Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Friday, August 05, 2016

Why I refused to sell my story to a weekly womans magazine

Just after there had been an article published in the Evening Chronicle about my nomination for inspirational business mum of the year 2016 I was contacted by a national women's weekly magazine, lets for the sake of argument call them "Stop and Relax",  I spoke to a couple of their writers who were keen to publish my story and whilst I felt slightly reluctant, I was promised that the article would inspire other women who might be in similar situations to make changes and perhaps conquer some of the challenges they faced, that was after all the reason I've been nominated for the aforementioned award and subsequent newspaper article.  

I had several chats with the writers and finally they went away to write the story although there'd already been minor quibbles like them asking me to send in "less professional looking photographs." I didn't really understand why they would ask that of me until I read the draft of their story this week. 

Now I should state that I showed the draft to my 3 best friends to get their opinion in case it was my judgement clouded by the fact that I was aghast at the story they'd produced but no, they all admitted they were pretty speechless by the over dramatic, sensationalist dumbed down piece of "writing" I'd showed them, and I'm using the word writing in the loosest sense of the word!  I do realise that this was never going to be the sort of feature you'd read in the Sunday Times but I had expected at least one or two words to contain more than a couple of syllables!  The thing that got me most was that even though I'd told them my story in great detail over several conversations they still proceeded to make most of it up including some hilarious inner monologues which quite frankly made me sound like a moron, not just any moron but a moron in a soap opera!!

My first question was to go back to them and ask why it wasn't like the inspiring piece the newspaper journalist had written and I was told "newspapers deal in the facts, we're not like that" erm, hang on a minute, I was supposed to agree to an article full of stuff which never actually happened?  Like the time I refused to take medication when I was pregnant?  That's so far from the truth I can't even imagine how they thought I would agree to that.  They did however manage to make my then husband sound like a saintly figure which was nice.

There were so many factual inaccuracies that it was basically a work of fiction and not even a good work of fiction.  I'm not sure who's inner voice it was in those internal monologues they were planning on publishing but it certainly wasn't mine, I even suggested that they go and read excerpts of my blog and they could find my inner voice but they just weren't interested.  If that article had gone to print it would have been about someone completely different to me and not just me now but me, as I was then.  I don't believe it would have inspired anyone though I may have received letters of pity and sympathy and that's not what telling your story should be about and it will never be about that for me.

This was never about the £250 fee for me, it was about helping others who don't feel they can escape from mental health situations, people so trapped in the quagmires of their thoughts they feel there is no hope or chance they'll ever amount to anything when in fact although mental health may be a force you have to wrestle with (sometimes on a daily basis) I firmly believe as I always have that you can do anything you want to, achieve anything you want to, you just need to do it on your own terms.

So that's it, I walked away, I shan't be in the middle of a chatty weekly magazine with my photo's that are too professional and my vocabulary that is too extensive and you know what?  That's okay with me!


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