Day 93. You don’t have to be Grigory Perelman to work out that equates to one more week of this pitching malarkey. And, effectively, my twenties. Yup, over the hill in under a week and hopefully more mature and less inclined to make ridiculously public declarations of intent like this here blog. Hopefully this also means conversations can return to normal, rather than:
Person: so how’s that pitching thing going?
Me: look, there’s a squirrel!
Perhaps I can return to decent night’s sleep rather than leaping out of bed remembering I haven’t pitched, or waking bolt upright in the middle of the night with what seems like a brilliant idea (on closer inspection of the scribbled notes in the morning, it always manages to disappoint). Maybe I can bring my laptop back into the bedroom after it was banned following an accusation that I loved it more than my bedfellow. No comment.
Those with keen powers of observation may also have noticed its been a record gap of 20 days between posts. Whilst my pitching began with gusto, in these dying days of the experiment the process has become somewhat tepid. In fact, it has reflected my standard system when approaching any major deadline, particularly one I care about: Denial. Absolute unashamed, unbridled procrastination. It’s an art, I tells ya. (It really is: in a twisted and perverse psychological sense this self-sabotage is actually very clever: if you fail, you can blame lack of preparation, if you nail it, you’re a genius – you didn’t even prepare).
There have been a couple of sporadic bursts of action since we spoke last. I did have a quasi-epiphanic moment regarding travel journalism. Surely, after professional footy, this is the greatest scam in the working world: get paid to do what everyone else pays to do. I’m still very much in the sucker category, with large travel debts from spending the last decade gallivanting around the globe. As such, I haven’t been able to plan travel anywhere very word-worthy lately, excluding me from this kind of writing. Until it occurred to me I could dust off the old emails and write about the places I’d already been. So a few pitches went off in this vain – authentic family yurt experiences in Mongolia, catching the ferry from Stockholm to Tallin, a local’s guide to Goa, and how to buy a coffee plantation on the cheap in Columbia.
I also decided in these last couple of weeks of accountable, enforced pitches that they might as well be about something I’ve always wanted to know about. A long laundry list later, I shortlisted 3 or 4 burning topics, which will kill two self-serving birds with one stone if commissioned: advice on buying a vintage car, microfinancing for dummies and one on the social implications of men-only detention centres from next year (admittedly, I only realised I wanted to know about this on Tuesday, but its burning nonetheless).
And this week, I’m setting myself the greatest challenge so far. The mother of all procrastination pitches: a pitch to the mag I want to write for the most. I’ve been waiting until the end so I could send them a dazzling portfolio of published pieces, but in the absence of those it will just have to be a cracker of an idea. The magazine is Frankie, and I’ve been putting it off because I want to get it just right – they have a really specific style (intelligent, witty, irreverent) and their writers (especially Marieke Hardy and Benjamin Law) are my heroes. The idea itself has not been forthcoming, but I’m hoping to change that tonight over a brainstorming workshop with friends. They’re under the impression it’s a birthday dinner but such is the necessary duplicity of the budding writer.