Friday, November 24, 2006

Pit Stop

I've just delivered what should be the last draft of something and now have that yawning chasm and no safety net known as 'no paid work' stretching before me. Maybe I'll pick something up before Christmas. Maybe I won't. The Law According to Sod tends to point to the latter. Things generally slow down from now to Christmas as dev execs wangle Christmas lunches from Agents.

But who knows? And after a good number of years of this I should be used to it. It really does tend to be feast or famine unless you're a core writer on a long runner. And that's something I don't really want to do. To be honest, it would bore the crap out of me. I did three eps on the trot for an hour long recurring drama and that was quite enough. Imagine having years of that ahead of you. I like change and I like a challenge. It might not make me rich but hopefully my soul will remain intact.

This year has possibly been my worst financially since I started writing professionally. And I still managed to pay the bills. For me, that's good enough. In fact I'd go further and say if it's only about the money then you are not doing it right.

Because writers are crazy. Sure, they can hide behind logical sounding sentences and structured scenes and stories. And that can definitely give the appearance of some form of sanity. But don't let that fool you. That quiet looking guy in the corner with his laptop is feverishly dreaming and scheming and plotting and fighting with 10 characters in his head. Slaving to the exclusion of all else over something that may never see the light of day and that quite possibly he'll never see a cent for. During those hours he is that story. Outside those hours he's still pretty much that story. It leeches into him.

He'll know that rejection and compromise await whichever way it goes. But he keeps going. Because he's crazy. And because to paraphrase Kipling-

''If you can bear to hear the truth you've spokenTwisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;If all men count with you, but none too much,If you can fill the unforgiving minuteWith sixty seconds' worth of distance run,Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,And--which is more--you'll be a writer , my son!''

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