Emily Toxward describes herself as a word stylist, freelance writer, nosey journalist, and nagging wife who doesn’t worry about the ‘what ifs’. She is mother to three and runs Have A Laugh On Me, a blog about the frustrations and funnies of being a mum and woman, as well as her business Write Styling.
What was the catalyst for you starting Have A Laugh On Me?
I needed to express the many emotions that I was feeling as a mum who worked from home; the biggest of this was frustration! Being home alone with kids can be quite isolating and this website was a way for me to connect with others and let them know that they were not alone in their daily grind. Basically it started as an outlet, a release, but has morphed into a supportive and fun online community that I adore and can’t imagine not having it!
You have an impressive background in journalism, how does working for yourself differ than writing for a publication?
It’s liberating and exciting but also a little scary because I only have myself to fall back on. The best part is being able to pick and choose the writing work I do. Just recently I took on a writing gig because it paid well but a few weeks in I had to turn around and tell the client I didn’t think I was the right fit. My heart wasn’t in it, I found it boring and I’ve got to the stage in my life where I want to do work that nurtures my soul not drain it. What I miss about working in an office is the friendships, the adult conversation, weekly birthday cakes and the fact that if I’m sick I don’t have to show up for work. When you work for yourself it can get lonely and you pick from the fridge and pantry way more than you should!
Do you see yourself continuing freelance once your kids are older or moving back to a traditional writing position?
While the thought of working in a newsroom again is tempting the hours are long, the pay not so great and I would miss my freedom. It’s my goal to continue building up my writing business, Write Styling, to a point where I have a few staff writers and I manage it. I also have a few book ideas up my sleeve but the kids will have to be way older for that to happen. But you’ve got to dream big right? Believing the sky is the limit is the only way to get ahead in life.
What did you want to do when you left school? Did life stay on track or take some unexpected detours?
I’ve always wanted to be a journalist, although at one stage I recall toying with the idea of being a courtroom lawyer. Thankfully a careers advisor told me it’s not as glamorous as the TV shows make it out to be!
After school I went to university, got a Degree in Media Studies and Communication and then instead of searching for work I moved to New York and became a nanny!
After a year I thought I’d better head back to NZ, my place of birth, and I did a Diploma in Journalism before again jetting back to New York to nanny for another year. The lure of the city that never sleeps was strong. It ended up that I lived in New York before, during and terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. This had a profound impact on my life but thankfully I did not lose anyone I knew. I eventually headed back home, got in my parent’s car and drove the entire length of NZ visiting every newspaper office with my CV in hand. After failing to get a job I started working at a cafe at the bottom of the South Island serving rude customers. Six weeks later an editor called me up and said that he liked the way I searched for work and hired me. The rest, as the terrible cliché goes, is history!
Emily Toxward can be found blogging about life with kids at Have A Laugh On Me, Emily also runs Write Styling, where she helps businesses and blogs to better connect with new and existing readers using her journalism and chief sub-editor experience and skillsets.