Wednesday, 23 April 2014

For those about to write, we salute you.

And so, let us starts with the apologies. I write this in my cups, under the influence, one over the eight, pissed. This blog comes after the best of nights; a night on the lash with other writers. Very appropriate for the 23rd of April 2014, Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. Happy Birthday Bill!

And so I also think it is appropriate to sing the drunken praises of my fellow scribes, those other daughters and sons of the written word. The women and men who understand the human condition and bring it to life of on the page screen, stage and page. Those astronauts in the outer space of empathy and the search for truth. Ah, that’s pretentious babble but it’s not entirely off target.

You see the greatest thing about making a living from putting pen to paper, finger to keyboard, arse to chair is your fellow travellers. That’s what makes this odd choice of career sustainable. The realisation that you are not the only one with that skewed view of the world, that exposed heart, that need to chronicle. And it is a need, not a whim or a vague notion.

And so the best moments of this odd life is not spent at the desk but in the tavern, inn, pub or coffee shop. That moment when you realise it’s not just you! There are other freaks that obsess over the words, over the scenes, over the characters. The first time you squee over that episode, that scene, that minor character. They get it, the minutiae. More importantly, they get you.

It’s an extraordinary moment. A feeling of belonging that you never felt at school, at your first crappy job or even, whisper it, when amongst your family.

That is not to say that your nearest and dearest can’t be taken on the journey. The box set and the book becomes your gift to those you love. Never turn your nose up at a flat, rectangular gift from a writer. Our heart and soul comes in those oblong boxes. It means we love you. In return, buy us stationery. There is nothing more guaranteed to gladden a writer’s heart than an unsullied page and the unused pen.

And so on this holiest days, I salute you my sisters and brothers of the pen. I share your frustrations, your tears, your triumphs and your desire to be ‘got’. And I urge you to remember that there is strength in numbers. The Writers’ Guild is there for you, manned and guided by your fellow writers. Other writers are there for you. Reach out, we’ll be there.

Well, when we’ve got this draft in. You may need to be patient.

13 comments:

  1. The Writers' Guild makes sure we all get the proper fees, working conditions and respect. Together writers can move mountains. Come and move some mountains with us.

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  2. High praise indeed there for Lisa from Anonymous. Having met her a few times, I would've said she's merely a minor deity, rather than being the offspring of the Creator... [Insert allegedly wherever you see fit]

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    1. I think I come from a slightly warmer place than the Heavens Above.

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  3. No but Christ...."Take your family on the journey with a box set"....classic.

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    1. Do I detect a note of derision?

      For clarity's sake, I'm as passionate about my viewing and reading as anything else in my life. I love to share the stuff that gets me going. I see it as a window into who I am. If I give you a book or a DVD, it's because I loved it and I want to talk to you about it.

      Some people will totally get that. Others will make snarky, anonymous comments on other people's blogs. C'est la vie.

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  4. My name is Paul Vale I work in telly mostly for ITV...production. Formerly editing. Couldn't work out how to comment any other way but anon as don't do social media.etc. 63 should be retired.

    You do come over as very grand in these blogs. I love Northern bluintness and all that ( I'm from Cumbria) but do you not worry people might get upset. The blog and They Say the Damndest things would upset me if I'd just had a meeting with you. You've got to be as nice as you can when you're a freelancer. I know from experience

    I was going to say maybe you shouldn't blog when pissed

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    1. Well, thank you Paul, for your concern. I don't worry about it. I assume most people take it in the spirit it is intended. It's meant to be humorous but comes from genuine experience in the industry,

      Just to be clear, I think writers are treated like crap in our industry. And there is a sense of pervading isolation amongst writers which is getting worse not better. And so, if in a moment of wine-fuelled exuberance I felt like reaching out, I'm not going to apologise. It was genuine sentiment and I stand by every word of it.

      And whilst interpersonal skills are important as a freelancer, that doesn't mean anyone should have to roll over, take a kicking and then thank the powers that be for it. That's why I joined the Writers' Guild and that's why I will always speak my mind.

      And if people are upset by what I write, I'm open to discussion. As you will now be realising.

      Again, thanks for your concern.

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  5. Well if I were someone looking after you, like an agent or something, I'd be telling you to take it down. It's all very noble of you to fight the cause...and I'm sure you're right that its tough out there.....but I reckon you should look out for yourself. You never know who reads these things you know when you put them out there.....and as for the spirit in which its intended....if these people are as unimaginative and as dim witted as you say they are do you really reckon they'll take it that way?

    Take care

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  6. Again, thank you for your concern. However, my agent does read my blog and has yet to be worried. I regularly shoot my mouth off on Twitter and at public meetings. I won't say I've never got myself into trouble, but nothing career-ending.

    I would suggest that writers who never express an opinion or show the fire their belly are going to be pretty boring to work with. So far, I've been a professional writer for 13 years and I'm sat at my desk on Saturday hitting a new deadline.

    Frankly, if I thought the commissioners and producers were as humourless and dim-witted as I have portrayed them in a piece of writing that's meant to be funny and satirical... Well, I'd pack it in and go do something useful. I have strong opinions because I bloody love TV. I hope that comes over on the blog. And hope that it appeals to likeminded folk.

    It's telly. We all know it's a faintly ludicrous job to be in. And that you can drop in and out of favour at the whim of a producer. So, you can run your career on half speed and have half the fun. Or you can be true to yourself and have a ball.

    Incidentally, there are plenty of other writers who regularly express strong and controversial opinions about TV. Jimmy McGovern springs to mind. He never gets anything on the box these days, does he? Russell T Davis has never been backwards in coming forwards either. Andrew Davies has in tabloid parlance 'slammed' the Beeb in the past. Kay Mellor had a pop last year.

    BTW, not in any way comparing my pedestrian talent to theirs.

    And the day that British writers don't express an opinion, it's really is all over for British television. Because it will mean they've stopped caring.

    Thanks for your input and have a great weekend.

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  7. Hey.....they are big names....they're bankable.....it gives them immunity ( I know how this business works) .....You are clearly a very clever clever woman......don't ruin it eh?

    PV

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