It’s quite a balancing act this, this whole business of pitching the world. Look, let me show you. Out of the six pitches I sent out last week, two have been commissioned and one looks as if it will be commissioned if I put in a bit more effort and seduce the editor with my excellent research skills. Not bad, is it? Well you’re wrong, it is bad. Because it’s brought home a dilemma that’s been playing around in the back of my mind since this half-baked project began.
And the dilemma is this. What if, out of the 500 or so magazines I have left to pitch, half of my pitches get commissioned as (seductive, excellent research aside) happened last week. What then? What then is that I have to sit down and write the things – write 250 features. That’s a lot of features. For someone stable, educated, disciplined and skilled that’s a lot of features. For someone unstable, uneducated, ill-disciplined and whose only real skill is just about being able to negotiate a drink problem then – well it’s still a lot of features but it feels like a lot more. And if you are the second person (the second person is me by the way, I hope you got that) and live in your Nan’s dining room (still me) and have two books to write and a career as a political speechwriter to resurrect (this, unbelievably, is still me) and a divorce to sort out and probably loads of other shit going on too that you can’t even begin to think about then the task becomes that much harder still.
Not that I couldn’t manage. If I perhaps cut down on my drinking and took some exercise and read about stoicism every morning and maybe even moved out of my Nan’s dining room, got a place of my own by the sea and a part time girlfriend – a young widow, say, or a single mum, or a crazy psycho stalker bitch – and became settled then I could maybe push out two or three features a week. Maybe. Yet even at that rate it would still take a couple of years to wrap this project up and that’s without really having a great deal of time to work on my speeches or on the books I have to write and the kid of the single mum will probably want shoes and for me to take him to the park and play cricket which I’ll enjoy but my enjoyment will be tempered by my being aware that instead of enjoying cricket with my weird stepson thing I should be writing a feature instead or at least going to see my widow girlfriend (I’ve decided to have two girlfriends in the future, by the way) and – oh, look, it’s crazy psycho stalker bitch hiding in a tree.
That’s what the future’s going to be like my friends. But what else can I do? Not do this project? Do this project but do it sloppily so I don’t end up playing cricket in a park with weird stepson thing? Get commissioned and then farm out the work? Stop getting ever-so-slightly ahead of myself and realise that there’s a big difference between pitching Mike Rampton at FRONT or Zachary Petit at Writer’s Digest (both of whom I’ve written for before) and pitching the likes of Black Beauty & Hair, British Deaf News or Brass Band World Magazine who all strike me as much tougher nuts to crack?
Yeah, I think I’ll do that.