at least I’d put on a bra…

A few weeks ago, I was working to deadline; I had a post due for the Fundamental Fridays blog which, for me, is a pretty big deal. It was a fairly typical scenario for a writer; up at 5:00 a.m., at the desk by 5:30 with coffee in hand. I was behind schedule (which, admittedly, freaks me out) so the only thing I could do was buckle down and get writing.

You’ve been there, I’m sure; a professional woman conducting her work in a professional way—work that will be seen by higher ups, by peers, and by potential clients. This is important stuff. We can’t half-ass it. We’ve got to present our work, and ourselves, in the best possible light.


It’s at times like these that I thank the technology gods for the alarm on my iPhone. Without it, I’d never get to my Editor Roundtable or Book Launch Show podcast recordings, I’d miss calls with editing clients, or as on this particular day, I’d forget to set up important conference calls.

The call was part of a Story Grid course. Students from all over the world were coming together to ask questions of three certified editors. My role was purely behind-the-scenes; make sure the moderator had everything she needed, then step back and let my colleagues do their jobs.


I was ready. My colleagues were ready. But, Zoom had a system-wide failure which meant that two of the three editors couldn’t get onto the call. It’s too big a job for one person and we couldn’t delay the start time. So, as a certified editor myself, I offered to jump on the call and help out.


I assumed my confident editor voice and began to welcome the participants.


“Wait,” said Kim, the lone editor who’d made it onto the call. “You’ve got to turn your camera on.”


And that’s when I realized that I was still wearing my pyjamas.

Yes, it was 2:30 in the afternoon, but I hadn’t left my desk since 5:30 in the morning. Worse, I hadn’t yet combed my hair or put in my contact lenses. And make-up? Pfft, forget it.


Refusing to turn the camera on would have been downright silly, but broadcasting this decidedly unprofessional image of myself? Ugh. I still can’t bear to think about it.


There was nothing for it. I raised my chin and before flicking on the camera, I smiled. I may not have brushed my teeth that morning, but at least I’d put on a bra.


About the author 

Valerie Francis

Valerie Francis is a bestselling author, literary editor, and podcaster with a passion for stories by, for and about women.

Each month, Valerie recommends books from literature’s best female authors. Selections come from every genre because women write, and read, in every genre. The Women’s Fiction category offers up some terrific novels, but these days there’s a strong female presence in thriller, horror, crime, and other genres traditionally dominated by male writers. No matter what the publishing companies may think, in the 21st Century, Women’s Fiction is whatever we want it to be.

stories for women, by women, and about women

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