How 2020 led to my workaholic reckoning

A friend recently introduced me to the concept of ‘evidence of industry’. She used to work in advertising, and she is very wise. Evidence of industry is this; if you have three brilliant ideas to pitch to a client, the client will complain about a visible lack of bang for their buck. But if you add seventeen terrible ideas to the pile, the client will be delighted. The client does not want a metaphorical bottle of champagne but would prefer some generic sparkling wine, a packet of crackers, and a jar of jam in a flimsy presentation box padded with…


My first novel is published early next year, and I keep finding myself getting embarrassingly, self indulgently obsessed about things that are completely beyond my control. I wrote this to myself, a list of things to remember as an attempt to maintain sanity and equilibrium over the next few months. If you have a book coming out soon, I hope that you find this comforting — or that you’re not as vain, insecure or egotistical as me, and that you don’t need to read it!

1. The book is not you.

2. You have absolutely no control over its success…


It came to a head last night, when a sweet, well-meaning friend suggested that I go for a walk.

I’d been prickly all day. Loose where I should be tight, and tight where I should be loose. My feelings were all over the place, and I had no thoughts or facts to match them up to — just a sense that there was a layer of tepid, dirty dishwater between my skin and my bones. It wasn’t fair, but I couldn’t have told you what it was.

When it comes to managing my feelings, I’ve put the bloody hours in…


Once or twice a month I receive a phone call from Good Morning Britain, asking if I’d like to appear on the programme and take part on a debate. For me, going on television is slightly scarier than going to the dentist’s, and slightly less awful than going through a pile of financial paperwork. For a while, I kept doing it because every time, it seemed marginally less scary and I felt more confident as a result. …


I dream of dancing. It breaks my heart that I’ve never been very good at it.

Photo: Sebastian Dooris/Flickr

“What were you doing? What were you thinking?” she asked.

“Dan… cing?” I pushed wet hair out of my stinging eyes and shook out the cotton skirt of my dress. Even in the dark, I could see that its hem had become stained and sticky, a location-specific blend of ash and off-brand Ribena. I was in the indie room but I had not been executing the approved indie shuffle. Instead, I chose to leap into the air and then hurl myself to the ground every time I heard Damon Albarn’s Tarzan yelp of a “WOOhooooo!”

Though I was soaked in…


My life is rarely as clean and linear as I make it out to be

Photo: Mike Ramirez/EyeEm/Getty Images

It started with a “reset.” If it had happened a couple of years earlier, it might have been a “cleanse.” But language lies, words develop an emotional life of their own, and I was busy doing some double-duty dissembling. I wanted everyone to think I was feeling fine about myself. I wanted to think I was feeling fine.

I was going to stop drinking alcohol and eating various things for 30 days. I could do anything for a month. As a lapsed Catholic, I had an appetite for purging, self-denial, bitter leaves, and vinegar. I was practiced at shunning “the…


My worst ex boyfriend isn’t the one who took me to a kebab house with all of his pals on Valentine’s day, and then forgot his wallet. He’s not the one who took me to my favourite pub, the one I could see from my bedroom window, and told me that he was leaving me because he was in love with his housemate. He’s not the one who referred to my menses as “your female illness”. He’s the one who constantly, consistently, called me crazy.

Every single one of our arguments followed exactly the same script. I would tell him…


In the last six months, I have lost a substantial amount of weight. This is something I did on purpose. I have been following a diet, which involves preparing plenty of fresh food, restricting and limiting some things and eating an abundance of others. I have rarely been hungry, but I have been hangry. I have smiled beatifically at bowls of crisps, serene (and smug) in the knowledge that they do taste delicious, but I just ate dinner, and I can acknowledge the difference between gratifying a want and meeting a need. I have come close to tears at train…


They called themselves “interns”. We called them “workies”. They would come into the office for two weeks, shy or garrulous, enthusiastic or resentful. I remember the brilliant ones — Sally, who wore home made diaphanous kimonos and asked sweetly phrased existential questions on quiet afternoons, Anita, who rang every PR in the country to track down a set of giant Jenga, and Jen, who offered to make a cup of tea every 11 minutes. I remember the dreadful ones — Gina, who managed to alienate everyone by being simultaneously stuck up, sneery and homophobic within her first 48 hours, and…


Pitching to posting — How to submit news relevant pieces

I’m a freelance journalist and I get asked about how freelancing works, and how I work. Here is a very general step by step guideline that I put together based on a Guardian Masterclass I taught a couple of years ago. This is by no means definitive, but some of it might be useful.

  1. Wake up, read papers online, search through social media and find out what your timeline is talking about. Check out US and UK sites — pop culture and mainstream news.

2. Make a shortlist of ideas…

Daisy Buchanan

Feminist, writer, lobster lover, @graziauk agony aunt, @TEDx talker, @headlinepg author of HOW TO BE A GROWN UP and THE SISTERHOOD.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store