Life After Teaching – Day 2

The start of an exciting journey
Photo by Clemens van Lay on Unsplash

Since my last blog

I should start by saying that the title of these blogs seems a bit misleading. It definitely isn’t day 2. Far from it. Quite a few days have passed. We’ve been on holiday, well, camping, if that could ever be described as an actual holiday. At times camping feels like a punishment for something bad you’ve done in a former life. We’ve also had a few days in London to show the kids the sites which was manic and exhausting so neither really qualify as a holiday. Not much relaxing was done – but are holidays with kids ever relaxing?

I thought today would be a good day to update you on my journey, my transition (not that kind) from bedraggled teacher to aspiring writer. It has been very busy so I will brief you on what I have been doing, apart from lying in a dark room, sobbing mumbling  ‘What have I done? What have I done?’

Before you all ask – let’s be honest though, no-one is really asking. No-one has yet commented on any of my blogs. No-one. Nothing. Not even to tell me what a deluded douche bag I am. I mean, one thing I hated about teaching was the constant stream of other professionals in my room, on a learning walk (keep friggin’ walking) or doing a drop in (seagulling more like), the silence from my audience (that’s you) is a little unnerving. 

Thanks to those of you who have liked my blogs – I’m like Bear Grylls, surviving on these tiny crumbs, washed down with a cup of my own paranoid piss.

Stop wittering – where is Jeanette?

So, where were we – oh yes, before you ask, Jeanette will be making a reappearance. Back by public demand. She seemed to strike a chord with a lot of you so I’ll share her exploits with you later.

But first – what have I been doing? Summer has disappeared like chicken wings at a barbecue, as it so often does and my former colleagues have strapped on the armour, got loaded up with valium and are currently steeling themselves for the onslaught that is the Autumn term. Just get to half term. You can do it.

So, the only noticable difference is that I have actually been sleeping, which is a refreshing change. I haven’t had any of those cold, sweaty, back to school dreams where I wake up screaming and sobbing – which is nice. I feel lighter, springier, bouncier, which is completely out of character for me. 

Last month, after trawling the internet for the best part of 2 months, I finally enrolled on a copywriting course. There are quite a few out there, and the one I plumped for came out of the blue, mostly because it was created by an English company. I haven’t got a problem with Americans per se, it was just the voice of the course leader I found annoying after listening to a podcast for an hour. It would grate on me after a few weeks of video content so I went for a guy in a trilby, which is another can of worms I’m not gonna open right now.

Copywriting
Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Where to start with Copywriting

So, if you are thinking about doing a copywriting course, here’s my twopenneth worth. The Creative Copywriter Academy (https://academy.creative-copywriter.net/) is run by the folks from The Creative Copywriter agency. On the face of it they seem like a bunch of London trendy types, which they kind of are (see Konrad’s aforementioned trilby) but I can’t speak highly enough of the course. It’s a combination of videos, text and tasks which takes you through the steps from complete newb to ready for work copy and content writer. There is also brilliant support from the community where you can share work, get priceless feedback, ask questions, talk to the professionals and get all the info and support you need to fight off those imposter syndrome demons.

The other course which I have since learned comes highly recommended is the Filthy Rich Writer (https://filthyrichwriter.com/) which is a little more expensive and is delivered by Nicki Krawczyk, a seasoned copywriter with 15 years experience, and is pretty much the same sort of thing. She knows her stuff and the course has a really good online community which is one of the most important aspects of any course as it connects you with like minded individuals who are on the same journey as you. These connections are vital. They end up being your peers as you navigate your way through the often confusing landscape of copy and content writing to your chosen niche. 

What else?

Talking of connections, I have been putting myself out there, writing wise, in an effort to get some work under my belt. I have kind of resigned myself to the idea that I need a website to market myself and showcase my (currently non-existent) portfolio. But before I have that in place, I have been trawling the websites out there that advertise writing jobs. Some are better than others, but it depends on the kind of writing that you want to do. Below is a list of some of the most popular ones.

https://www.upwork.com/

https://www.contena.co/

https://solidgigs.com/

https://www.flexjobs.com/

https://www.fiverr.com/

https://problogger.com/

https://www.peopleperhour.com/

I’ll be honest, the only ones I have had much experience with are Upwork and People Per Hour. People Per Hour seems like slave labour to me. I haven’t bid for many jobs on there as it is so super competitive that the prices are driven down until you are basically slaving away for very little reward. A little soul destroying to be honest. 

I have had much more success with Upwork. It has a great range of jobs on there, and the pricing seems much more reasonable. Don’t panic – I don’t think that you can sustain a decent income on Upwork, but it is a good place to cut your teeth, develop your skills and get some work for your portfolio. The jobs are conveniently organised by expertise level so you can be honest about where you are on your journey and get jobs that fit.

Through Upwork, I have made some good contacts, which is where I think career development comes from. I have learned that to succeed in this career, you need to make as many connections as possible and it is these relationships that will help you find sustainable work.

So that’s where I am. It’s small steps at the moment but hopefully, it will gain momentum as I meet more clients, develop my skills and experience, and find out what I enjoy doing the most.

Please feel free to ask a question or comment below. Or if you are a copywriter and you have any nuggets you want to pass on out of the goodness of your heart. Or, if you even just want to call me a deluded douche bag. 

Until next time.

Ok, ok, Jeanette. The stage is yours.

Jeannete idly flicked though the channels, killing time before Loose Women. She lay across her cream faux leather sofa, nursing a cup of coffee as Tyler played on the floor with his broken Transformer. From where she was sat, Jeanette could tell that his nappy needed changing. As he stood up, it swung beneath his crotch like a cow’s udders, revealing the tell tale brown staining at the edges, and unleashing a foul stench into the room. 

Jeanette sighed, but there was no way she was changing it now. Loose Women was her one escape from the drudgery of looking after the kids – well, apart from from This Morning, and A Place in the Sun, oh, and The One Show…. And The Chase. But that was it, the rest of her time was filled with chores, chores and more chores. Jeanette thought about how much easier it had been before Kyle had moved out. Not that he did much around the house. But she did miss his mum, Brenda, coming round most days and hoovering around, cleaning the kitchen and fixing the kids some lunch. Now he was gone, Brenda only really came over on Sundays, and never early enough to make a roast.

The familiar music filled the room as Jeanette brought the coffee mug closer to her face, not to drink it, but to mask the stench seeping out from Tyler’s nappy. Jeanette relaxed a little more, and stretched. Her pink slipper teetered on the toe of her trailing foot as she settled in for half an hour of gossip, bitchiness and scandal. Great.

‘Ding-Dong’. Shit, the door, There was no way Jeannete was answering that. It was probably Jehovahs anyway. Shannon next door didn’t get back from her probation review meeting until after 2pm and Jeanette wasn’t expecting anyone else. 

‘Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong’. ‘Fuck ‘n hell’ swore Jeanette. Tyler had started waddling towards the door, curious to see who was there.

‘Tyler’, shouted Jeanette, ‘No’. Tyler stopped in his tracks, took one look at his mum and then carried on his quest towards the front door, his nappy swinging behind him like a broken rucksack.

‘Shit’, sighed Jeanette as she resigned herself to answering the door. She strode angrily towards the annoying visitor, scooping up Tyler and dumping him in his baby cage by the window, before wrenching the door open. ‘What is it?’

Greeting Jeanette’s fuming face was a tall bronzed man in a vest. But before Jeanette launched into a tirade of abuse about not wanting to be disturbed, she stopped herself. ‘Why do I recognise this hunk’, she thought. It couldn’t be. The tight, snow-bleached jeans were vaguely familiar. She recalled subtly eyeing up the front and back bulges somewhere before. But where? No. It wasn’t. It was. It was him – the hunk from Lidl.

While all this was going on, Jeanette stood there, open mouthed, like a huge landed carp, silent apart from her eyes, which were busy feasting on the vision that stood before her.

Eventually the silence was broken by the vision in a vest. ‘Hello again. We met in Lidl, didn’t we?

Jeannete had lost the power of speech. A faint gurgling came from her mouth, like she was in the middle of a tracheotomy. She mustered up an enthusiastic nod and an affirmative ‘Urgh’.

He smiled his chiselled smile. ‘Thought so. Sorry to bother you. Just wondered if you needed any work doing?’ The mist cleared in Jeanette’s mind and she took in her surroundings. She noticed a battered transit van parked on the pavement outside, with its back doors open. He continued to look at her, smiling, and she spotted a tool belt and that pair of garden loppers in his hand.

‘Sorry’, Jeanette stammered. ‘Work?’

He pointed over his shoulder towards the van and said, ‘I’m a landscaper. Steve.’ He held out his free hand. ‘I’m new to the area. I noticed your front garden could do with tidying. Your bushes need trimming, they’re getting out of hand.’

Jeanette looked past Steve at her forlorn front garden. There were broken toys strewn across the patchy lawn, and her bushes at the front were overgrown, drooping over the space where the gate used to be. 

‘Yeah, it is in a bit of a state’. Jeanette started to compose herself. ‘But I can’t afford it right now’. 

Steve looked at Jeanette, his deep brown eyes locked onto hers and her heart fluttered, like the fluff on her pink slippers caught in the wind. ‘No worries. I can sort it for nothing. As long as you tell your friends how thorough I am. I can trim those bushes right back for you.’

‘Oh, great. Yeah, That’d be great’, said Jeanette, almost giggling. ‘They are a little overgrown. They haven’t been done since my husband left. The beds are completely empty too.’ Jeanette pointed at the flower beds, glancing at Steve with a twinkle in her eye.

‘No problem’, said Steve. ‘I can take care of that’.

Jeannete looked at the loppers in his hand. ‘Are you going to use those?’

Steve’s eyes sparkled as he looked at Jeanette. ‘No, I’ll just pop to the van. I’m going to need a bigger tool for that.’

7 thoughts on “Life After Teaching – Day 2

  1. Loving your blog Gary, totally entertaining and brought a smile as I read it!
    Loving Jeanette and can’t wait for the next part
    Totally my cup of tea 😊keep up the good work! I look forward to following your journey. Hope it’s a good one!

  2. Great copywriting resources you have there, and it’s awesome to read about your hustle trying to make it in this field. I myself am making the transition of selling fiction for a living, but that’s a tough road and we’ll see where that goes, eh? Anyway, thanks for this post!

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I’m not sure that hustle is the right word to describe what I’m doing but I’m giving it a good go. Hustle sounds far too dynamic for me.

  3. Just here to call you a delu…

    I am loving Jeanette, although are you sure she isn’t called Trish and isn’t my next door neighbour?

  4. Another great blog! Well done, super witty and relatable, even if you don’t plan on a career in writing, many of us enjoy a career change.
    It seems like you are make good progress and it must be such a great feeling that you do not have that anxiety about returning to good!

    Good luck with you journey and I’m very much enjoying Jeanette too 😁

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