I’ve been talking a lot recently about the importance of telling your story – where you came from, how you got here, and why you do what you do – and here is mine.
North Yorkshire - the 80s
I was born in rural North Yorkshire, which is sometimes surprising to people, as I don’t really carry an accent. Both of my parents are originally from London, which could be the reason – I’m not sure, because my sister (who came along when I was 7) did pick one up, and has it to this day.
I grew up there until I was 18, attending various schools: from a village one (28 pupils in total, from Reception to Year 6), to a convent in Richmond, and finally the grammar school in Ripon.
Scotland - the late 90s
I loved English, writing and languages, and after my A Levels I swapped one small cathedral city for another – St Andrews, in Scotland. Here I studied various histories and literatures, finally graduating in English Lit and Latin.
My first graduate job was as a journalist at DC Thomson in Dundee – famous as the publishers of the Dandy and Beano, but I joined the Features desk of their daily, semi-national broadsheet paper, The Courier. My main job was to co-ordinate and report on the schools’ debating competition that the paper ran every year, but I filled the rest of my time researching and writing full-page features on culture, current events and local interest pieces.
Research back then was a very different matter. It meant a visit to the archives, an Aladdin’s cave of brown envelopes, each stuffed full with meticulously curated and snipped cuttings from every publication you can imagine.
My first “by-line” (when you get your name added to the article) was about a local ghost hunter who’d turned up some interesting audio recordings in and old Dundee factory, and I proudly sent copies of the paper to friends and family!
I also worked on advertising features – speaking to businesses who’d bought advert space about what they offer, and what they wanted to promote in their text space, and writing that for them.
For all sorts of reasons, the time became right to move back down south to be nearer my family again, and after the move I got a temp job at North Yorkshire Police in the projects office. At this point, the government was pouring money into the public sector to upgrade technology across the board, following some tragic crimes in the late 90s which could have been prevented if police forces had been able to share information more easily – and when I joined, Windows was being rolled out across the force, as well as new systems for crime, intelligence and custody information. Part of my job was to write information that would tell police officers about the projects, why they were happening and what to expect – not always easy to convince people who have been doing the job a certain way since the 80s – but it was brilliant.
Temp turned into permanent, and I worked my way up through various roles to become Internal Communications Manager for the force – creating a communications strategy, planning for the year, as well as writing the messages themselves. This was 10 years on, and times had changed – the new government was now clawing back money, and forces were having to make cuts. In my final year, when I was expecting my first son, the communications to staff weren’t about new systems, but about redundancies and selling off assets. It felt as though during my time there, I’d run the full gamut of sharing good news with staff to breaking the worst to them.
Southern Roots and Concrete Cows
By 2014 we had two little boys, and Mr RLC was commuting every other week to offices near Heathrow – which was bad for everyone. So we decided to make a move to somewhere he could live and work, as the North Yorkshire options were limited for his field of IT; and the answer came from Milton Keynes. We knew nothing about it aside from the usual outsider’s view – concrete cows and roundabouts, no soul, manufactured city, etc etc – but what a surprise we had when we got there. What a place – amazing green spaces, so many shops, attractions and facilities within minutes, brilliant schools, only 35 mins from London, and culture coming out of its ears. And what’s more, we live in one of the absorbed villages, which is centuries old – it feels like having the best of both worlds.
It also felt strangely like coming home. I never really felt like a native Yorkshirewoman, even though I am one – but living down here, in a community defined by its incomers as much as its born-and-bredders, gives me a real sense of belonging.
I also realised, as the boys became school age, that MK is bubbling over with small businesses. I clearly couldn’t go back to a job at North Yorkshire Police, and with the children still young, I didn’t feel ready to find a full-time career again. So as I began to do a bit of writing here and there for Sam Poole – founder of the huge Mum to Mum MK Facebook community – I started to meet other business owners, and discovered that my writing talents could be of great use to them; and that if I set up my own small business, I could do as much or as little as I needed to around the children. And here we are: RLC Words began.
Since then, the power of networking (with Sam via Ask GoTo Network, and with Aruna Rao’s Busy Women Networking) has astonished me daily – not just because of the new clients I can meet, but the friendships and support that can be found in them, the kindred spirits, and so many talented and professional people who all want the same thing – to do what they love, and support other small businesses.
All the Best Bits
Writing for other business owners combines all of the parts of my writing career that I loved the most – articulating important information into messages for people who need to hear them, in a way that they can easily understand. Doing that for businesses who are struggling to do it themselves is incredibly rewarding.
But what I love most is teaching people how I do it. My membership means I can share with you how to create your own brilliant words for your business – how I would do it, if I was writing for you. Teaching and coaching was one of my favourite parts of being a manager at North Yorkshire Police, and I LOVE that I get to do that still.
So what does all this mean? Why tell my story and go into such detail? Because it helps people who could be my customers to find out whether we’d work well together; whether we share any background and values; and whether all the experience I have means that I am the right person to trust with your business.
It could mean I’m not what you’re looking for. But if I am, the chances are we will work really well together, and I can really help you – and those connections are the reason I love what I do.
If you’d like me to help you tell your story, I would love to hear from you. Drop me an email today: email@example.com
Or join my next free Blog Challenge, and learn the power of sharing your story and yourself with the world: About the Blog Challenge