My Writing Week

This week, it’s catch up time and things are finally coming together after a busy half-term. After a friend’s computer decided to bite the dust, taking a lot of her work with it, I thought it was time I took a look through my stored files to see what I need to store and what I really don’t need anymore.

Whilst doing this, I came across a writing experience I’d forgotten about – that of my first commission and how my baby daughter and cats almost ruined it and had me looking for another job. As you’ll see, it wasn’t my best writing week:

Never Work With Children And Animals!

When a cat magazine commissioned me to write a short piece on the safety issues concerning cats and babies for their magazine, I jumped at the chance.

The writing was the easy part. It was the photos that I had to worry about. The editor wanted a snap to show how babies and cats can get along. Surely I could do that? My 10½ month-old daughter, Charlotte loved her two cats and they loved her, but every time I clicked the camera, I ended up with a black and white furry blur or a pink one. They say never work with children or animals and it’s true!

The editor of the cat magazine wasn’t impressed with my photographic skills and sent a professional photographer to take the pictures.

I knew things were going to go from bad to worse as soon as he arrived. He seemed a perfectly pleasant chap but, as he unloaded enough equipment for a fashion shoot, I began to have my doubts. Hundreds of pounds worth of photographic gear in a room with a teething baby who liked to ram everything into her mouth? I had to ask him the question.

‘How do you find working with children and animals?’

‘Never worked with either,’ he said, cheerfully.

I could feel my stress levels rising already and he hadn’t even taken a photo.

Charlotte thought it was great fun – especially trying to take everything apart. The photographer helpfully informed me that the item Charlotte was banging on the table cost over a thousand pounds alone.

Meanwhile, the cats were nowhere to be seen. They weren’t daft. After coaxing them with cat treats (who says never resort to bribery?) they emerged.

However, they weren’t too impressed with the lounge, which now resembled a film set. More treats were offered. Well, it was close to Christmas. It seemed to be working, even more so when Charlotte moved towards the cats. It was soon apparent that she was after the treats rather than the cats and before I knew it, she had eaten a handful.

‘Mmm,’ she mumbled, holding out her hand for more.

I was getting funny looks from the photographer by this time as he clearly wondered what sort of mother I was feeding my daughter cat food. It wasn’t something I made a habit of. Honest!

Charlotte decided things needed livening up a little more and that this was the ideal moment to discover the delights of tail pulling. One minute the cats were being plied with treats and the next they were running for their lives. There was no way they were coming anywhere near me, Charlotte or the photographer for a very long time.

I just wanted the photographer out of my house and to forget all about cats and babies. As every Mum and pet owner knows, there was no chance of that.

Nevertheless, we did manage to use one photograph for the magazine. We decided to forget about the other fifty, which weren’t too great. The photo was actually quite sweet. Charlotte had a lovely smile on her face as she reached out to stroke one of the cats lovingly. In reality, she was grinning like a maniac as she was about to yank one of the poor cats’ tails.

A half-hour job took 3 ½ hours. When Charlotte had her afternoon sleep, so did Mum! Though one good thing came out of the experience – we helped the photographer decide he was never working with children and animals again!

I’d love to know if you’ve had any disastrous writing experiences like me!


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