There are few things more dispiriting to this writer than having to rewrite stuff. Scrap that, that’s not true: there are loads of things more dispiriting to this writer, including hearing in the same day (today, from two different people) that both my wife and Alan are “more entertaining” on this blog than I am. This would be funny if it wasn’t so dispiriting, and if it wasn’t so painfully and obviously true.
Still, rewrites. In a sense I’ve been lucky: over the last three or so years I’ve only had a handful of stuff come back to me from editors that has needed to be rewritten. This isn’t, as you probably don’t suspect, because of my brilliant, error-free copy, but more because I’ve cultivated an image among the people I work for as being half-man half-psychopath. I put this down to spending a lot of my waking hours drunk, mad, careless and sweary. It works, most of the time.
Still, rewrites. This afternoon, I have to rewrite a bunch of stuff I filed on Friday. This, as I say, is possibly only the fourth or fifth time this has happened but it still feels like a kick in the teeth. Perhaps I’m too insecure or unbalanced or heady, but whenever I have to rewrite stuff I consider packing it all in. What if I’ve produced the best writing I’m ever going to? What if every time I write something from now on, I’m going to end up having to rewrite it? And what if that rewrite isn’t good enough? Rewrite a rewrite? And what if, whilst all this is going on (whilst I’m spending my whole career rewriting stuff), what if Alan and my wife are coming onto Pitching the World and outdoing me in the writing stakes, and they strike up a relationship and – well, it doesn’t bear thinking about.
Still rewrites. Yes, still those damn rewrites. I’m supposed to be doing them now. And the deputy editor who I’m supposed to be doing them for, for some reason, reads this blog religiously and will no doubt see all of this and wonder why the hell I haven’t been doing my rewrites and, when he receives them, will put the poor quality down to me messing around updating Pitching the World. He can even quote bits of this post at me if he chooses, just to rub it in. He can say, look, before you even started rewriting this you knew it was going to be of a “poor quality”, you said as much on your blog. You only have yourself to blame.
Yes, rewrites. Almost makes me nostalgic for the days of beetroot and cigarette butts. Life was much simpler back then.