Thursday, 8 December 2011
Trying. Very Trying.
This time of year tends to be a quiet one for a writer and freelancer.
The big boys are winding down for the consumer-fest of Christmas and all their projects have been written and are well underway, the small guys jettison every freelancer wherever possible to help bridge the lean month or so, and so we writers retreat back into our novels and screenplays, circling producers in the Radio Times, going through the inbox sending a little nudge emails to every contact in the hope of stirring up some work, or interest, and generally take stock of the progress (or lack of it) over the past year.
And you know the main thing I’ve realised over the past 12 months?
That the old adage of 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration holds more true now than ever before.
A writer’s life is one of networking, contacting, emailing, calling, smartphones - constant, neverending effort. Even when not writing my brain is chastising me for not writing.
Watch a film – mind giving your grief, go out shopping – same, go to the gym, ok just for a while but then back to it!
It’s like being on a Roman Galley, no respite, the mental whipping continues over and over screaming ‘Why are you not writing’. The novel, the screenplay, the short story, all of them on the shoulder, malevolent and chippy, pick pick picking at you and your lack of effort.
It is with you always, and that’s not healthy, but then if I finish this project it will go away wont it? No it wont, because the next project is already barging it’s way rudely to the front of my mind like a navvy at a bar on payday.
(All the time you’re writing of course you are chastising yourself for not replying to the 77 agencies that have replied to YOUR initial inquiring email)
I went to a networking event on Tuesday night in a beautiful bar in Bristol with Bristol Media, all very lovely; fizz, good chats about writing, work, intelligent people with passion chattering away into the night. And you know what I felt? Guilt. All the talk about writing when I could be at home writing. Arrrgh!
It’s a bloody nightmare.
And this is where the perspiration quote really sticks. The perspiration should surely be produced through the act of writing, not through the act of trying to get people interested in your writing, and finding work and hassling people who don’t want to be hassled.
I should have been born many years ago and lived in a garret retained by a wealthy merchant as their playwright. That would have been nice.
I lie in bed at night and I dream of the six figure publishing deal that will mean that when I see that 41 cm of fresh snow has fallen on Val Thorens overnight I can book it. Not think ‘I must delete that frigging app, it only brings pain and misery!’
But then that little part of my brain wakes again, maybe if I got out of bed now, and went and wrote through the dark quiet of the night I might get that deal, get that success, get the steep and deep powder that I crave.
Oh well, all we can do is try, and keep on trying.
Reading: I, Partridge by Coogan, Ianucci et al
Listening to: Backspacer by Pearl Jam – although I have just listened to Desolation row 6 times on repeat.