Ivory vs. cardboard

Just over two weeks ago, a good thing happened. Sometimes I know when a good thing is going to happen. I find that I stop feeling like I’m made up of right angles or bits of old cardboard and start feeling like I’m made of ivory or pure running water or something and then something good happens. I know: strange.

Anyway, I was headed to the house I’m staying at in the Mallorcan countryside. I was walking in the heat along an old dirt track that looked like it had been lifted straight from the Bible and gradually felt myself shift from old cardboard to ivory and when that happened I thought to myself, “Something good is going to happen soon.”

When I got back to the house I checked my computer and saw that lots of people had been coming to Pitching the World via Twitter. I hunted around Twitter and saw that an editor whose magazine I like very much had called it “The best blog on the internet” and a writer whose work I admire very much said that he “Agreed.” This made me go a bit heady. Finally, I thought, I’ve somehow managed to convince the editor of a magazine that this is the best blog on the internet, even though it clearly isn’t. Perhaps I’ll be able to crowbar this information into one of my future posts. People may see how happy it’s made me and may want to copy the actions of the editor I like and the writer whose work I admire. That would make me happier. And if people were to do that then I may give them money and hats and fuck them in bins. Something for you all to chew over.

That’s not the good thing that happened. I know, I know, it’s completely compelling but watch out because this next sentence is going to completely blow your mind to pieces.

After I read what people had been saying about me on Twitter I checked my email. (Told you.) Among the usual guffs and bits of old cardboard that usually suffocate my inbox was a little piece of ivory. The company that I used to work for were asking me if I had the time and inclination to go to the Caribbean for a few weeks to work on a project involving “crime, recidivism and gang culture.” Good money, all expenses paid etc. etc. – would I be interested?

“I would be interested.” I wrote back. “I mean, I am interested. I’d love to come and help. I love crime, recidivism and gang culture. Actually, I hate crime recidivism and gang culture. Is that better? Oh God, what’s the right one? Whatever the correct answer is, that’s what I think. Just tell me the right answer and I’ll think it – that will be my answer. Forever. See you at Heathrow on Monday.”

See? Do you see what can happen as a freelance writer? One minute you’re all cardboardy walking down a dirt track wondering what to do with the rest of your life and where your next sleeve of Camel Lights is coming from, the next you’re being whisked off to a Caribbean island to make everything okay for everyone and getting paid lots of money to do so.

Regular readers will know that this isn’t being written on a Caribbean island. Regular readers will know that something along the way got fucked up (or rather that someone along the way got fucked up) and that instead of being on a Caribbean island interviewing gang members I am, in fact, still in Mallorca and writing a 5,000 word report (on a Sunday) about voting behaviour.

It’s actually all rather pleasant and stimulating. And it’s made me think that doing corporate work is perhaps the way I should be heading. For me, freelance journalism is tough at the moment. Anecdotally, freelance journalism is tough at the moment. I’ve heard of a handful of people in the last week alone who have either given up or are on the verge of giving up. Rates are low and dropping. Editors make you fuck them in bins and buy them hats before they commission you. Accounts departments spend all their time laughing and masturbating at you. All very grim and seedy, I’m afraid. Whereas in the corporate world they pay you several hundred pounds a day – sometimes more – for doing cool, interesting work and they will even pay you money before you start working. I kind of love it.

But I kind of love writing for newspapers and magazines more. You just have to find the right ones. Luckily for you and for me I’ve been researching the right ones and I’ll be popping back on here in the next couple of days with a list of publications that pay very well and/or very quickly.

Imagine: real, practical advice.



18 responses to “Ivory vs. cardboard

  1. A footnote to all those clients trying to drive down freelancers’ prices – remember when you paid me my going rate? Remember all the extra stuff I did for you, yeah? Like, for free, as a gesture of goodwill? Then when you knocked my rate down by 20% and I didn’t do so much extra stuff for free, and you wondered why what you got (which was still what you’d asked for) wasn’t quite as good? Yeah, that. You get what you pay for.

  2. BB: Good to have you here. You’re right on the money there. Or, indeed, not.

  3. This is all very good news and has rather made my Sunday afternoon, which has so far been shite. Thanks Pitchy!
    Are there a lot of laughs in corporate stuff?

  4. I’m glad it’s made your afternoon Mya which, indeed, must have been a bit rubbish if the above news made it. How do you mean laughs? The corporate stuff I tend to do is proper dry but you make your own fun, I suppose.
    (N.B. I don’t know if I’ve thanked you or not for including me on your blogroll, but thanks. If mine ever extends beyond the Artwork of Gary Sams then you’re assured a place on it.)

  5. Need any help on voting behavior, I’m kind of an expert…?

  6. An ivory quality post! Thanks Pitchy.

  7. Fuck, yeah, you are aren’t you L. I’m going to email you immediately and ask you to do all of my work for me.
    An ivory quality exclamation mark. Thanks Camera Bird.

  8. It’s always an ivory day when Pitching the World shows up in my Google Reader.

  9. Heh indeed, Simeon.
    Is it really Chloe? How splendid to hear. Thank you.

  10. Pitch,

    I’d like to write corporate reports too.

    Now, I know I’ve had some fun at your expense a few times. And I understand the temptation would be to send me on a wild goose chase. But I did point you to the right shop when you were running low on undercrackers in Paris. That’s important to remember. The point is my soul destroying office job is killing me – slowly.

    Where do you find corporate writing gigs? Bidding sites? Newspapers? Behind the sofa?

    In other news. Not that anyone is going to be remotely interested. I’m due a decision on funding for my horror screenplay this week. If I get the green light then you’re more than welcome to come along and watch me screw the whole project up at the end of October/Novemberish sort of time. Could make a good article. Probably not.


  11. You’re entirely wrong Chris: I’m completely interested. I thought you were going to write, “If I get the green light then you’re more than welcome to help polish the script and play a ghost in the film.” But you didn’t so I’m not going to help you with landing corporate writing gigs. That’s not entirely true; I would help you but wouldn’t know where to start. I got lucky and got my first bit of work through an acquaintance/adorable brother and went from there really. If I was starting out now, I reckon I would flounder. All that said, if I come across anything that may be of interest I’ll let you know.
    I’m still painfully short of undercrackers by the way.
    Hope the green light gets lit. Have you watched the documentary American Movie? It’s very good. You must seriously watch it – it’s about an articulate and clever alcoholic making a 35 minute horror film. I’d lend it to you, but Alex Godfrey who used to be the editor of Hotdog and then Bizarre borrowed it from me and never returned it.

  12. Pitch,

    I don’t have a ghost in my screenplay. I’m not sure I have a plot either. But I’m going to write a ghost into my screenplay tonight after i’ve finished dinner and you can play it. Oh, and don’t worry about the corporate writing thing. You see, I’ve already changed my mind about that. I don’t need a writing career. In my deluded mind I’ve already finished shooting the film you see and I’m enjoying life on a big beach in LA somewhere. You should all see me.

    Once I get that green light everything’s going to run sweet.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  13. We do all see you Chris. And I love the way you managed to completely swerve my American Movie question.

  14. Pitch,

    There’s a very good reason for that swerve. I haven’t seen it. But I’ve googled it. Looks good.

  15. ivory much enjoyed reading this

  16. ivory sometimes about whether I chose the best pun there

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