When I walked out of my job as a features writer at the Independent in 2007 – or was it 8? – I was unemployed and had no work and no prospects for months and months. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in that situation, but it was quite frightening.
I made a lot of half-hearted notes to contact people, the names of commissioning editors jotted down on scraps of paper, names that if they replied at all, usually said “no thanks” to my ideas. ONE woman I remember, just wrote back “no thanks” – that’s IT – on her email. I can’t quite remember who it was now. If I could remember I would say because I’m still quite cross about it, as you might be able to tell.
Anyway one of these names was “Hannah Shuckburgh” – the newly-arrived commissioning editor at Easy Living (also, like the Independent, closed… are you detecting a theme?). I knew that it was a good plan to get in touch with people who have just arrived at a magazine within the first 6 weeks as they are panicking and need ideas.
And so I emailed Hannah and not only did she write back, she said “I’ve been meaning to get in touch with you.” And then she commissioned me – to write a piece about how I was scared of having kids (I was only 27). She was the first person who made me think that I was a good writer and I did some of my best work for her.
Anyway Hannah left Easy Living years ago, had some kids, and has now reappeared at the helm of a company that specialises in marbled products – and in particular they have some beautiful and suspiciously affordable lamps and lamp shades.