On the day we officially launched a community for new writers, it seemed only fitting that we celebrate by listening to two superstar writers discuss their first books.
The sun was beaming as we climbed (fine, took the lift) up to a London rooftop for a very special Glamour Book Club, featuring Daisy Buchanan and Grace Victory.
We were in for a night of powerful discussion with likeminded writers, salient advice for finding contentment and possibly the best cheese straws we’ve ever eaten.
For the brilliant Daisy Buchanan, aka @NotRollergirl, it was publication day for How to be a Grown Up, her first book that covers everything from masturbation to money.
YouTuber Grace is a tour de force. Her book, No Filter, isn’t out until later this year but having listened to her talk first hand (and receiving the warmest of hugs when we went to say goodbye) we’ll be devouring it the moment it hits shelves.
We laughed. We teared up. We nodded emphatically when Grace and Daisy told yet another relatable story about body confidence/Twitter trolls/eating too many cookies.
So when we finally dragged ourselves home, a bit drunk and uncomfortably full of cheese straws, what had we learned?
That self-care is more than a buzzword, especially if you work alone.
Writers know more than anyone that to work alone is to traverse an emotional mountain range of highs, lows, unseen crevices and the odd rambling goat thrown in for funsies.
Loneliness and self-doubt come as part of the package. One minute you’re writing a flowing, hilarious vignette about losing your house keys, the next your fingers are hovering above your keyboard, frozen in insecurity.
Self-care – not happiness – is the antithesis of anxiety. Yes, it's the mots du jour noted Daisy, and therefore open to derision. But its tenets of making time for yourself, treating yourself kindly and ignoring the voices yelling that you’re shit are important. More than that, self-care is effective.
Look after yourself, said Grace. Do things for fun, not obligation.
We instantly started thinking about what makes us happy and have determined to make them a priority.
That money, money, money genuinely isn't that funny.
Being ‘creative’ might as well be code for ‘bad with money’.
Grace and Daisy both talked about how they slipped down the slidey travellator of debt. As Grace highlighted, no one teaches you this stuff in school. Writers are particularly vulnerable because we bloody love words but when it comes to numbers…yeah, not so much.
Money management is a skill that can be learnt. Often that means asking for help, which usually means feeling a bit stupid.
You are not alone. I have to Google 'net vs gross profit' every. Single. Time.
Better to ask some basic questions from someone who knows the answers than to have your card rejected in Tesco.
That friendships get harder as you get older.
If I had to sum up the effect of turning 30 it might be this: it’s harder to lose weight, and easier to lose mates.
As we get older, our lives get busier. Work is demanding, so down-time is more important – then people get into relationships and start having babies and suddenly months have passed and you haven’t seen your friends.
Losing friends is an inevitable part of getting older and there is no easy answer – it hurts whichever way you look at it.
But if you’re not getting back what you put in, let the friendship slide.
And if you lose all your mates, come to a Riff Raff event and make new ones. Better ones.
That puppies make you feel good, and toned bottoms don’t.
Here at The Riff Raff we refuse to shy away from the contentious issues – the gender pay gap, intervention policy, which Spice Girl was the best (it’s Geri, by the way).
Comparison is, sadly, now a normalised part of modern life. Try as you might, it’s hard not to compare yourself when social media is always one tantalising click away.
For Grace, the solution was regular social media breaks. Log out and engage in the real world (remember the real world?) It’s pretty good fun once you stop trying to swipe everyone’s faces.
Daisy advocated un-following the people who make you feel bad and replacing them with puppies. Follow the puppies and the world will seem like a much happier place.
We think it’s a paw-fect resolution.
That we’re all still learning to be grown ups.
Examples: Amy spilled a glass of wine on her leg and Rosy sent her phone clattering to the floor just as Daisy was making a poignant comment about body confidence to a hushed audience.
The title of Daisy’s book could not be more apt for all of us – because what does being a ‘grown up’ involve, anyway?
We like to think that if we’ve got a healthy work/life balance, a healthy-ish bank balance and a handful of solid, good-time mates around us then hell, we’re doing OK.
The rest is bullshit, but we're still figuring that out, too.
Daisy and Grace, you fierce first time authors: we salute you.