Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Me Time

One of the downsides about writing for episodic TV is you get used to the money.

Piss off you smarmy bastard

Jeez I heard that from here, but no I'm serious. I write for two shows at the moment and for about the couple of years I literally have had no time to do anything I actually wanted. A new spec? Forget it. A treatment? Maybe, if I can squeeze it over a weekend and actually feel like facing the keyboard.

I think any writer ultimately wants to work on their own projects. That's where the real passion lies and that's why I got into this game. But with the cost of living in London, even apart from Ken and his congestion charges, it's pretty hard to say no when the phone rings.

So, if I want time for me, I can either move to the Outer Hebrides [not an option, Mrs English gets withdrawal symptoms over fifty miles from a M&S food court] Or turn down work.

Guess it's the latter. Which is what I have just done. I've made the decision to only work one show and use the time to write my first spec in a couple of years.

Mrs English is putting on a brave face, bless her, though it puts the half term holiday in severe jeapordy and the school fees are due in a couple of months. It's just something I have to do. Chances are the spec will come to naught. But that isn't the point for me.

Writers have an urge to create a world. Keeping someone elses ticking over, like episodic TV, has it's attractions but creation is the key switch in the writers hard wiring. That I think is what drives writers, against all the odds, to continue doing what they do. Why some aspiring pro writers do a gruelling nine to five day job then sit for three or four hours in front of the keyboard pounding out stories. Why some professional writers put their heart and soul into a spec to have it rejected by every producer in town, already knowing that is the probable outcome.

We're a crazy breed. And the world would be a much poorer place without us.

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