I’m not really one for those bullshit ‘Here’s What I Did in 2011’ lists, but sometimes you need to assess things and assess them publicly. That last bit isn’t even remotely true. Neither is that first bit. Regardless, here is my take on my 2011. Yeah, it’s all about me.
THE GOOD. I didn’t die or go mad. Pitching the World is more popular than ever. This post aside, I’m writing better than I’ve ever done. My agent hasn’t fired me. For a while last year I was being paid £3 a word. I was offered a weekly poker column. I’m hilariously broke and in debt and sometimes this can lead to bold, spectacular progress.
THE BAD AND THE BAD AND THE UGLY AND THE BAD. The Good was good, wasn’t it? The Good was far better than I expected. But The Bad, I fear The Bad is going to be bad. Let’s see. I was homeless for most of 2011. I didn’t have to sleep rough at any point, but I’ve slept all over the place and am officially of No Fixed Abode. The few things I own are scattered about all over the place. I can’t work out of this state of affairs builds my character or drains it. I suspect it does both, simultaneously. I think that last statement is perhaps the most meaningless I’ve ever written.
My enthusiasm for this project is lower than it’s ever been, except for about ten minutes every day where I enter into some sort of mania and think that not only is everything going to be all right, but that everything is all right. I think my lack of enthusiasm lies with unresponsive editors and also with the fact that I NEVER FUCKING PITCH ANYTHING. This is a big problem. A big, big problem. Why hasn’t anyone told me it’s a big, big problem? Oh I tell myself, but I’m a master now at outmaneuvering the truth and so as soon as I tell myself it’s a big, big problem that I’m not really pitching anything, I’ll just as quickly say, ‘No it’s not. It’s not a big, big problem at all.’ This is also a big, big problem.
Let’s do some maths, shall we? Okay, so in the 28 months I’ve been doing Pitching the World I’ve pitched 25 magazines. Properly pitched them that is, as opposed to sending out en masse one of my bullshit generic begging letters*. This is not good. If I continue at this current output, it will take around 670 months to pitch all of the magazines in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. 670 months: That’s almost ten years. And that was almost a joke.
So, what to do? This is where you come in. Please help by plonking an answer in the below. Thanks.
A poll, earlier.
*My Bullshit Generic Begging Letter sent out earlier in the year. The responses were overwhelmingly positive.
From: Pitching the World
I am in the process of trying to write features for all 642 magazines listed in the 2010 edition of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. Among those 642 magazines is yours. This ridiculous process began back in 2009 (for a while I called it a ‘project’ but I’ve given up on that now) after I had quit my job as a political speechwriter.
Now, if you consider my decision to quit my job as a political speechwriter and return to journalism to be a terrible one – and you’d be right to – my idea of writing for 642 magazines is even worse.
You should see me now, almost two years down the line. When I began, I was living with my neuroscientist wife in Stoke Newington. Now I’m getting divorced and live in my Nan’s dining room in Boscombe. Before I had hair, lots of it, and it wasn’t grey. Now I have little hair, and it is grey – white, even. I had money and shoes and confidence. Now, well I suppose I don’t have to spell it out, but now I have none of those things. What do I have? I have night terrors, addictions and crumbling self-esteem. Oh, and belief. I still have a sliver or two of belief.
After describing myself in such thrilling detail it seems a little ridiculous to say that I’d like to write for you. But I would. I’m in a hole you see, and it’s a hole I’d like to get out of. Are you farming work out to freelancers at the moment? I’ve written hundreds of pieces over the years for the Guardian, the Independent, Square Mile, Square Meal, the British Journalism Review, Business Destinations and plenty more. I reckon I could write a nice feature for you. Or a mini-feature. Or an opinion piece. Anything really. A paragraph? Do you need any paragraphs writing?
What are my chances? Slim? None? Reasonable? Please leave me alone?
Splendid clippings available on request.
I look forward to hearing from you.
With best wishes,
Pitching the World