Thursday, 19 January 2012

Occupation: Piss Artist

It might surprise people who read this blog, but I am a writer by trade. 'By trade' makes it sound like I have a van, or at the very least a dungaree pocket containing a spanner, but no. (Actually, perhaps writers should have vans, and take out adverts in the Yellow Pages. 'Sebastian Faulks- Complex Plot Devices While U Wait'. 'Joanna Trollope - Gas Safe Registered Aga Technician' etc).

Anyway, I wish there was a degree of legitimacy to being a writer but there isn't. Unless you're famous or you stand about all day waving a big fucking quill, nobody knows. So you'll just have to take my word for it that I once wrote some books that are at #19,567,984 on the Amazon list. Also, once, in 1997, the Independent on Sunday proclaimed that I was genius. I had the clipping, but NOW I CAN'T FIND IT. Oh well. If you're one of those people *Dennis Norden face* who likes to spot writers in the street, look out for the unkempt fat people who are crying on a park bench. That's us. Or it might be a tramp.

Being a (not very successful) writer is weird, and a source of endless strife. Really, we should get proper jobs and just give up, but we don't. I scrape a living from words, but nobody can really call themselves a writer in casual conversation, even if they've been published, without sounding like a pretentious, cretinous turd. This leads to a perverse state of embarrassment, to the point that you may as well work in an abbatoir. You almost talk yourself out of it. When I was stressing out a couple of months ago, my own mother suggested I get a job at a cheese shop. 'But I'm...a writer,' I stammered. Even I didn't believe it when I said it.

When you've got kids, writing becomes an impossible dream, unless you have an understanding spouse with an inheritance, a large family or an army of helpers. There's no way you can write a synopsis for that elusive bestseller when you've got a chimp hanging off you bollocking on about Balamory. Sitting around making things up seems like a ridiculous indulgence, especially if there's no cash guaranteed at the end of it. You also need time. Lots and lots of time. Time to examine your metaphorical belly button fluff. Time to let your mind unspool, like the multicoloured wheel of doom on your laptop. Time to sit on a park bench and cry and share a bottle of White Lightning with a man called Nobby.

But maybe time's on my side. The other day I registered my son for school. It was a weird feeling. Part of me was sad. Part of me was yelling 'YEAH! BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 9 AND 3 I CAN DO ONLINE GAMBLING AND WATCH REPEATS OF COACH TRIP!'. One thing's for sure - once he's at school I'm going to have to either write myself out of poverty, or get that job at Cheeseworld. (Or both.) So I've had some ideas and I'm writing them down and I'm going to get back to number #19,567,983 on Amazon if it kills me. And if that doesn't work, I'm going to become a plumber.

13 comments:

  1. There are worse things in life than telling people you're a writer. You can tell them you're a blogger. A blogger of beer and pubs and drinking in general. Then they think you're a piss artist. Emphasis on the piss. You can see the contempt and confusion bubbling away.

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  2. Well the FIRST thing to do is go and put a link on your blog to your book on Amazon because *I* think you're as funny as fuck and would LOVE to read a WHOLE BOOK of you.

    So get THAT sorted out asap pleeze.

    Y'see I got my son out to nursery as soon as was legally permissible because I NEEDED some time to just sit on the couch and stare off into space, wondering whether I'd EVER feel humanoid again. I also planned to write, but never got around to it. Blogging is as far as it went for me......but YOU, you've got TALENT.

    So - Get On With It :-D

    Ali x

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  3. No working in a cheese shop... a Gregs maybe? ;) Honestly though, love this! You are a genius!

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  4. I honestly had this hope that "one day", when I was a mum and not running on the corporate hamster wheel, I might be able to write not just for kicks but cold hard cash. Now I think I might just go part time :)

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  5. Hmmm, the things I thought I would do when the last of the kids started school... Haven't done anything. Not even applied for anything. Not even Cheeseworld. Well, I started a blog by way of avoiding doing anything else! The hours between 9 and 3 SOUND like a lot, but they go by oh-so-fast.
    I hope you do get your writing mojo back, and I agree with Ali - tell us what your book is! xxx

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  6. Shucks you guys! Thanks for the encouragement. Anyway, you can buy my books here, chick lit ones, written about oooh, 7 years ago now...not much swearing and quite toned down but still enjoyable if you like that sort of thing!

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Coming-Apart-Seams-Lucy-Sweet/dp/0552773026/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327179748&sr=8-1

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Have-Love-Will-Travel-Sweet/dp/0552773018/ref=pd_sim_b_1

    (btw, someone from Falkirk found it disappointing but don't listen to them.)

    xxx

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  7. Fuck it - just keep having more kids. Then, when you go to register them and they ask yoy your occupation you can say: "Writer. Open brackets. Pretentious, cretinous turd. Close Brackets."

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  8. you have won AWARDS too for being a writer missus ... i remember, I WAS THERE!!! xxx

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    1. haha! And what a night that was! xxx

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  9. Keep at it.....I like your writing... ps what have you got under occupation in your passport?

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  10. Booooought one on Amazon right this VERY minute.

    Ali x

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  11. A writer friend linked me to this post today and I needed a hoot - thanks. I'm a writer (*whistles and hangs her head*) unpublished (*head going lower*) yet still it is something I have to do. I now know why. I loathe cheese...

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  12. Colette Caddle via Clare Allan sent me over here with promises of giggles. They weren't far wrong. Many thanks for the cheer up!

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