Work/Life is Stylist’s regular column about the professional routines of successful women. Here, author of Skint Estate: A Memoir Of Poverty, Motherhood And Survival Cash Carraway takes us through her one-day diary, and reveals how she went from working in strip clubs to publishing a memoir.
Cash Carraway, 38, is a writer and the author. Her debut book, Skint Estate, is currently being adapated for the BBC. She lives in south London with her daughter.
MY ALARM GOES OFF…
As early as 4am when I’m on a deadline, which sounds mad. These days, it’s usually a more modest 5.30am, though. I like it when my flat is quiet and I can make myself a big mug of tea and write without stopping until about 8.30am. Then it’s the rush to get my daughter to school; getting her breakfast ready – I’ll have some apple and peanut butter – putting clothes on and running out the door. I head straight to the gym from there, exercise helps to control my depression.
I’M RESPONSIBLE FOR…
Writing stories with authenticity.
I GOT MY JOB…
After writing my first play at the age of 15. I saw the play Shopping And Fucking, went home and wrote my own version of it, then sent it to the director. He called me up and said, “Well done, good effort, but you should write about your own world, not someone else’s.”
When a play I wrote was commissioned by the Soho Theatre, I dropped out of film school. I was very self-sabotaging. In my 20s, I worked at strip clubs and peep shows in Soho, all the while writing and getting the odd theatre commission, but nothing took off. Then one of the editors at Penguin read my blog about living in poverty and working as a stripper and asked if I wanted to turn it into a book about my life. That book went on to become Skint Estate.
MY TYPICAL DAY…
Starts with cycling to a cafe. I find I work best when I’m around other people, so I’ll go to the Soho Theatre where I’m around lots of comedians writing their sets. I use this time to reply to emails, do some editing and maybe file a piece. For lunch, I might go to Papaya in Soho. It is so good. You get this box of the most amazing Thai food for £5. In the afternoon, I might do some writing for TV. I’m in development with Billie Piper to adapt my book right now. Then I could have meetings with publishers, journalists or TV production companies. I’ve been doing lots of photoshoots lately, which seems insane. Being a writer is really solitary and suddenly you’re thrust in front of a camera and you don’t know how to behave. I’m trying to get used to it. I’ll pick up my daughter from after-school club at about 5pm.
MY MOST MEMORABLE WORK MOMENT…
Was receiving the call from my agent that Skint Estate would be published. I was standing in the grotty kitchen of a homeless hostel my daughter and I were living in. It felt life-changing, magical almost.
THE WORST PART OF MY JOB…
Is the misery of writing a book. The writer Cat Marnell said she would only wish a book deal on her worst enemy because it’s hell, and it’s absolutely true.
THE BEST PART OF MY JOB…
Is knowing that someone has really connected with something you’ve written.
I’ll go swimming or for a bike ride along the river with my daughter, it’s our ritual. Then we’ll have something like chicken and salad for dinner. She goes to bed at 8pm and I’m usually not far behind her. Occasionally, I’ll pull an all-nighter if I have a deadline. On those nights, green tea is a constant, and I’ll have episode after episode of crap TV in the background.
Billie Piper says:
I’m in development with Cash to adapt her memoir Skint Estate into a TV series. She’s amazing and her story is so timely. The book is a fascinating, shocking look at poverty and motherhood.
Photography: Gemma Day
Hannah Keegan is the features writer at Stylist magazine.
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