Don’t Forget To Be Happy

My partner has just reminded me of something, he just said, everyone who has a dream seems unhappy when they achieve it.  I want to be a writer, I am a writer, I get paid for my work, admittedly not thousands but this month I did okay, and I am complaining that I have too much to do and cannot do it all.  But I love writing and I am happy when I get to do it, so why am I complaining?  And it isn’t just me, other friends have reached goals and milestones and are not satisfied, worrying about other things and not really even acknowledging that they have done so well, when they should be pleased and proud.  Is it ambition that keeps us going? Or is it that we will never be happy?  Or both?

I am going to try and be more grateful and happy, not just about others but myself and the great things I achieve, I wanted to be a writer, and here I am writing…

EADT Tour.

Thank you Liz Nice from East Anglian Daily Times for a really interesting tour of your offices,  & question and answer session.  Was great to see a busy newspaper office and get an insight into the operation. Seems everyone works incredibly hard to make sure our local newspaper is full of relevant, up to date news. Thanks for your time.

2nd Day of Work Experience at Thompson & Morgan

27/10/15 work experience at Thompson & Morgan

I met Clare Dixey today for the first time, and it shows how we can know a person without meeting them these days due to the ease we can contact them by emails, text or telephone.  So I received another very kind welcome from Clare, who is the manager of the e-commerce department and very busy.  She said today I would be proofreading the new spring 2016 catalogue, so today was different from last week.  I can’t believe how the work provided matches the things I need to learn, what a great placement I landed myself!

I did not work with Sue but instead Clare said I was going to help Chloe, she is part of the  team who creates the catalogues we send out to customers.  And I have had customers who love to call in and tell us we have made a spelling mistake or something isn’t right etc.   with the catalogues.  Anyway she showed me next years catalogue, which was on large A3 pages, with copy after copy attached to each double page, with the item codes on a separate page.

The content had lots of writing in the margins and all over the copies, I was able to see how the magazine had organically grown.  From the first draft you can see that decisions such as certain photos were amended or better photos sought, there were  comments such as ‘this needs more work’ or  ‘this needs rewriting’ or ‘can we move this?’ were a constant in the margins.  I can imagine it gets disheartening when your pride and joy piece of writing or photograph you spent ages finding is dismissed in one foul swoop!  But that is copywriting and photography.  Lots of work goes into these catalogues, this one will go out between Christmas and new year, and it is for the spring 2016 collection of plants.  There were lots of new items and it seems we are filling out our catalogues with lots of new plants breed by T&M.  They are the only retailer in the country who trial  their own plants and breed new types.  I can remember the  Tomtato being a big thing a couple of years ago, with some success, we were all given 2 plants, I gave mine to mother in law as she is much better at gardening than I am, but I am going off topic!

I was discussing the main catalogue which Chloe said is the one which generates lots of revenue.  This is the catalogue which is sent to all our customers and the one that most of the customers look forward to receiving.  I myself have spoken to customers who read the catalogue from cover to cover, they enjoy the little things we put in them, the handy tips and hints etc.  So this is a very important catalogue, which has to be ‘just right’ and it is very important that it is perfect.  So I was given a huge pile of papers and asked to check them thoroughly, so I went through each word and corrected any mistakes, there were a few, stuff such as continuity of using /inches/ instead of /”/ things like that.  Spelling mistakes, the word /Yield/ was spelt wrong. Other things were grammar based, such as  /T&M’s promises to you/ and I think it sounded better as /T&M’s promise to you/ and a word which kept coming up was /weatherproof/ either spelt as two words, or hyphenated and sometimes as one word. Something Diana, my professional writing tutor, had told me is always be consistent so if its spelt as one word it should be this way all through the catalogue.  All the little things I found I wrote  on a word doc with a page number and then put a sticky note on the actual paperwork and also use red pen too.  Lots of ways of saying that i think something is missing or spelt wrong.  However, I felt very picky when doing the proofreading, and felt like apologising to Chloe that I had been so pedantic but she said this is great, she wants someone who can see these things.  So I think I did okay?

I proofread all day, and the day flew past.  I really enjoyed it, I am sure if i had to do it all day long every day i would be so fed up but for a few days I  would be happy to proofread anything.  Was interesting reading other peoples copy of T&M plants, as i have to do this for the copywriting i do for Sue, so it was useful to see what the in-house copywriter puts, and all the other features of the catalogue too.  I have worked at T&M for 2 1/2 years and they have given me so much confidence to go forward and try for other positions.  I have to say T&M have been really good to me, and with the work experience too, I have been extremely lucky.

What a good day, really interesting as it was something i had never done as a job before, it has helped me to  make sure I proofread my essays and copywriting completely and don’t skimp on the proofreading otherwise mistakes can cost me.  Another well filled day where I learnt lots.  Thanks T&M…

Jekyll & Hyde

Jekyll & Hyde

Watched the new ITV series Jekyll & Hyde.  Set in a different era this is a story of Dr Jekyll’s grandson, set in a period which looks very much like 1940s England.  It was good enough for me to want to write about.  As someone who doesn’t sit and watch tv much it was relaxing to be able to just sit and watch something which had substance.

I have read the original Robert Louis Stephenson novel (or novella) I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the story, dialogue and acting.   I’m definitely looking forward to the next one.

Day 1 at Thompson & Morgan Work Experience

I have completed my first day of work experience at  Thompson & Morgan and I have to say it was great.

As I already work at T&M I didn’t have to worry about starting at a new place, but I was in a department I have never been in, doing work I have never done. So it was new, but I enjoyed it.  I learnt about SEOs (Search Engine Optimisation) and how the company essentially writes for 2 different markets.  Firstly the search engine, for example Google or Yahoo, and secondly for the customer.  It is important to get the balance right with the copy written, “a peppering” is how Sue explained it.  If you add in too many key words then you will be penalised by Google, who use algorithms to decide how far up the page  you will come.

We had a meeting on this, with 2 other employees who are going to be doing other tasks.  We also learned how to add information and copy to the database at T&M.  It is a large database so it is important to narrow your search down to find the products you want, and then add the copy which has been written by the outsourced copywriters, (of which I am one!).

I also added some copy from other writers into this database, it was good to know where my copy goes after I have submitted it.

After lunch my next task it to write an article for the website.  I am going to be finding the top 10 greenhouses, so the first part of this is to research the greenhouses we have on the website and find 10 with different things about them.  I will be continuing this next week.

All in all I enjoyed myself.  Sue was extremely nice to me, made me feel welcome and although I felt as if I had made her job harder she said I had helped.  Next week I will try and be more productive and less intrusive to her day.