Grace Timothy is a freelance writer who has just published her first book “Mum Face”, she shares a day in her life.
After years working as an assistant, staff writer and then beauty editor in magazines, I have been freelance for about seven years now. I focus primarily on beauty content, but in February 2018 my first book came out: MUM FACE, a memoir about identity in motherhood. I also have a five year old daughter, and so I work around her school hours wherever possible. We live in a village in Sussex, where I work from home most of the time.
Usually I get up with my daughter and my husband and I juggle getting her ready for school. I do the school run, then I’ll come home and either work on a feature, or pitch out some story ideas to magazines, websites and newspapers. I might get inspiration from something that’s actually happening to us at home, but editors tend to like a broader hook, like a new stat that’s been released or perhaps a celebrity that has talked about something similar.
This week I’m working on a piece about hair extensions and a feature on how becoming a mum can affect your marriage. On other days I might have a couple of phone interviews booked in, or I’ll be going through that week’s haul of beauty products. I’m sent a lot of samples to review, and it’s a great way to finding a hook for your beauty content. I also have a look across various news websites and social channels to hunt for stories I might be able to turn around quickly.
At the moment I’m also still on the publicity trail for the book, so my days are a little unpredictable. This week I got a call to join Woman’s Hour on Tuesday night, so on Wednesday morning I left the house before anyone else was up, but I was home by 2pm and ready to collect my daughter from school. I do go up to town for meetings occasionally, and I have to attend beauty launches there too – I’d say I’m up there roughly three times a month on average.
These days journalists have to have a digital presence. Just ten years ago, when bloggers started to really impact the worlds of beauty and fashion journalism, I think a lot of us dismissed it, but now? Print magazines are falling by the wayside because often they struggle to keep up with the constant output of content by their online counterparts. I’m working on the MUM FACE website with my publisher, Harper Collins – this will be an open discussion of issues women encounter everyday, often linked to motherhood. I’m trying to write a couple of posts each week. My work is quite evenly split between online and print now, and I have to keep up on social media, as well.
Throughout my day I’ll check in on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, most often with my book in mind. If there’s something happening on any given day – International Women’s Day, for example – I can theme my posts around that event to join in a wider conversation.
In the afternoon I pick up my daughter from school and we’ll either come home to do some reading or playing, or else go out for a walk when the weather allows. Of course there are other days when my working day simply can’t end at 3pm, and so I have to admit she either plays, draws or watches TV while I try to fit in the last bits before I cook her supper. I feel guilty everytime, and worse when I’m fielding emails on my phone when she’s asking me something. I try to have everything switched off by supper time so we can sit together and chat, and then once she’s in bed, I get back to it. I’m getting better at switching off in the evenings, but it totally depends how much work I’ve got on – needs must! I love writing, and I’m lucky that I can fit it around my daughter’s school day – for a while I was only squeezing it into naptimes, so it feels like a luxury now to have half a day!