Right now, I’m blogging on paper, jotting ideas down frantically on a notepad with my fountain pen as soon as they enter my head. To think, a few hours, I’ll type and post this shit …What did they call bloggers before there was blogging? Oh yeah, diarists. Fuck it. I like blogging better.
I haven’t put anything up here in more than a week. I have been absolutely upside-down jammed with working both jobs. I filed stories for New York magazine and British GQ since I last blogged, and I’m working on another for my dream publication (no names yet, sorry). And, of course, I’m still cranking out articles like crazy for CPA Magazine — I finished three last night and have another five or six to crank out this weekend.
But, I’m still finding time to have some fun. Ron Melendi, the manager of De La Concha, is launching a new blog, and I’ll be helping to fill it with content over the coming weeks, months and years. Also, though I haven’t been writing here, I have been writing. And pitching. I came close to Conde Nast Portfolio. It didn’t work, so I still have a kickass story to pitch around.
Day job has been keeping me pretty busy, as well, but you know I’m not going to talk much about that here. But, if you see my boss, tell him to give me the weekend off. I could use it.
Okay, I have been writing all fucking weekend. Of the 18 software reviews I was assigned on Friday, I have knocked out 12 so far, and the 13th is in progress. So, I am moving along, even though I am plagued by the thought that this is nowhere near my best work.
The first 10 were brutal. They invovled a topic I had never covered before, and available information was thin. So, it was an absolute battle. Oh, and those are due tomorrow; I had some real pressure on me with them. The other eight (two of which are out of the way), don’t have to be turned in until Thursday. But, the way my weeks have been, I really should nail them down today, or I could wind up in an uncomfortable spot in a few days.
Writing these articles hasn’t been fun, but I am looking forward to the feeling of relief and accomplishment when this death march is behind me. That feeling can’t be manufactured. It only comes from taking on a huge task and putting it to bed through nothing but intellect and determination. I just can’t wait for that sensation to arrive. Earning it is a real bitch.
I don’t think I look terribly approachable. In fact, I’ve always thought that I give off a “fuck off” vibe. Well, this apparently is not the case. Some lady saw me having a cigar while writing on a bench on Central Park West. Some other people were indulging on another bench nearby. “So, I guess this is the smoking section,” she greeted us. I shot her a “fuck off” look and left it at that.
I wouldn’t be an asshole if others didn’t invite it.
This afternoon, I was working on a particularly boring article. Seriously, I can’t imagine how anyone’s going to read the fucking thing. But, I’m sure someone’s interested somewhere, validating the entire exercise. I have to fill around 600 words on this one (still not finished yet), and I have no idea how I’m going to get there.
Then, I remembered the experience of my mentor, Homer Simpson. When he had a gig as a food critic, his first assignment was a disaster. Homer J. lamented the fact that 500 words was so long. To reach the word count, he just repeated “Screw Flanders” over and over.
Obviously, the editor was not impressed.
Once I remembered this episode, I was stuck. I just couldn’t get Homer’s “solution” out of my head. So, I had to sit down and type “Screw Flanders” into the document several times. This gave me a chance to chuckle, delete the “effort” and move on with my article.
It really is amazing, the shit I have to do in order to stay focused. I’m not always this bad, but sometimes, the ADD just beats the hell out of me. Maybe I’ll finish the article tomorrow, unless I think of something else Homer Simpson did. Homer would be proud of himself, having kept someone else from getting any work done.
I spent the drive home from Philly lecturing a friend of mine about the need to write every day if you want to do it for a living. It’s true. He and I are something of a support group for each other, necessary in this line of work. We get together from time to time to discuss leads with magazine, kick around ideas and generally bitch about how little respect writers get. Yeah, it’s true.
Well, for all my lecturing, I realized that I haven’t done much writing lately … and day job doesn’t count. I mean the interesting stuff: hunting for a story, putting the screws to reluctant sources, hashing out an idea, finally putting pen to paper. Sure, I’ve been busy, but that’s no excuse. I need to make more time to write.
So, I got some writing done last night. My article on Montreal is finally coming together; I hope to have it submitted by tomorrow. Also, I filed my Saatchi magazine story on Richard Prince. I felt like I’d covered some ground, and I felt great. It didn’t matter that I’d passed on two hours of sleep; I didn’t need it anyway.
You have to do this stuff every day if you want to get good at it. If you want to stay good at it, it takes even more effort. It’s funny that pain is rewarded with more pain, but I guess I dig it.
My new travel column will be launching on Monday. I’ll provide more details once all is confirmed. Also, if you work wiht a magazine and are intereted in running my column (after my 60-day exclusive has expired), please let me know.