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.