The first Quote of the Week of the year, and my first since checking out on maternity leave last January, so today's mantra has to be profound.
I hope this is the right quote to do that.
For me, the quote has a lot of significance - returning to work is always a terrifying prospect for someone who has been out of the working world for several months, but perhaps scarier still when you are returning as a person who has changed in the absence.
I am now a mother of two; a professional juggler of duties, tasks and emotions; and a spring that is continually stretched. But I return to work with better organisational skills, a greater perspective, bigger priorities, and a stronger need to do well and make my girls proud.
In many ways, the jobs haven't changed at all and diving back into writing should - and will - come easily to me, having done it for so long. But I hope my daunting return teaches me how much I have changed over the last year, and I hope the 'new me' is not just accepted by past and future clients, but celebrated for the improved skills, efficiency and outlook I have as a working mother.
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Think soggy muslins plastered to your shoulder covered in sick and snot, monochrome-coloured hair from all that dry shampoo, and running after a crying child who is unhappy you won’t let them crawl off in the playground while they put slugs in their mouth.
The maternity leave fantasy exists even less when you have two or more children because there is no coffee shop with furry friends, or organic lunches out or endless strolls through National Trust parks. It’s just days filled with breathlessly chasing scooters whizzing down hills while you push your massive pram, cleaning up wee / juice / leaf sludge as you try to barrier off your baby who is intent on crawling through it, and filtering out one screaming voice while trying to communicate with another through gritted teeth. Maternity leave with multiple children feels endless, trying, tiring and monotonous.
So it is no wonder some women long to go back to work where they can have a hot drink (!), slip off to the toilet without someone climbing on them or demanding you get the milk out of the fridge while you’re mid-flow, and come home to a house that doesn’t look like it’s been hit by a cyclone during the day. Peace and quiet, the occasional chit chat (not about poo) and a lunchtime break feel like dreams sometimes!
For me, it’s quite different. Being self-employed I have the best of both worlds (hurrah!). This means I get to have fun with the kids, pick my eldest up from nursery school, bake with them in the afternoon and kiss their sweet cheeks good night while still exercising my mind and earning cash. Score.
But the reality looks somewhat different – in actual fact, I spend my life doing a crazy juggling act between trying to be a stay-at-home mum, homemaker, cleaner and cook, as well as a professional who can meet her clients’ demands without fail. It really means I try to wear every hat and hope that I can master them all.
So when I think about my maternity leave ending, I do fill with dread sometimes. Not about going back to work – I’m itching to start tapping away at the keyboard, think of great content marketing solutions to people’s businesses and sit peacefully at my computer again. But I’m terrified of having to spin all my plates in the air without letting any of them fall.
I still don’t really have a solution. I managed it remarkably well with one child, but two seems like a game changer. Instead of popping out one extra human being, we seem to have multiplied our jobs as parents by a thousand just by adding a baby into the mix. All I know is that the time is coming for me to return to work. My bank balance has dropped (is non-existent), Christmas is around the corner, and I have THREE birthdays (out of a family of four) within the first five weeks of the new year (not great family planning, it has to be said!).
And not just that, I’m ready for it. I want to earn money, use my brain and build up my client base once more, meet deadlines and feel proud that I've done a good job. So as I prepare to get back in the saddle and kiss goodbye to maternity leave over the next few weeks, I feel excited and nostalgic in equal measure. There have been some super tough times over the last 12 months (labour was no picnic!), but I have made some beautiful memories as well.
I know once I start back at work I’ll miss having the freedom to do whatever I liked with my girls, but I also know that I’ll never be too far away from a snotty muslin or a child crying every time I try to creep out of the room like a ninja to do something totally self-centred like make dinner.
So maybe when you’re a part-time worker and a full-time mum, maternity leave never really ends at all.
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Another great quote from Steve Jobs, this helps me stay focused when working. The fab thing about freelancing is being able to choose projects that really inspire or interest me, which is how I've found myself specialising in content about travel, food, parenthood, property, health, fashion and fitness over the years.
Writing about topics I love really makes the job easier and the words, somehow, just seem to flow!
If you'd be interested in having me writing on one of the above topics for your business, take a look at my copywriting services here.
This is a great quote by Zadie Smith, and I couldn't agree more with it. I think everyone finds it difficult to edit their own work, because sometimes we read the words we meant to say and not the ones we actually wrote. The trick is to take yourself out of the situation, put some distance between the writing and the reading, and come back to the text with fresh eyes. If you can read every word like you've not heard them before, then you'll be able to edit professionally.
That is why it is far easier editing other people's work, as you can see it from a new perspective, offering constructive criticism and providing changes that will make the content read better and make more sense.
If you're looking for editing help for your white papers, website, brochures or blogs, get in touch with me at Natasha Al-Atassi Copywriting Services to see what I can do for you.
Web writing is a very important skill these days, helping businesses to rank higher in online searches and attract greater traffic to their website. While many may not see the value in hiring a professional for their website content, it could end up costing them more in the long-run not to.
If you're interested in landing pages, blogs or news content for your website, click for more information about Natasha Al-Atassi Copywriting Services here.
Eek! I can't believe it's been three months since I published a Quote of the Week, but I've been so preoccupied that I just haven't found the time to find my weekly snippets of wisdom.
So I thought I'd look for a good one this week to make up for it.
This quote is purely about writing - being able to transfer the reader to the story so they are truly immersed in it and evoke their emotions as though they themselves are involved in it.
It's sometimes hard to capture this feeling when focussing on copywriting alone, which is why I like to do a mix of feature writing, news writing, anecdotal first-hand writing and copywriting - using all the skills I have to address varying audiences and focus on different purposes.
For more information about what writing services we offer, take a look at our About Us page here.
The latest Quote of the Week comes from the great Albert Einstein. I doubt he was talking about copywriting at the time, but the same principle applies.
When you're trying to write complicated, technical information, you have to make sure you have a good grasp of it. Otherwise, it won't make any sense to those who are reading it.
This is a constant challenge for copywriters, who often have to wear several hats of expertise. In the past I've pretended to be a technology whiz, a pharmaceutical expert, a property guru, a motor professional and a green-fingered horticulturalist to name a few.
Writing for websites of all industries, you have to make sure you fully understand the subject in order for those reading it to not find it complicated, full of unnecessary jargon and incomprehensible. This would totally give the game away.
Instead, I try to understand the field as much as possible, absorb all the technical words and select the most important parts of the research I've done. Then I write the content in the simplest way to make it sound as natural as possible, so no one knows it isn't the industry expert writing the website themselves.
And that is the secret to a good copywriter.
If you're looking for a professional copywriter who can write for your industry - no matter how obscure - get in touch with me today.
Proofreading is no easy task, particularly when you're trying to go over your own work as you often can't see the mistakes others can pick up on.
That's why it's always worth having a professional proofreader to help - so you can be sure those grammatical errors, typos and inconsistencies that spellcheck can't pick up on don't get missed!
For more information on our proofreading services, take a look here.
I've not been able to post a Quote of the Week for quite some time as I've been so busy (always good to be busy as a freelance copywriter!), and this week is no exception, but I thought I'd sneak in a quick quote for you.
This one just reminds clients how important headlines are - let's face it, if it doesn't compel us, we're not going to read on, are we?
For great headlines (and even better copy), check out my copywriting services here.
Editing is one of the most important copywriting services we provide. A lot of the time, people have content on their website or brochures, but just want it edited, either to make it more eloquent and readable or to enhance its search-engine optimisation so it is picked up in Google searches.
Either way, we can perform that edit for them. Sometimes it can be ruthless, but if the content comes back looking transformed, succinct and engaging, then you know we've done our job right.
For more information about who we have edited and written for, check out our portfolio of clients here.
Read my thoughts and ideas on the latest search engine updates and copywriting trends that could improve your business marketing plans.