Happy hols xxxx

Finally! A full eight months after embarking on my first big journalistic adventure outside of my regular monthly magazine column, it’s hit the racks of news agents and supermarkets the length and breadth of Europe. From Scotland to Sardinia sits a magazine containing an eight page review penned by yours truly. Exciting stuff.

I couldn’t wait to see my copy, excitedly turning to where my prose lay in crisp clear print, complete with glossy colour photos, the users perspective I’d penned after interviewing a couple of owners, the technical review I’d written alongside it, all laid out out beautifully. The Blonde bought a copy for herself, and even my mother, who normally stands in WH.Smiths and reads my column before returning the mag to the shelves is threatening to actually buy this one! It’s fantastic!

But it’s also somewhat bitter-sweet because I’m finally coming to the conclusion that my writing career hasn’t happened, isn’t happening, and is unlikely ever to happen. My one international debut is also my swansong. I’ve been trying to get the writing going for well over a year now, my initial meeting with the editor was just before I was laid off back in April of last year, and there have been too many false dawns and too little traction to make me feel that this is an avenue worth pursuing any longer.

The frustration is that I was all ready to accept this some months ago after continued radio silence. Fair enough I thought, if I’m not good enough, or not in the right place, or the work just isn’t out there then I can live with that.

I let it drop but then an unexpected email from the editor dropped into my in-box, full of enthusiasm and ideas. He was looking to re-vamp the part of his magazine that dealt with buying and selling used, my speciality. He wanted me on board, wanted my input, wanted my involvement. “We need to talk” was his parting shot. I responded immediately, firing an email back asking him on no uncertain terms to count me in, and called him later that day. “It’s all happening Charlie” he told me “we’re changing the magazine, going to be doing a lot more with used, I want to get you on board, get you doing regular reviews for us!”. Fantastic, the sweetest music imaginable to this budding writer’s ears.

We talked at length, and finished up very positively with a discussion about what my first big opening feature should be, a look at my personal top ten, eight smaller reviews and two big reviews of my top two. “Put a list together for me”, says the ed, “and we’ll get you cracking on it”. I wasted no time and had a list of likely candidates with him within 48 hours. An email came back, all good but they’d done a recent feature (yet to be published) on one of my top two, could I suggest another? I did, and heard nothing back. I tried again and got agreement on the one we’d already agreed on, but not my fresh proposal. I tried again, nothing. Then again, nothing. So I left it for him to come back to me and I’ve heard nothing further.

What’s frustrating about this is that if I’m simply not good enough then I can live with that, but why all the “get me on board” stuff? It feels like he’s simply too busy (yet again) to get to grips with what he’s doing with me, and ironically when I look at the mag it seems that he’s doing a lot of the reviewing himself. Surely therefore if he is too busy, and he wants to get me involved, there must be some merit in letting me have a crack at some of the reviews which would get me doing what he wants me to do and free him up to orchestrate it all?

Of course this magazine isn’t the only one in the world, but it is a very specialist subject so there are very few, and this is the only one I’ve got a direct line into.

I think also, that I just don’t have the spare time to dedicate to it. One (sometimes random) day off a week doesn’t leave a lot of scope for other projects, especially big ones.

So as I sit here alone on a quiet Sunday afternoon in an empty showroom writing this to a memory stick to upload later when I get home, I have to conclude that the review featured on the front page of the mag at my left elbow is, as Barry White might say, my first, my last, my everything. I think I’ll wind up the column too, I’ve not had a good idea for it for months, I’ve been out of the industry too long now and my bank of back up’s is running low.

Still, could be worse, I’ve got a full time job that seems to be paying reasonable money, and parked just on the other side of the plate glass window behind me is my beautiful immaculate gunmetal grey roadster, roof down and ready to go. The sun’s out, and it looks very much as though I’ll be taking the long way home this evening.


5 Responses to “Published”

  1. AJ2 Says:

    And you’ve got the Blonde, and she deserves your time and attention.

  2. charliecroker Says:

    Indeed I do. Mixie the Mazda and The Blonde. A winning combination! 🙂


  3. Rob Says:


    I think you’re doing the right thing. As AJ2 says, you’ve got other priorities.

    You can always come back to your writing, in the meantime does Ford have an in-house/dealer network magazine/newspaper/website that you could contribute to to keep your hand in?


  4. AJ2 Says:

    Good point, Rob. It’s worth approaching Ford, and you can show that you’re a published write.

  5. matt Says:

    Hi Charlie. Is there any other subject you could turn your hand to? I used to come to your blog regularly to read your adventures of trying to find another job. These days, whilst I enjoy your writing, I don’t come as much simply because I find cars boring. Take the blonde on adventure and try travel writing.

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