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Writing Mumboss was a dream come true, conceived three years before getting that elusive book deal with Piatkus/Little Brown, under the umbrella of the giant Hachette. It is testament to the ethos of ‘trusting the timing of your life’.
The experience garnered as both a mum and a boss over those three valuable years has hopefully made for a more informative, moving and funnier book than if I had written it earlier.
I know that sentiment applies to absolutely anything creative, and in the wrong hands it can stifle the procrastinating writer. But this particular genre of self-help – part-memoir/part how-to guide – benefits from lived experience and the accumulation of tried-and-tested insights that only come over time. I’m proud of Mumboss and pleased the feedback and reviews have shown it’s helping budding mum and dad bosses build digital businesses around their families in what is currently a limiting and inflexible workforce.
Having delivering the proposal, including a chapter breakdown and sample chapter, which sealed the deal, I felt reassured early on that it was my voice my editor Jillian and later Anna (when Jillian took maternity leave) was investing in. I just had to be myself: to write as I have done for seven years on the blog Honestmum.com and social media. There was no need for a more formal writing style because it was a book, but I did need to develop a more chronological narrative, with a structure in place to allow the reader to dip in and out, than is the case with my intentionally ad-hoc blog which veers between genres – from food to fashion, film and family life.
My former role as a screenwriter and TV director meant I wrote thick and fast, although like many before me I did ask for an extension towards the end to endlessly tweak!
Jillian and Anna were always on hand to offer deep insight into what should stay and go from the early drafts, cutting 75 per cent of quotes so as to ensure there was more of ‘me’ in the book. Some chapters, particularly recalling my traumatic birth, were incredibly emotional yet cathartic to write. Others featured the advice of experts, from psychologists to fellow authors, to back up my own thoughts and to offer the reader the boost they need to tackle the demands of a creative life with family commitments, or to return to work with more confidence.
Vitally, both my editors helped me when it came to battling my Imposter Syndrome, something I shed light on in the book. I heeded my editors’ and my own advice, and kept writing, finally getting my creative work out into the world with a view to helping other parents do exactly the same.