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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

“Being a writer, isn’t that money for old rope?”

Wednesday 28 March 2012 – Yesterday I went to open a new bank account, as I’ve not a had a personal account for about twenty years; just business ones. So I’m sat in the office at the local bank with Kelly. “Do you know what,” she says, “I’m sure I’ve seen you somewhere before.” I smile, then explain that I’m not from around here, having just moved into the area. Kelly checks her screen, asks me questions and keeps tossing me sidelong glances.

We get to the questions about employment, She asks me about previous employment, so I explain I was an actor before setting up my own arts education company. “Have you been in anything I’ve seen?” she asks me. I want to say, I don’t know Kelly, tell me everything you’ve ever seen and I’ll stop you if you name something I was in. (Damn stupid question, but a common one). I just shrug my shoulders and say, “Probably not.”

Kelly is tapping away at the keyboard, when she stops, look at me and says, “Have you been in Corrie?” I tell her yes, but nothing memorable. Kerry’s eyes roll back in her head and she says, “I know where I’ve seen you before. Where you the doctor when Ken’s daughter died?” “Well actually,” I tell her, “I was the mortician.” (2 scenes 5 lines). “But, I don’t act anymore.”

“So, what do you do now?” she asks.

“Freelance writer.”

“Being a writer, isn’t that money for old rope?”

Easy job, okay to some it may appear to be easy, sat clicking at a laptop all day, and if you take into account the feature I had published in Italy Mag this week, which was 850 words, which when the payment came through worked out as 29 pence a word, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s ‘money for old rope’ (For those interested in where this saying comes from: The hangman at public hangings was obliged to keep the rope used to hang his 'customer'. The rope, however, was popular with the macabre crowds, so the hangman used to cut the rope up and sell it.)

My Italy Mag Feature: Click to read

Okay, so it’s easy, take into consideration the days taken up with visiting the churches talked about, the costs involved and the amount of time spent writing and editing, and it soon becomes apparent that it’s not an easy job. Okay, it’s fair to say that the Italian feature was easier, as I did mix work with pleasure; as I was on holiday and visiting the churches and museum anyway.

But compare that to what I’m working on at the moment, today I have toiled, sweated and despaired over a mere 200 words; not to mention the major editing I am doing on a much larger piece, which involves cutting out , or rewriting words that were previously crafted with love.


Money for old rope, try telling that to the writers at the group I belong to, in fact if you think that it’s an easy game, pop along tonight and tell us. My betting is you’ll probably leave with a pencil inserted into somewhere painful.

Renegade Writers: Click here to view

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