate’ this blog post with a little bit of culture, so here is a photo of the Colosseum in all its glory. We had a guided tour and it was well worth it.
And, ahem, I also should mention that we visited the Keats-Shelley House at the foot of the Spanish Steps, in support of the English Romantics (hmm, it was a bit depressing, to be honest. There we were, in the actual room where poor Keats breathed his last, at the tender age of 25…)
But if you scroll down to the end, there’s also a bit of ‘tat’. Otherwise known as ‘fraternising with the locals’. Well, it had to be done! (I can only put a small version of this photo on here because my friends, unlike me, are serious career women – I know, shame – and will kill me if they spot this!)
Now, there comes a time when the writing has to stop (which makes it sound like I do nothing else – sadly, that’s not the case) and ADMIN must be attended to!
I had a bit of a shock the other day when HMRC (otherwise known as ‘the tax man’) sent me a stern letter, informing me that my self-assessment tax return for the year 2010-2011 was INCORRECT!
To cut a very long story short, it turned out that a previous employer of mine (who shall remain nameless – suffice to say it was the one that I wanted to SKIP away from when I finally left, but my sprained ankle prevented me), got my P60 wrong and failed to send me a P45 when they should have and, consequently, I didn’t declare some earnings that I should have declared and I owed the tax man £450 plus, possibly, penalties for getting it wrong. Aaagh.
As a person of ‘low means’, this was rather a frightening prospect but they clearly took pity on me and when the bill arrived, I hadn’t been charged penalties but, fair enough, I’ve had to pay the outstanding tax.
So, those of you who also complete a ‘self assessment’ every year (and if you’re earning anything from your writing, then you really should be), beware! And don’t be afraid to query things like P60s if you don’t think they’re right, because it’s YOU that will get it in the neck if you fill your form out incorrectly!
Which brings me nicely onto The ALCS.
The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society is something else that you need to consider, if and when you’re earning any money from your writing. (Writer and tutor Elaine Everest gets all her students to register with ALCS the moment they have their first piece of work accepted for publication!)
I have now registered – it’s easy, you can apply on-line here and then it just costs a one-off fee of £25. The idea is, you list everything (books, magazine articles or stories) you’ve had published in the last 3 years (since January 2011) and the ALCS will search for – and advise you of – any royalties you’re owed. So you can just sit back and wait for the money to roll in…! (I’m sure it’s a bit more complicated than that but hey, it’s worth a go, isn’t it?)