Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Post-It Note post

I know I said I wouldn't do this, but today there is no avoiding it. Last week I put a photo of my novel manuscript up on Facebook. 540 neat, pristine pages, tidily arranged in a precise block of paper. "Just need to revise my revisions," I updated with glee. 

Today I give you the revised version of that manuscript. Liberally covered in post-it notes. And scrawly handwriting with such helpful tips as 'write more here'. With any luck I will remember what that was all about when I go to input all my changes tomorrow.

I have been through this manuscript so many times I was sure it was clean. I knew I had to add in a few more bits, but I sincerely thought two or three post-its with 'write more here' would do it. It just goes to show you how different text looks when printed on a page. It is given a weight that it simply does not have on a screen. It reads differently. The eye picks up mistakes and repetition and the fact that there are several phrases that I use over and over again. Written quirks that need to be culled.

Last week I wrote a little post about bringing the fun back to blogging, as a way of avoiding the Post-it Note post. The one in which I point out the importance of printing out your manuscript and editing it with a red pen and, yes, a million post-it notes. Today, exactly a week later, I'm writing it anyway.

Print your words out. It puts a surprising distance between you and your initial thoughts.  A surprising and useful distance. Read your words out loud. Then scrawl all over them with red pen. And mark the place with a Post-It note.

Some things in life, including editing, are best and easiest when done the old-fashioned way.

As an added bonus, I have depleted all my Post-It Note supplies and must now purchase new ones. Cute ones. Inspirational ones. I would never be without them.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The youth hostel... but not as we know it

When I was in my twenties, I spent a fair bit of time in one youth hostel or another. The silk sleepsheet. The sleeping bag that never, ever rolled back into its bag. The communal everything. The telephone cards. The crowd of tanned, long-legged backpackers who always looked cooler and more street-smart than I did.

The dorm room with 20 bunks, which always featured one group who went to bed early and woke everyone up as they left at the crack of dawn. And one group who woke everyone up as they came to bed reaaaallly late, and then threw shoes at the people who rustled around in the backpacks at the crack of dawn.

I remember eating countless permutations of Bread and Cheese. Cheese and Bread. Bread without cheese. Cheese without bread. I vaguely remember communal television rooms but don't remember ever watching television in a hostel - really, who had time?

On Saturday night, Fam Fibro stayed at the YHA Hostel in the Big Smoke. The one with the archaeological dig in the basement and the roof garden with an extraordinary view of the lights on Sydney Harbour. The one with the cafe and the 'internet station'. The one with, good grief, a lift!

We had a family room all to ourselves - queen-sized beds, double bunk - with linen provided and an en suite. Even a television.

My how times change.

And yet, they do not. On our way in at around 8.30pm there was a tour group in the foyer being told in no uncertain terms that if they were not ready to leave at 9am - on the dot - the bus would go without them. At reception, there was a young woman, almost in tears, insisting that she did have a booking. And the crowd was mostly tanned, long-legged backpackers, probably the children of those ones who always looked cooler and more street-smart than I did.

Oh, and that group who woke everyone up as they came to bed reaaaallly late? Yep, they're still there too. Only this time I was on the other side, ready to wreak my revenge when my children awoke at the crack of dawn.

How long has it been since you visited a Youth Hostel? Were they a big part of your life at any stage?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Red-faced: A short lesson in Email 101

Today, as I was racing out the door, two half-dressed children shouting in my ears, one piano lesson to get to, I received an email. A response to something I'd sent out, intended to be passed on to someone else. With one eye on the job and one ear on the kids, I forwarded said email - with a smart-arse remark added.

I walked away from the computer. I gulped. Who had I just sent that email to?

I went back. I checked. I died a little inside. I had hit reply and the whole thing, smart-arse remark included, had gone back to the person who'd sent me the response, not to the person for whom I'd intended it.

I died even more. My face turned red. My children were still teeming and writhing, shouting, not doing what they were supposed to do. We were late and now my stress levels were at 500 percent.

"Stop making noise! Mummy's made a horrible mistake. I need to decide what to do."

Silence. They slunk out the door.

I bashed out a quick email. Full of sincere apologies. Full of horror. Full of pleas for forgiveness.

And then I had to go, out the door, mind in turmoil. Why had I put a smart-arse remark on it? I never do that. Why had I not double-checked before I hit send? I always do that.

Except I didn't.

The boys sat quietly in the back seat. "Will it be okay Mum?" Mr8 asked, little voice tremulous.

"I hope so," I said.

I dropped him at his lesson. And then Mr5 sat quietly in the car while I rang the person to whom that email had gone. So that I could apologise in person, and explain how I never do that, and ... grovel really. She laughed. She told me that I was lucky that it had gone to someone who was not going to worry about it. I agreed that I was lucky. She explained her position, addressing my smart-arse remark. I agree that she was right. Because she was right, and I was just being a smart-arse to the friend to whom I had been intending to send that email.

We agreed that I would be more careful in the future.

When I picked Mr8 from his lesson later, he asked me if I was still worried. "No, I rang the person and sorted it out," I said. Parental inspiration struck. "That's what you should do if you make a mistake," I continued, in my best-mother-knows-best voice. "Own up straight away and talk to the other person. If you leave it and let it fester it only makes things worse."

And always, always, always check the recipient on your emails before you press send.

Just another new Life Rule to add to the handbook.

Have you ever sent an email to the wrong person? What was the result? Please make me feel better. I'm dying here. And have you got a new Life Rule to add to the handbook?

[image: I love this little 'sorry' card from littlepiggypants/etsy]

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A blog post decided by Twitter

Sometimes it's good to remember that blogging is supposed to be fun. When you get caught up in the schedule of it all, it can seem a relentless chore. Particularly when you've got stuff going on elsewhere.

Tonight, too full of melted cheese to move or think, I racked my brain for a blog topic. This would not happen if I truly did schedule my posts and had a sensible plan and all that good stuff. But we all know that batch writing is not my strong point. Such is life. It happened.

When I realised that I was about to write an entire post about post-it notes, I decided I'd better fall back on my fallback plan. I turned to Twitter. And tweeted this:

"Brain is wishy washy tonight. Need a blog post topic. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Twitter did not let me down. A deluge of subject matter came my way.

"Do you believe in soul mates?" asked @CarlyTGBTD
No. I think the 'soul mate' phenomenon is the reason that so many marriages fail. People believe they've found their perfect mate, then discover that mate is not perfect. Nobody's perfect. No one person can give you everything you need. But they decide that person is not their soul mate and move on. I believe that love is a right time, right person, right place equation. And I believe that it takes work. The best things in life take effort.

@JohnLacey offered the following writing prompt: "This one time, at band camp..."
In my book, what goes at band camp, stays at band camp.

@Jolenejolene9 and I got into a bit of a discussion about whether or not you tell someone that there is spinach between their teeth, or a booger hanging out of their nose. I confess that I cannot help myself. I am in the 'you have a little something in your teeth/on your nose' camp. Why? Because I'd want to know, rather than walking around all day having people stare at me for all the wrong reasons. Jolene tries to avoid staring, but is drawn in anyway. I still say she has more friends than I do. People do still shoot messengers.

@Kezalu wondered if I could write about why Shrove Tuesday is called Pancake Day. I had to decline. I would have to research that as the vague stirrings of memory from my grade three religion class would not sustain an entire blog post. Either that or I would have to wake up Mr8 and ask him.

@LindaDrummond called me on the Bueller reference and wanted to know what I'd do with the ultimate day off. I had to confess that I'd probably sleep. Ferris Bueller would be so disappointed. She agreed, and has taken to calling me Cameron (reference for Bueller buffs).

@ClaireyHewitt is dieting and all her suggestions were food-based. She is also cranky, so wanted to know if I got cranky when I dieted. I don't know. I don't diet. The rest of her tweets are censored due to extensive abuse of melted cheese.

@TwitchyCorner had her own #twitterdecides moment. "New year, new school mums- make an effort? Sink or swim?" she wrote. My response: "Tread water whilst surveying the horizon. Scope out the strongest swimmers. Avoid the rips."

And lastly, @Ms_MotorbikeNut had the most sensible suggestion of all. To use all the responses to create the post. So I did. And here it is.

And you know what? It was fun.

[image: my next post may well be about post-it notes so I will be prepared with some of these 'toadily cool' ones from UnicornPaper/Etsy]

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Old friends: nurture and nature

This morning, the boys and I popped out to the beach to visit some old friends of mine. Old friends. I've known them 20 years, which is around the half-my-life mark, so they qualify. I met them when I was living in London. In fact, I lived with them when I was living in London.

They remind me of a time in my life that was fraught with emotion - the highs and lows - and filled with the pursuit of fun. They remind me of afternoons spent playing 500 and drinking vodka and fresh lime. Scrabble championships. Sofas that were always full of Australian backpackers. A front door that was always open to friends (even at 4am).

They remind me of evenings spent in a smokey pub with a pint and a packet of crisps. Of music and comedy and films and even a rollercoaster or two. Of people who cleaned the bath three or four times a week and people who never cleaned it at all.

Of laughter. So much laughter.

"Who are we visiting?" asked the boys.

"I used to live with them in London."


"Did you used to live in London?" asked Mr8.

"Where's London?" asked Mr5.

It made me think about all the questions I should have asked my Mum and Dad by now. About the stuff we tell our children, and the stuff we don't.

Later, back at home, as the sun grew weaker and a storm began to roll in, we decided that we would go for a bushwalk. One of the joys of Fibrotown is the proximity of bushwalks. There's one right in the middle of town. I have memories of spending hours there as children, on our own. It was just up the road. Did we spend hours there, on our own, or did it just seem that way?

Going back there today was like visiting an old friend. As I followed the boys along the trail, I wondered when I would feel comfortable letting them spend hours up there on their own. I couldn't formulate a response, even in my own head.

Has the world changed so much, or have I?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fibro Q&A: Will a features editor steal my idea?

One of the questions I'm most often asked by freelancer writers who are starting out is this: will a features editor really consider my idea when I have no experience? My answer is always yes - if your pitch is strong enough, if your idea is good enough, if you give him or her enough reason to think that you can.

But why take my word for it?

My friend Alex Carlton is the Associate Features Editor, and Wellness Editor, at marie claire magazine here in Australia. I asked her to give me a job description to make my life easier, and this is what she wrote:

 "I help come up with the features well each month [fyi, this is the bank of features that make up the middle of a magazine - the meat], making sure we have the right mix to keep our readers interested. Features come from our own heads, from the news, from other publications (we buy a story or two here and there) and from our freelancers. Along with the rest of the features team, I commission, edit and write (and then re-edit and rewrite in a crescendoing frenzy as deadline approaches).

"And I attempt to read and digest every single word written by every journo, blogger, writer or publication on the entire planet every day, so I can do my best to know as much as it is humanly possible for one person to know about what's going on in the world. *collapses*"

It's a tough job, but she's the person to do it. She's smart, funny, a great writer herself... and she's the gatekeeper for that idea of yours. So, to help make it a bit easier, I thought I'd invite her over to the Fibro, ply her with cooling drinks, and ask her some of the questions I know you want answered.

What does a freelancer need to do to catch your eye with their pitch?
AC: "There are no magic tricks here. I'm not going to tell you not to send me chocolate and flowers, of course (in fact, send me some now. Now.), but the idea is key. If you send a kick-arse idea, I'll consider it. But I do mean kick-arse, especially if I haven't worked with you before. It would need to be a fresh take on a topic I've never considered, access to a real person I would struggle to find myself, a tale that will make me shout "WHAT THE HELL?!" out loud so my colleagues leap from their seats and crowd round my desk.

"I'd also advise that one fabulous idea is much better than 10 so-so ones."

What are the qualities that you look for in a freelance writer?
AC: "marie claire has extremely high standards for its writers. We need our freelancers to understand that we have a definite style, and they need to be able to adjust their own way of writing to suit our guidelines. For our hard-hitting stories, we need solid, extensive reporting, making sure we cover every angle. For our lighter stories, we want it to be fun, clever, zeitgeisty. We also love a twist or a surprise (for example, our first spread will often pose a question... then the turn will answer it in a way that you don't expect). Surprise us with your pitch!

"Before you pitch to any magazine, you should grab at least three recent copies, and pay particular attention to what we call the 'slug' at the top of the story. That's the descriptor in the top corner of each feature. Looking at a recent issue, some of our slugs have included: crime report, society, sex lives, challenge, special report. It's essential to think about where your idea fits, and mention that in the pitch. Doesn't fit? It's not right.

"Also ask yourself this: what does this story give the marie claire reader? What will it make her feel? Will it make her laugh, cry, gasp or learn?

"Shorter pitches are better than longer - if the idea is good, it should be immediately obvious. But it's always advisable to suggest how you intend to structure a piece - what the main body would be, any break-outs, and even how you could imagine it being illustrated. Again, refer to recent copies of the magazine. We do things the way we do things for a reason - and if you can demonstrate that you understand that, and that your story will work in our format, then you're halfway there."

What if a writer has a great idea, but little or no experience? How can they convince you to take a chance on them?
 AC: "I'm so glad I can tell you this scenario is possible. Just recently, I was sent a well-written story by a stranger. The story itself was a very old idea, but I kept reading because the reporting and tone were good. Then, in the second-to-last par, I discovered the seed of a very good story. However, I wasn't 100 per cent convinced I could rely on this woman to give me the story I wanted, as her experience was minimal. So we agonised for a while, and in the end I contacted her and came to an arrangement. I'm going to the write the story based on her idea. She's going to come on the story with me and provide all the additional reporting, for a small fee and a byline. Then, if that goes well, I'll commission her properly for more stories in the future."

When freelance writers are starting out, they're often worried about protecting their ideas - any advice on how they can ensure that a mag won't simply take the idea and get a staff writer to do the story?
AC: "Personally, I've never worked anywhere where this has happened. We're real people and we do have ethics! In the case of the woman mentioned in the previous question, I was very torn. I loved her buried idea, but it would involve a costly shoot and I didn't feel comfortable trusting it to someone I hadn't worked with. So I was very upfront and came to the arrangement I did, which she was very happy about.

"Sometimes, a magazine is already planning a story when someone pitches the same, or a similar idea. This leads some people to think their idea has been 'stolen', when it's far more likely it was one of those magic ideas floating around in the collective consciousness anyway.

"I advise people not to worry about it too much."

Is marie claire looking for any particular types of stories right now? And anything you don't want to see?
AC: "We're always looking for fun, stunty pieces. We love a relationship challenge. And grown-up sex stories. I do mean grown-up though - no 'how to give him a blow job' stuf! Oh, and if I am ever pitched another story about the shocking phenomenon of 'designer vaginas', I will gnaw my eyes out."

Didn't see your question answered here? Fret not. Alex has agreed to be my guest at the next Fibro Facebook Chat, which will take place on Monday 20 February at 8.30pm (AEDST) on the Fibro Facebook page. If you've ever wanted to corner a real-life features editor and ask them anything - this is your chance! Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You will never find time to write your novel

Over the past few months, I've written a lot of articles to help promote Career Mums. You'll find an extract in this month's Madison, a story coming up in Cosmopolitan Pregnancy, a series of stories on kidspot.com.au, and a range of others. All different angles on the rich subject matter that is working mums.

One story has given me more food for thought than others.

I interviewed Emma Grey from WorkLifeBliss for an upcoming story. Emma is one of the experts who features in Career Mums, and she is my go-to girl for simple tips about balancing work and home life. I won't give too much away, but I wanted to share one quote from the story that really stood out in my mind - and which neatly sums up much of her advice in our book.

"You won't find the time to do the things you want to do," she said. "You have to make the time."

I used this quote with gay abandon (fully attributed of course) last week when I was talking to a group of businesswomen about how working mums can make time for themselves in the melee of work and family life. But the same advice could be directed at writers.

Just as you will never write your book if you wait for the perfect place in which to write it, so too you will never write your book if you wait for the perfect time. You have to fit it in. Get up early if that works for you (as it never has for me). Stay up late. Write when the baby is sleeping, or when the children have a rest after lunch. Squeeze it in.

I don't think I've ever put aside an entire day to write. It would scare me. I would end up cleaning the fridge and washing the windows instead. Over the past eight years, I've written four published books, one soon-to-be published novel, three unpublishable romance novels, and the opening chapters of a children's book. These were my 'side projects', written in and around and between countless mortgage-paying magazine articles and the fulltime, then part-time, then full-time, then part-time care of my two children.

I am now child-free, during school hours, five days a week. If I had waited for the perfect time, I'd probably just be starting out now. Or washing my windows.

The time to start is now.  

[image: don't you just love these book clocks by Hilda Grahnat?]

Monday, February 13, 2012

The best of all possible worlds

The Builder and I are a little bit Big Smoke-sick at the moment. We've been in Fibrotown three years, and while we love it here, we have a keener sense now of the people and places that we miss than we did just after we moved. The thrill of the new has worn off and the pall of the old is lifting. Things that drove us mad in the Big Smoke before we left have taken on the glow of nostalgia. "Remember how we used to have to fight for a parking space?" "Ha, that was funny!"

On the weekend, we found ourselves in the Big Smoke. It really is a beautiful city. When you go as a visitor, you tend to take the best of the city and suck it dry. We took the boys to the Picasso exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW.

With one boy each firmly in hand, we viewed 150 works by an acknowledged master. I had Mr5, so my trip through the gallery was somewhat faster than The Builder's. I had time to take in not only the works of Picasso, but the First Aid station, the toilets (three times), the gallery shop (twice), the foyer (twice) and even an unused storeroom downstairs and the staff-only lift. You get to see a different side to a gallery when you go where the small people go.

After our gallery exploration, we found ourselves, as you do, in the Botanic Gardens. The boys ran down the paths like, well, like little boys released from the confines of an art gallery. I wandered along behind, taking note of all the people (okay, young people) lying around on the grass in various stages of undress, soaking up the (rare) sunshine, and doing not much in particular.

"Remember when you had that much time?" I asked The Builder. He agreed that he could dredge a memory like that from the dark recesses of his mind.

I remember when I first moved to the Big Smoke. Back when I was 17 and Mum and Dad installed me in a Women's Hostel in the inner city with 51 other girls aged 17-20. We would often find ourselves in the Bot Gards on the weekends. Many of us were from the country, and it was the biggest expanse of green we could find. Right on the Harbour, surrounded by high-rise buildings, it was the best of all possible worlds. We'd spend entire days down there, lying around, doing nothing in particular, occasionally getting up to throw a ball or something. So much time.

I'm not sure I appreciated it at the the time, but one of the greatest gifts of youth (alongside beauty, optimism, lack of fear, firm skin, slim thighs and all the other good stuff) is time. Time to do nothing. Time to do everything.

But I didn't have too much time to think about it all yesterday. We only had 11 minutes left on the parking meter and had to visit the new IKEA before we drove back to Fibrotown. In traffic.

What was that I was saying about time?

What do you think is the greatest gift of youth?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Modern dilemma: Did I do the wrong thing?

This morning as I left the school after drop-off, swinging my keys and whistling because Mr5 had gone in like a dream, a worried little face approached me. "Excuse me," he wobbled, "what's the time?"

It was 9.10am.

"Are you waiting for the bus?" I asked.

"Yes, number four," he said. "I've been here about 25 minutes."

There is one bus that often runs late. It disgorges its kids after the bell at the primary school and I see high school kids getting more and more anxious waiting for it. I'd never seen this guy before, so surmised he was year 7. He was clearly worried.

So was I. The bus had never been this late before. I was thinking he'd manage to miss it.

I found myself in a dilemma. The mother in me wanted to put him in my car and drive him to school, taking the worried look off his face, and ensuring that he didn't stand at that bus stop all day.

But I was torn. The mother in me also didn't want to put him in the position of having to decide whether to accept a ride with a stranger. No matter how nice and well-meaning I was. Because the next stranger might not be so nice or well-meaning.

We stood and looked at each other. He wanted me to fix it for him, somehow. I wanted to fix it for him, somehow. But modern times have made it very bloody difficult to be charitable. Under normal circumstances, I would have whipped out my phone and rung his mum. But, of course, today of all days, I'd left my phone plugged into the wall, charging merrily, of no use to anyone.

"Do you live nearby?" I asked. He did. Around the corner.

"Maybe give it five more minutes and then pop home again," I said. I was relieved when he nodded, not saying 'oh, there's no-one there'. We looked at each other for another long moment before I smiled, wished him luck and walked away. Feeling like a heel.

I drove around the corner and was detoured by a policeman (thanks to an emergency situation), which brought me driving back around the block past my anxious little friend. I considered stopping and telling the policeman about him. What would I say? I kept driving. On the way back around, he saw me and gave me a little wave. I drove away. Feeling like a heel.

So tell me. Did I do the wrong thing? Should I have driven him to school to wipe the anxious look off his face? I kept thinking of Daniel Morcombe, who waited for a bus that never came. I wondered what I would have wanted for my own boys. Whom I have schooled over and over to never get in a car with a stranger. No matter how nice and well-meaning.

What would you have done?

[image: I love this illustration by NanLawson/etsy - sums up how we both felt]

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Scaling a mountain

I've been working on the edits for my novel. Slowly going through, moving a mass of words around. Putting all that thinking into action. And you know what? It feels pretty good. Now that I've actually started, I'm remembering that I was the person who wrote the book in the first place. Of course I can make changes to make it better!

I'm about 100 pages in at the moment. Still in the foothills, with an enormous climb ahead of me. The big changes are still ahead, waiting, looming, but my travels through the foothills are helping me to set up a good base for when that moment arrives.

I think it's going to be okay. At least until I find myself hanging out over a precipice with no safety net and nothing between me and a very thin plot line (not that this will happen, of course... no way).

Starting really is the best cure for fear. You can't focus on the anxiety while you're trying to flesh out a character or build a setting.

All will be well. Just as long as I keep climbing - and don't look down.

[image: mountain notebook by LittleAlexander/Etsy]

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The woman who saved my Sunday*

The Builder and I have been living under a lucky star. Right up until last Friday. When it all came crashing down. Under a pile of books. Books that needed to be covered. In contact. By Monday.

The news was broken to me by Mr8. "Take this Mum," he said, handing me his school bag in the pouring rain. "It's really heavy."

I picked it up, wondering how a lunchbox, a water bottle and an empty reader bag had suddenly gained weight.

"Good grief!" I said. "What's in here?"

"All my books," he said, nonchalantly. "They need to be covered. In contact. Can we get some with pictures on it?"

My mind flashed back to our last experience with contact. Two textbooks in kindy. Two textbooks that had taken The Builder about three hours (and not a small amount of swearing) to cover in contact. Without pictures.

"Sure," I said. "I'll give them to Dad."

It must be said that The Builder is often lumbered with any task that requires precision. Mostly because he is a precise kind of guy. Who likes things done precisely. I, on the other hand, tend to take the 'they're not marking us down for air bubbles' approach, which may, in unkind terms, be described as, er, slapdash.

"There are books to cover," I mentioned that night over a glass of wine. "Nine, to be precise." He rolled his eyes. "I'll start tomorrow," he said. "No point in leaving it to the last minute."

"Er, you'll have to wait until I buy the contact. With pictures," I responded. He rolled his eyes.

Slap dash.

The next afternoon, as he sat at one end of the dining table armed with four rolls of contact (yes, pictures, see above), scissors, a ruler and a teatowel (for 'smoothing'), I asked him if he wanted me to Google a You Tube tutorial on how to cover books. He rolled his eyes (seriously, can't wait for the teenage years around here), muttered something about not needing instructions, and proceeded.

Ninety minutes later, he went out for a bike ride. Having covered three books. He had tried many methods during that period. The hanging-book-off-side-of-table method. The call-in-the-wife-to-hold-contact method (I was banished soon after for not preventing air bubbles). The call-the-wife-in-to-hold-the-book method (I was banished soon after for not preventing air bubbles). Every time I looked over, he was in a new position, trying something new.

It wasn't pretty.

This afternoon, while he was otherwise engaged, I thought I'd have a go. I knew that I ran the risk of, gasp, air bubbles, but I also wanted to go to the beach that afternoon and figured that any progress I made got us closer. Being a girl who likes instructions, I Googled 'How to cover a book in contact' and found my saviour.

Grace at Living Footprints has created a seven minute video on how to do the job. Seven minutes? If she could manage the whole process in that time, then, even allowing for the fact that Jamie Oliver's 30-Minute Meals take me at least one hour, I was going to knock the books over before The Builder got home. I watched her video and loved her even more for the fact that the first two minutes and thirty seconds are taken up with gathering tools, cutting out paper, and trying to separate the damn contact from the backing paper.

Video complete, I sat down at the table and had a book covered in 15 minutes. Yes, there was a crease (tiny, really, hardly noticeable at all), but by the time I'd done my second, I was air-bubble-free! Yes!

When The Builder came home, I was still in my pyjamas at 2.30pm, but I had a neat pile of books ready to go. And two little boys ready to go to the beach.


The only downside of the whole arrangement? It appears that I have created myself a job. The Builder is so far resisting efforts to watch Grace's excellent how-to video... and so the book covering role is now mine. Unlike Grace, however, I will not be inviting you all to send your books round to the Fibro for me to cover. My love affair with her method does not extend that far.

Have you covered school books this year? Which method do you favour? 

*I was going to call this The Woman Who Saved My Sunday (and my marriage), but I thought that might be overly dramatic.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The time when Lisa Wilkinson mentioned my name (on the tele)

Today was an exciting day. My name was on the tele. In full. Allison Tait. Oh, my co-author Kate Sykes did a brilliant three minutes on television, sharing all her expertise and the wonder of our book, Career Mums, with the audience of Today. I was very proud.

Then Lisa Wilkinson mentioned my name. On the tele.

It was quite a thrill.

You can watch the whole thing, including the name drop, right here:


Kate is very good. A natural on the tele. Much like my name.

PS: I wanted to do that cool embedding thing, but it seems this is not possible if it's not a You Tube video. Or maybe it's just not possible if you are me...
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