An event I clearly recall is my first sale. It was an article for an English magazine called Home Notes. I wrote about the first time a mother had her baby’s curls cut, and gave him a ‘proper’ boy’s haircut. Suddenly he was her son rather than her baby and I described her mixed feelings of regret and pride. Regret for the last of his babyhood days and pride in the grownup looking boy he now was. With the money I earned I had some dusky pink velvet curtains made. This was something I had long wanted, real velvet curtains and they were a great luxury for me. This was in the early 1960s, and, although I wrote about a little boy’s curls being cut I had no sons but was the mother of two lovely daughters. The curtains were hung by our long French windows and I loved them.
When we moved five years later I cut them down to fit a normal size dining room window in the new house. I had enough material left to make a pair of small curtains for a window halfway up the staircase – and two cushion covers. The cushions, with their velvet covers eventually found their way to one of our daughter’s homes and the dining room curtains became our winter bedroom ones when we retired to a bungalow nearly forty years later. Not bad value for writing an 800 word article. I wrote several more features for Home Notes before it finally folded. It was an interesting, lively magazine and one I used to take regularly because one of my favourite columnists, Collie Knox, wrote for it.
Years later when I was tutoring weekly writing workshops I used to tell my students. ‘it’s not so much write about what you know but more about write for a publication you know,’ which is a fancy way of saying DO YOUR MARKET RESEARCH REALLY, ISN’T IT?
Have a good writing week.