Where do you draw the line between writing for pleasure and writing for cash?
‘I don’t fucking care if you like it.’
Along with the rest of Tina Fey’s growing comedienne army, that Amy Poehler quote from ‘Bossypants’ stood out for me as one of the most liberating things I’d ever heard anyone say, never mind a woman trying to walk the razor-fine line of ‘being funny’ and ‘being cute’. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to read ‘Bossypants’, or at least how Amy’s expletive affirmation has become a T-shirt slogan in its own right.
Because here’s a question that’s been on my mind for the last couple of weeks….If you’re in an audience-facing, entertainment-based industry, how much should you care?
I’ve been trying to rustle up some work from local clients in the UK and, possibly, maybe, a full-time job (provided that the coffee situation is acceptable, and the work itself doesn’t make me feel like I’m slowly pushing my own brain through a plastic sieve), but while I’ve been met with growing tolerance for my capabilities as a corporate copywriter, there are a lot of people who’ve commented on my blog.
Sometimes positively, sometimes negatively, but almost always with an undercurrent of confused fear.
“Sorry, um, not sure if you’ve noticed, hope you don’t mind me saying, sorry, but, um, have you realised there’s, you know, sorry to say, but there seems to be, um…. Some… Actually, rather quite a bit of swearing in your posts.”
Needless to say, it’s been this feedback that has ultimately dictated a split between this blog and my corporate stuff, which I had tried to make live on the same website. This was because I was trying to do the wanky ‘personal brand’ thing, and because I don’t have the energy to remember half a billion bullshit passwords.
But it would seem that these two sides of my writing have irreconcilable differences in so far as anyone who is the position to pay me is concerned.
And coffee doesn’t just grow on trees, kids…
Ja, okay, fine, it does grow on trees. But I still need to make bank, baby.
Which brings us to the new, pared down blog format you see before you.
On one hand, my potential clients can now browse my portfolio work with confidence, free from the fear that they might be met with some particularly offensive language, ideas or opinions, while you, my loyal blog-readers can revel the same disgusting filth you’ve always enjoyed.
It also means that we get to update to this sick new yellow and black theme, which looks like a really sore bruise, or like a bumble bee farted all over your desktop.
However, part of me feels like perhaps there is something bigger at stake with this decision than just another domain renewal fee for the folks at WordPress. If my ‘day’ writing and my ‘personal’ writing are so irreconcilable on a website, then how do I make them stay friends in my head, or at my hands?
What I’d come to love about this blog in the last year or so, is how many clients had contacted me through it because they enjoyed the authenticity of the tone I used in my posts. There was no real divorce between what I wanted to write and what I was being contracted to write. Less use of the word ‘fuck’, for sure, but overall, I felt like my clients knew what they wanted- and what they wanted was me.
It was great. I’m not even going to try to lie. I felt like a blogging demi-god, like every word from my clattery keyboard had the power to seduce and compel people into doing my bidding (like buying life insurance, or installing a solar panel). I felt powerful, talented and wildly intelligent.
I think this is why child stars end up taking loads of cocaine and sometimes killing hookers.
Having to separate my work-work from my fun-work, in a very real and physically onerous way, means that I need to re-prioritise what I want from my career, which is made more difficult when the most pressing requirement is ‘money’ (and free coffee, obviously).
Because here’s a maybe shameful realisation I want to share with you about my work: I do care if you like it.
I want you to like it. I want you to enjoy it, and share it, and connect with it. I want it to make you laugh a little when you’re having a shitty day, or inspire you to give less fucks when the man is sitting on your uterus. I want you to read my stuff, and feel safe to show me your stuff. Because your stuff is important too.
I want you to know that no matter how weird, and strange, and damaged, and angry you are, that I’m out here being weird, and strange, and damaged, and angry too. And now we’ve found each other. And that’s something.
I do fucking care if you like it.
But I also need to like it.
So I’ve drawn my own line in the sand, because I want to live with the full conviction of my art (yes, I mean ‘art’ in the broadest, most forgiving sense of the word). I need to let my freak flag fly as high as Charlie Sheen spent most of 2012, even if it means trading in my laptop for a pair of rubber gloves and a toilet brush.
Which is why I haven’t changed a goddamn, motherfucking, cock-sucking word on this fuck-ass, titty-shit blog.
On an unrelated note, if anyone needs housekeeping services in the Oxfordshire area, hit me up. I have my own gloves and I almost always never steal.