Project October Writing Journal – Part 10


Day 21

I’m just back from my job interview in the city. I was less nervous this time (not nervous at all, in fact) and I hope that was evident because the interviewer mentioned it to the recruiter last time like it might be some sort of deal breaker for this job. Who isn’t nervous in a job interview? Show me that person and I’ll show you a one in a billion personality type.

I put on the outfit I was planning to wear and it just wasn’t working. I realised that I haven’t worn dress pants to work for nearly three years because I’ve been writing at home and my previous short-term job was over the spring and summer months. My entire collection of work pants is horribly out of date and it shows. Anyway, after a quick change, I think I looked okay but it’s seriously time for a shopping spree.

The interviewers (there were two this time) ended the meeting by asking what I was doing for the rest of the day and I explained that I was in the middle of an intensive writing month. They also asked me about how I would cope writing all day long at work and then going home to do my writing in my spare time. Obviously, I would scale back the writing at home. I’m not a masochist. But in the meantime, while I’m still looking for my next full-time job, I’m going to do as much writing as possible. I hope they understood that. Job interviews are like arguments – you always think of the perfect response long after it is over.

I’m going to try to have a really big writing day tomorrow. My sister’s wedding is the day after tomorrow so I’d like to get ahead in the word count before the event rather than trying to catch up after. It’s so much harder. Still I feel like I’m doing well. I’ve hit the 20,000 word mark for this Project October, even though when I started I felt so sure it wasn’t going to go well. Even if I didn’t write another word all month, that’s still 20,000 words!

Even though I’m well into the third part now, I know I need to work harder at developing a unique voice for this new narrator. Prudence, the narrator of the first part, has a very innocent, naïve and literal perspective and voice. Jock, the narrator of the second part, has a kind of weariness and frustration at the same time as he is content in his little part of the world. Daniel, the narrator in the third part, is much younger than both of them and I want him to be not quite as smart or sophisticated, a product of his broken home and life in neglectful foster care. I need to work very hard at achieving this because I’ve been accused before of using “Louise” words when my characters wouldn’t and I know he isn’t sounding like himself yet. He’s sounding too much like me. I almost need to dumb it down. He isn’t dumb but he doesn’t have a love of language like I do, so it doesn’t make any sense for him to be narrating in a flowery or descriptive way.

I think that might be a task for Project November. Words now, voice later. We’ll see.

Today’s Word Count: 1,051

Ongoing Tally: 20,745


Day 22

I’m relaxing today in preparation for my sister’s wedding tomorrow. That includes painting my nails and washing my hair. It’s hard to stay relaxed, though, when I receive a phone call from the recruiter about yesterday’s job interview. The interviewer agreed that I wasn’t nervous at all, that they were extremely happy with the work I did on the brochure and that I did and said everything they were hoping I would… except that I didn’t ask any questions at the end of the interview.

I’ve spent more than three hours talking about this role and the company and I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what it entails and I asked plenty of questions throughout the interviews. But the fact that I didn’t want to ask anything further at the very end of the interview when the set of questions drafted by HR determined I should be asking questions gave the interviewer concern. He thought it meant I wasn’t engaged and not passionate enough. It’s an electricity company! Clearly he hasn’t read my LinkedIn article about how I don’t need to be passionate in order to do a job well. In fact, if everyone needed passion, then we wouldn’t have any garbage collectors, sewerage workers, public toilet cleaners or parking officers.

It might be a sign about what working for him might be like and it might be a working environment I don’t want to be in. They say that death, divorce and moving house are the three big stressors in life but I’m adding looking for a new job to that list. It certainly isn’t improving my self-esteem to listen to recruiters and interviewers tell me everything that is wrong with me. I feel like I am handing over power to people who should by rights have no power over me whatsoever.

And my recruiter’s advice was to ask questions anyway, even about things that have nothing to do with the role. “Ask about their share price,” he said.

I am starting to understand why the age I am at is when people think about starting their own businesses. There is only so much people can take of being told what to do, what to wear, how to speak, how to think, where to stand, when to speak, when to stay quiet. I am an educated woman and I know more about writing, editing and crafting a message than anyone who is interviewing me ever will. Where’s the respect?

Okay, rant over. Except I’m so angry and sad at the same time, I don’t want to write. I just want to curl in a ball and binge watch DVD boxsets. I’ve written 204 words this afternoon and will try to write some more later.

This is supposed to be a writing journal but it’s turning into a jobseeker’s journal. I guess life is what happens when you’re busy trying to do Project October.

Last minute wedding stuff – informed at half past nine at night that I have to print and bring the reading I am doing (which is fine but I was told previously I had to do that, then told not to worry as another sister would bring it for me). And more grief about the speech. My other sister, one of the ones who isn’t getting married, is worried that something will go wrong and she doesn’t want the sister who is getting married to be stressed on the day with any little things (like missing high chairs at the reception – not really my area). But I managed to do some writing and that’s the point, fitting it in around everything else that is going on in my life.

Today’s Word Count: 1,534

Ongoing Tally: 22,279


Day 23

I didn’t quite make it to where I had hoped I would be with the word count yesterday – about 750 words short – but watching my sister get married today is a pretty good excuse for not getting any writing done today. In fact, I’d call it a reason, not an excuse. How often do you get to watch your sister getting married? Well, since I have five of them, it feels like I’ve done it a few times now (and there will be another next year, I’ve just been informed) but it’s still special.

I was asked to do a reading. My sister said that she wanted it done by someone she had confidence in and would do it well. I don’t know how I’ve suddenly developed a reputation as the family’s public speaker but it appears I have. The hand holding the piece of paper shook the whole time but everybody said they didn’t notice and that I spoke well. Fake it until you make it, I guess. I’m still faking it.

I had a realisation at the reception while my sister and her husband were saying a few thank yous. I am the last of the Truscott women. All my sisters have given up the name now, all my female Truscott cousins have been married and long since changed their last names. Only me and my one male Truscott cousin’s daughter are left and she is still a little girl so not a Truscott woman yet. It made me a bit emotional. It’s funny because I have always been much closer to the extended family on my mother’s side but I am so attached to my name, to being a Truscott.

We can trace the Truscott side of the family back to the 1600s in Cornwall, England and if we went to Cornwall, we could probably trace it a long way further back than that. Being a Truscott is an important part of my identity. Even if I got married, I wouldn’t change my name. It’s partly a feminism thing, partly a professional thing but I am me, not just someone’s daughter or sister or friend or wife, and my name is a crucial part of that.

Today’s Word Count: 0

Ongoing Tally: 22,276



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