editors pitched :: 2
replies received :: 0
commissions :: 0
interviews arranged :: 2
interviews conducted :: 1
major distractions :: 3
money made :: none
money spent :: really? Is that the direction we’re going in? OK, OK. I’ll start next week.
tobacco consumed :: none
nicotine withdrawal rages endured :: two days’ worth
hopes raised :: one
physical exercise :: one hour of amateurish tennis
metaphysical exercise :: none
week 1/52 overall rating :: 7/10
A major part of being a proper writer is knowing which markets to pitch with what stories, and as far as this is concerned, I haven’t got much of a clue. I’m hoping I can learn though. I have a book in front of me called How to Work as a Freelance Journalist. (Thanks, Aly!) That’s got to help, right? That’s next on the reading list, when I finally get done with Getting Things Done.
Early this week I came across an alphabetised version of The Wizard of Oz called, kind of obviously, Of Oz the Wizard. It’s a remarkable, frankly insane piece of work and I immediately thought – as it interested me greatly – that I should write about it. Like what a proper writer would do. So I contacted the guy who made it and we had a little exchange of emails in which he happily answered my questions. Then, before I wrote it up, I pitched the idea to one website magazine dealing with popular culture, waited a couple of hours, heard nothing back, pitched it to another, heard nothing back, thought to hell with it, and wrote it for myself. (I am at the moment the only commissioning editor who replies to my emails.)
Potentially, I thought, cinema magazines might be interested, but the film went online a few days ago, so it’s kind of time-sensitive. At the moment, it’s news. So I thought, online is best. Now, a proper writer, like I say, would have more of an idea of markets and maybe a few existing relationships with editors that he or she could exploit. I don’t have that yet, so I’m kind of a bit lost.
But that’s what this year is all about. I’ll figure it out.
Distractions this week have been quite powerful. First and most distracting, sometime on New Year’s Eve, before waking up in 2016, the boiler went kaput. I won’t go into detail because it’s extraordinarily tedious, but basically, I’ve been a whole week without heat or hot water. Not the end of the world, I know, but what was bad and in the end massively time-consuming was the amount of bullshit hoops I had to jump through in order to get it fixed. Lots and lots of telephone calls, missed appointments, downright lies and exasperating arguments with an arse-voiced regional manager called Ross. (Boiler Emergency Tip: avoid a company called Rightio. With an inspiring name like that, who’d have thought they were money-grubbing incompetents?)
Actually, whilst a week without heating isn’t really such a bad thing, in the grand scheme of things, it was astonishingly cold. I was forced to spend much of it shivering in a Slanket and fingerless gloves, so it wasn’t ideal for proper writing. But there’s no need to point out that there are people in worse situations. I am aware of that.
Distraction number two came in the form of the ten-part Netflix documentary series, Making a Murderer. If you haven’t watched it yet, do so at once. It’s harrowing, infuriating and addictive – essentially ten hours of mental torture. It will have you shouting at the television, cursing the US legal system and simultaneously doubting your faith in humanity.
Distraction number three came in the form of a human being. Not that boiler men and convicted murderers are not human beings, but this one was distracting in a purely positive way. For not only was she a human being, but also a human woman, possibly my favourite kind of human being. Unfortunately, this human woman lives on the other side of the country. Fortunately, the internet exists, and we have spent a lot of time this week getting to know one another virtually. I have high hopes that the pleasure thus far afforded by this human woman will continue. If it does, I will have to use all of my powers of concentration and dedication to fulfil this year’s mission, which is to say, becoming a proper writer, by which, let’s face it, I mean a paid writer.
So that’s that. The first week – barring the rest of today – is over. It’s been OK. There is a lot I haven’t done that I would like to have done and that I ought to have done, but I’ve worked quite hard, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know a human woman, which is always something to be celebrated.
Now, the heating having finally been fixed about 90 minutes ago, I am about to have my first bath and shave of 2016.
Happy New Year.