The Battle for the Blog

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?

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You Can’t Please All of the People All of the Time

Back when I was a kid, there was a story about an old man, his son and a donkey. No, not, ‘Mr. Hands’, you sick fucks. I’m talking about some Aesop-fable, next-level, parable shit.

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How I Learnt to Stop Worrying and Love the Cloud

Ages ago, when I was first freelancing as a younger, more arrogant and more naive version of the nitwit you see before you, I started putting a portfolio together. The beginnings of this portfolio included the corporate videos I had worked on while at O’MAGE- and while I was more proud of those videos than anything else in the world, they proved to be the bane of my life for the next couple of years.

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How to Know when you Meet a Bad Businessman (or woman)

I try to believe that all people are inherently good, that people are not so much malicious as they are self-centred. I really think that most of the time, people aren’t out to screw you so much as they just genuinely don’t care about you- they’re more concerned with their own jobs, or families or issues.

You, innocent bystander, are just in the way.

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The Cost of Money

I love writing. Really, really love it.

I don’t always have the inclination to do it, but when I finally do drag myself away from the myriad distractions in my flat, I do, genuinely, love it.

But you know what else I love?

Money.

Not so much just having money, but rather what it affords. It can pay for the roof over your head and the food in your fridge. It can pay for that cute new pair of shoes, or that dress that you’ll ‘totally wear all the time’. It also buys security, status and confidence.

Having money means choosing whatever you feel like off the menu.  It means not having to carry a calculator in one hand when doing your grocery shopping. It means being able to travel, being able to go to the movies, to the theatre. I know I’m unintentionally quoting Malema, but money really is freedom.

It can however, also be a trap.

When I got my first pay cheque, I was beyond elated. It was just enough to pay for my bachelor flat (read: converted garage) apartment and keep me in baked beans and toast for the rest of the month.

Over the years, I have worked hard to climb up the ladder, and have used the number at the bottom of my payslip as a measure of my skills and my worth.  Any time I received a promotion, or let’s be honest- a pay raise- it was an affirmation of my abilities, and of myself. Giving me more money means you like me! You really like me!

Without me realising it, that number at the bottom of my payslip became more important than the hours of my life I had traded for it. Like I said, I really love writing. Getting a creative brief, fulfilling it and then getting paid- it doesn’t even feel like work sometimes.

But in recent months, I have come to realise I was doing less and less of what I loved, and more and more of what I ‘had to do’ to see that magic number at the end of the month.

More importantly, I had come to realise that the hours of my life I was pawing off have far greater value to me than that number. Hours that could have been spent challenging myself, or reading great books, learning a new skill, hanging out with loved ones, walking in the park, video games. The quality of my life had become worse, not better, by using money as my qualifier for my success.

The cost of money had become too high.

Recent news about my partner’s serious health condition cemented what is still a scary decision, even as I eagerly await the passing of the next 2.5 weeks for this decision to actualise.

I quit my damn job, yo.

Yes, I’m scared about paying the rent every month, yes, I’m scared of building up my freelance network and yes I’m worried about making a big  financial decision while we  are staring down the barrel of 4 months of chemotherapy. But I’m also excited about the prospect of being far more wealthy and  fulfilled where my time is concerned, and really- time is our greatest asset in life. How we spend our time, I think, counts for more than how we spend our cash.

So what am I going to do with all this free time that promises to sprawl out in front of me like a drunken debutante?

napoleon-dynamite-gif-whatever-i-feel-like-i-wanna-do-gosh

You’re goddamn right, Napoleon.

 

 

4 Reasons Going to the Dentist is Better than Going to a Meeting

Nobody likes going to the dentist. No matter how personable, attractive or nice your dentist is, you probably anticipate biannual dental check-up (ha ha ha, yeah right) with the same enthusiasm as you would the prospect of getting inappropriately fondled at a clown convention. You lie there, prone and vulnerable, while a stranger painfully pokes around in your mouth with a frighteningly shaped foreign instrument. And then of course, there’s going to the dentist.

But even this oral horror is in many ways preferable to the number one time-waster and spirit-killer in corporate society. The meeting. Far from its innocuous name, the common, or garden variety, meeting seeks to fill every minute of productive time with repetitive waffle, mind-numbing redundancy, and repetitive waffle.

Here’s why I think having your mouth invaded by an almost-doctor’s stainless steel toy-set is still better than going to the average meeting:

1. You know when it’s coming

As much as we all live in latent fear of the dentist and their machinations of pain and humiliation, the fact is that we choose to go there. We call the office, we make the appointment, we show up. The dentist might not be out favourite place in the world to go, but we go there on our terms. Your dentist will never call you first thing on a Monday morning and ask you to meet him across town to discuss ‘SEO and stuff’. He won’t ask you to drop everything for a quick ‘chat’ at the last minute. Your dentist may be god when you’re sat in his chair, but you’re the boss until you get there.

2. You don’t have to contribute

As a matter of personal pride, you should at least swipe a toothbrush across your crusty fangs prior to your dentist seeing them, but as soon as you’re in his room, your contribution to the appointment is over. No, it’s not pleasant, but short of rinsing, spitting, biting (or not-biting), you don’t actually have to do anything. No one expects a month-by-month report of your brushing activities or an analysis of your mouth-wash. You don’t have to answer any questions, save to lie about how often you floss and when your last appointment was. All you have to do is lie there and try not to bleed on yourself.

3. You don’t have to dress up

I mean, you should get dressed- this isn’t a clown convention after all. But no one cares if you rock up in a tracksuit and bunny slippers. Just like the point above, you don’t actually have to do anything. At a meeting, especially a ‘big meeting’, you’re expected to put effort into presenting your work, and yourself. At the dentist, all you need to do is be present.

4. It hurts less

It’s true- going to the dentist means sore gums, split lips or worse. If your dentist is anything like mine, then to them your bloodied dibble splattered across porcelain is as beautiful as an African sunset, and your muffled screams an accompanying symphony by which to admire it. Some days, I wish I was a dentist. But the pain is corporeal and thus, temporary and tolerable. As soon as your appointment is over, you can get up, walk away, buy a box of floss and then stick in in the back of the cupboard until you need a filling again. Physical pain is part of life, but there is nothing natural about the slow soul-ache of attending endless, unproductive meetings.

If asked to attend day after day of meetings for the rest of eternity, I’m willing to bet most people would rather opt for the known evil and choose instead to be drilled for a solid hour or two.

Whether at the dentist, or the clown convention.