Monthly Archives: March 2010

Hallucinating. Possibly.

Is it better to hallucinate mice in your home or actually have mice in your home? This is something I have been wrestling with for some days now. I’m pretty convinced I have seen a mouse several times since the weekend. My wife, who has been with me on the majority of occasions when I’ve seen the mouse, hasn’t seen the mouse. She thinks I’ve made the mouse up and that imagining a mouse running around somehow represents my fragile mental state. I think my mental state is fine, that mentally I’m pretty much tip top at the moment, and that the only reason I’m seeing a mouse running around (this happens four to five times a day) is because there is a mouse running around.

Part of me wishes that I was hallucinating the mouse running around. I think I would prefer for there to be a mouse running around inside my head rather than one running around in reality. This doesn’t represent my tip top mental state, more it’s just because I hate them.

I hate them not because they cause me to jump from time to time and spread disease etc. but because whenever I see a mouse (which is about four to five times a day), I think ‘wouldn’t it be good to get a cat, a cat would sort out a mouse’. Then I think about cats for a bit. Then I think about Cat World. Then I think ‘isn’t it a long time since I said I would pitch Cat World but didn’t. And look at all those other magazines in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook that I was supposed to pitch – and said I would pitch – but haven’t. And look at the state of Pitching the World. Pitching the World’s a laugh. Pitching the World’s gone really well. Pitching the World isn’t just one almighty flap-up’.

Well, it may be a flap-up at the moment, but it’s going to be a success. It has to be, to get rid of the mice. Either I’m hallucinating mice or they’re in the house. If I’m hallucinating them, it’s down to my fragile mental state, a mental state that has declined since Pitching the World has gone awry. And if there are actual mice in the house – and there probably are – then I need to make Pitching the World into a success so that we can move out of this mice-infested grief hole into a better place. 

There are other options of course – buy mouse traps, spend the weekend chasing mice around with with a golf club, take drugs to stop hallucinating – but I feel getting Pitching the World back on course is the best one.


Pitching the Void

Or rather: Pitching Not Very Much. Or better still: Pitching Fuck All. I haven’t pitched a thing for a couple of weeks now, for a number of reasons:

1. I don’t really like pitching things.

2. I don’t really like the people who I’m pitching things to.

3. I don’t really like writing things after they have been pitched and accepted.

4. I don’t really like the people who read the things that I write after they’ve been pitched and accepted and written.

5. After something has been pitched, accepted, written and read by people who – for no reason at all – I don’t really like, I don’t like waiting around for payment. 

6. Waiting around for payment is causing me no end of problems, including  hair loss, a misaligned jaw from grinding my teeth too much, an erratic libido (not really, I just like the idea of having an erratic libido) and (due to a lack of money) a decrease in the number of cigarettes I smoke and the amount of alcohol I drink.

7. When something has been pitched, accepted, written, read by a bunch of fools etc. then I feel it is my duty to try and write something about it, or about my lifestyle, or about something else equally uninteresting on here. This causes a lot of problems because I don’t particularly like blogs, writers, writing, blogs about writers, or writing a blog about a writer. 

I give Pitching the World another week or so.

A Farewell to Beetroot

Last Wednesday saw me landing one of my most lucrative and prestigious commissions to date. Over the next three months I will be reviewing 130 restaurants. This solves the immediate problem of where my next bit of beetroot is going to come from, and a longer term problem of where my next bit of money is going to come from. I highlight this most lucrative and prestigious commission to date not because I want to showboat, but because it provides an insight, however slight, into the life of a freelance journalist.

Last May saw me approach the editor of the food publication in question offering my skills as a reviewer. I pointed out that although I hadn’t reviewed a restaurant before, I had spent a couple of years trudging up and down the country reviewing estate agents (true) and if I could make an estate agency review lively and gripping, went my argument, imagine – just imagine – what I could do with a restaurant. And so began months of negotiations and a lot of begging on my behalf, before, finally, last Wednesday I found myself smoothing the editor in person and being offered the commission. 

This made me happy. I swanned around London with copies of the magazine and my printed out brief which I conspicuously read on the tube. I know what you’re thinking, I thought to myself as people peered over at my brief, you’re thinking that I’m a restaurant reviewer. Well, I am. And I’m going to go home now, after you’ve had one more peek at my writer’s guidelines, and I’m going to get to work on this lucrative and prestigious commission as I only have three months in which to conduct these 130 reviews and, well, I can get a bit distracted sometimes.

Last Thursday saw me curled up on the floor watching Balls of Fury. ‘Why?’ I thought to myself. After months agonising over whether or not I would get this commission, why, on my very first day of doing the work, am I curled up on the floor watching Balls of Fury? Why am I on the floor? And why have they made Balls of Fury? Who thought it was a good idea? Is it the work of some embittered ex-hack who thought that Balls of Fury is exactly the sort of film that could tip a freelance journalist over the edge after landing his most lucrative and prestigious commission to date? Because it nearly did. 

It nearly did, but it didn’t. Thankfully, I’ve become tougher over the last few months and the booze and nicotine which just about hold me together worked their magic and this morning – on a Sunday – saw me start my restaurant reviewing career. Swings and roundabouts, it seems. Fucking swings and shitting roundabouts.

How to Land a Book Deal: Part Two

The cries of “And what is that unusual approach?” have become too much for pitchingtheworld. If you don’t know what I mean by this, then I suggest you read “How to Land a Book Deal: Part One”. It’s an illuminating example of a writer giving the impression that he knows what he is talking about, whilst simultaneously promising a future (and the future is now) in which the reader will learn much about the intricacies involved in getting a book deal. At least I think that’s what is about. I haven’t read back over it.

Such an approach is typical of Pitching the World. I pretend I know what I’m talking about (when I don’t) and I promise things that will be of some use (I won’t do these things, and even if I did they wouldn’t be of any use) and in reality all I do is sort of fuck around amusing myself and a (dwindling) few others.

Still, book deals. Or rather, a book deal. My idea was a bold one. Instead of following the chump-like way of sending off a synopsis and three sample chapters to a publisher/agent and waiting for pretty much nothing, I thought if I could actually spend time with a publisher/agent, then I would be able to persuade said publisher/agent to consider publishing or representing a book based on the Pitching the World debacle. But I wanted a lot of time with someone, a few days or a week.

“But how on earth could you manage that?” I hear you cry. Quite simple really: I sent out an email to around a dozen publishers and a dozen agents saying that I wanted to spend some time with their slush (or submissions) pile, as I was writing a feature about the publishing process. Clever, no (and true: I am writing a feature on the publishing industry). And so far it’s worked: I spent two days at a literary agents last week (it was an eye opener) and have a couple more agents and publishers lined up.

“Wow, that’s brilliant pitchingtheworld. I’d like to hear more about that. Can I?” I hear you cry. Damn right you can. In fact, you can hear – and read – more about it in “How to Land a Book Deal: Part Three” which we be available soon. As soon as I write it. “But surely such golden information is worth loads, you can’t just give it away for free” I hear you cry. Well I can. And I will. On here. Soon. 

They say the best things in life are free. Well, in Pitching the World’s case, the worst things in life are free too.