Maxine Clayman

11.05.06

Everyone's talking about The Apprentice when I get in the office. I can't believe they were all rooting for ‘The Badger' to win. In disgust, I leave my desk to pick up a much-needed injection of caffeine.

Head off for an interview with actress Michelle Collins.

She's running late, an hour to be precise, as her daughter's ill, but it's all par for the course and these things can't be helped.

I was fleetingly worried she wasn't going to turn up, as she's already cancelled once.

One of the tabloids had run a story on her the other week, which upset her, so she postponed our chat.

But she calls on her mobile to apologise profusely and I'm reassured she's on her way.

I tread carefully during the interview. I'm aware there are certain topics that may be sensitive — she tells me her lovelife is a no-no. So I change tack and still manage to come away with some good lines.

Back in the office, I have a Bridget Jones moment. The new dictaphone I've used doesn't seem to have recorded any of the interview.

I could have sworn it was taping and I can feel my heart in my mouth, even though I've noted down all the good quotes as I've gone along.

Then someone points out it's not on playback mode.

Sheepishly, I get my head down and start transcribing it.

Have dinner with an agent to discuss their client list.

12.05.06

There are still a couple of advertorials left to write on new cleaning products and body lotions — the life of a feature writer is full of glamour. But really, that's what I love about my job. It's so varied from day to day.

One minute I can be interviewing celebrities and the next I can be writing travel articles, real-life stories or copy about disinfectant. I never get the opportunity to be bored and there's such a creative atmosphere at Cedar.

Attend a product launch at Soho House. It's in the roof garden, so I get the chance to bask in the sun for an hour.

Get back to an invite to see Westlife in concert as a thank you for an interview I did with Ronan Keating. It must be the promise of them doing a version of the Pussy Cat Dolls' Don't Cha that sways me into saying yes.

13.05.06

No chance for a lie-in. Have to get up early to go to my local leisure centre. I'm a really bad swimmer so I'm having lessons for a feature on swimming for the magazine.

The first piece has already run and I'm determined not to give up for the follow-up.

Can't believe I agreed to be photographed in a swimming costume — the lengths you have to go to for your job!

15.05.06

A few amends have come back from the client on various pages, so spend the morning subbing. Working in contract publishing means not only does my editor, Dawn Alford, have to approve everything, but so too does the client.

Some digis have come in and as I'm proofing them, Dawn comments on how good my hotel travel feature looks on the page.

Meet up with my friend who works for The Sun to go to a film screening. We actually met when I worked for Press Gazette — he used to send me entries for the headline of the month competition!

After the film, some other people turn up and we go for a drink. When I tell one of them I work for Tesco magazine, he asks if he can buy me a drink as ‘every little helps'. Like I've never heard that one before!

16.05.06

Client meeting to discuss what we're going to do for the Tesco Sports for Schools and Clubs initiative in the magazine. I've already attended coaching sessions at schools with England footballer Frank Lampard and rugby World Cup winner Jason Robinson.

Have lunch with a couple of PRs who bombard me with stuff on their latest food clients. It amazes me the number of people who think we only write about what goes into shopping trolleys.

In my former incarnation as a publicist I would have at least made sure I'd read their publication first. And as the second biggest magazine in the country, with more than four million readers, I'm a bit surprised they haven't.

Tuesday evenings are my Tai Chi course. I included it in a feature I wrote on alternative types of exercise, so thought I'd try it for myself.

17.05.06

Scanned through the papers as usual and any new magazines that had come into the office today. Even though we work quite far in advance, it's imperative to be up to date with current affairs.

And we've got a contents meeting this afternoon, so I want to see if there are any hot topics that might lend themselves to interesting features.

We're just putting our July/August issue to bed, and we're already thinking about the autumn. I remember when I first started as a feature writer on the magazine.

It was strange getting my head round the fact we had Christmas puddings and decorations in the office in the middle of summer.

Everyone bounces ideas off each other at the meeting. It's really productive, and we all leave feeling inspired and ready to create our best issue yet.

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