What’s wrong with this picture? It’s a bit ‘old school’, isn’t it? Apple G3, fax machine, CDs and books. Those are the things that surrounded me in my home office in the mid-90s. But when I set up business on my own, that was all the rage. Honest.
Looking at this photo now, it all looks a bit mad. I was literally swamped with work in my brand new media consultancy. Clients were lining up to give me assignments. The phone was constantly ringing. I was hiring other freelancers to help me with book-keeping, admin and copy editing. At one point there were four of us on the Clive Price Media team.
Let’s look at the pic. There are piles of CDs waiting to be reviewed for various magazines. There are piles of books waiting to be considered for extract, news and feature ideas. And there are just sheets of paper everywhere – bills, invoices, press releases, letters (remember those?) – you name it.
Of course, in today’s Brave New World of PDFs and MP3s, most review product is sent to me electronically. That cuts down on desk space. But I must admit, there was something nice about receiving a hard copy of everything.
You could sit back in your chair, put your feet up on the desk and cram some tea and biscuits down your face while you flicked through a book someone had just sent you, and listen to a CD through the computer speakers. I suppose you could do that with a Kindle and an iPod. But it’s not quite the same, is it?
Back then I had a big desk. Actually, I think I had two big desks making up an ‘L’ shape. Yeh, I really splashed out, didn’t I? But that Apple G3 was really cool. The mammoth monitor keeled over and died a long time ago. I still have the mini-tower with its DVD drawer and zip drive! It still springs into life whenever I want to go down Memory Slot Lane.
Now I have an antique roll-top desk and a matching chair. And I often work on a laptop. Or if I’m down at a coffee shop, I’ll be on the iPad Mini. Everything has been trimmed down. I’m even losing a bit of weight. We’re in a different era now.
Stuff this nostalgia. There’s no future in it, anyway. What lesson can I share with any budding writers out there? Well, if you’re just starting out, here’s one tip I learned from a freelance photographer (whose work I’d use to illustrate my articles). Say ‘yes’ to everything. Take on every possible assignment.
For there will be quiet days. Sometimes there will be too many, as some of us have found in this current recession. And then you’ll wish you’d burned the midnight oil occasionally. You can take a holiday later. Trim the wick on your lamp and write away.