Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. My afflictions that is. As if being sort of fat, sort of bald, sort of mad and sort of broke wasn’t enough – and, come on, it should be more than enough – I’ve only gone and developed a twitch. My right eye’s going. My right eye has had enough and is trying to get out of me. I don’t blame it. I’d get out of me too, given the chance.

My right eye wants to go, I think, as result of my recent nervous breakdown. It happened last week on holiday. ‘Oh splendid’, I thought mid-breakdown, ‘of course who but me should be having a breakdown whilst on fucking holiday. How boringly predictable’. My breakdown was spectacularly pathetic: one moment I was sat eating breakfast, the next I was shaking, (sort of) crying, and wondering whether or not I should ask the waitress to call someone (I didn’t know who), hold me, or slap me in the face. In the end I didn’t, I just lost my mind for a couple of days and resolved to give up the booze.

Which of course I haven’t. But I am cutting down and I am addressing the root cause of the breakdown. It’s these bastard restaurant reviews. Loyal readers will remember the day when I officially received the commission and spent the afternoon watching Balls of Fury and wondering “Why? Why am I not working on this commission that took months to land?’ 

Well, it’s got worse. At the time I thought that two and a half months was ample time to conduct 130 restaurant reviews. Even if I did three or four a day they would get done with weeks to spare. Then, as time went on, the maths became tougher. Maths became my enemy. A month or so ago I was thinking ‘Well, if I do thirty-odd a week – and that’s more than manageable – then I should make it.’ Then I went on holiday and went (sort of) mad for a bit, but I was still thinking ‘Okay, I’ve fucked up, but I can still manage ten reviews a day when I get back. It’ll be tough, but it can be done.’ Now that figure is nudging up and my time is running out. What if by this time next week I’m still wrestling with the maths? ‘Right’ – and I know this is exactly what I’ll be thinking – ‘right, I’ve got three and a half days left. If I do 40 reviews a day I’ll be fine – more than fine’. And so on. Regular, loyal readers will know that the day before the deadline I’ll be sat in my sad flat wondering if I can manage 12 reviews an hour.

Why do I do this to myself? Put myself under such pressure? Partly because I’m an idiot, I think, but mainly because I know when the restaurant reviews are done the only work I have to look forward to is Pitching the World. And Pitching the World ain’t ace. I see Pitching the World as a kind of oddball son, a son who unnerves me a little and, if it were an actual son, I would keep him locked in the attic.

If anyone has a calculator, please let me know. 

A holiday, earlier


7 responses to “Holiday

  1. Well, mow me down. Things sound tough Pitchy-fuck, but you can do it. If you think about it – and I know you love to ‘think about it’ – you have well over a week to get the buggers in, and they’re only a few hundred words each, and, by my calculations, 200 x 130 is 26,000 words. I once wrote a 10,000 word Master’s thesis in two days and an all-nighter, accompanied by 10 cans of Stella. So, if you worked non-stop for 4 days and 2 all-nighters, you’d get 20,000 words done, and then perhaps another day and an all-nighter might help you get the 6,000 done, and then a day or so proofing and touching up. You’re looking at about a week of working all day every day, 30 cans of Stella, and pulling a succession of increasingly difficult all-nighters….in fact, this isn’t helping is it.

    Don’t ‘think about it.’ Sack off the days and nights of work and just get the 30 Stella’s down your neck.

    I know a speed dealer if that helps?

  2. Fuck yeah! You think you’re having a bad time; today I had to go to FOUR shops to find Birdseye Potato Waffles, or ‘B-P Dubs’ as Craphole insists on calling them. Ended up in fucking Tesco. It was alright though, ‘cos when they went through the till they came up as ‘Pot Waffs’ and the Mr. Porky’s pork scratchings came up as ‘Porky Pork Scrat’, so I’ve come away with new nicknames for both potato waffles AND you. Also if you’re bored today I’m going to be scotching stuff (I say stuff; mainly eggs, but might try a pork scratching) so you should come around and get involved. Start a blog about it. Bangin’.

  3. Chaz Speelburg

    Thought this might interest you budding writers…

    A couple interesting stats on the publishing industry…
    94% of all titles published by the major publishing companies lose money. The average book sells around 3,000 copies. The average up-front advance is a shade over $1,500US.

    Some of the problems to address:
    Most authors who self-publish are just not any good at selling and marketing their book.
    The overall quality of most books is poor at best.
    Most independent publishing companies are little more than printing companies trying to sell the author 2,000 copies of their book.

    Corporate branding options are significant, and not just for coffee table books, or the like. If they can fill a need (introduce a large bank to small business owners, for example), then the options are limitless. Many books are also coming out these days that tell the story of successful businesses in their field. The magic with these types of books is that the company which is highlighted in the book will automatically purchase a few thousand copies. And don’t forget about the use of books as a fundraiser for non-profits.

    There are many other options to consider, and I would wholeheartedly agree that the traditional publishing model is broken…but people still love books and they are still buying them.

  4. Interesting stuff Chaz. And from the rest of you, for that matter. Thank you.

  5. Terence Rowland

    Steven, it’s shameful that I get to learn of the ups and, mostly, downs of your life by stumbling on a site through google. I’ve always been firmly on your side, I’ve helped when possible, if you’ve suffered a breakdown why not tell me ?

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