Writing continues to be a job that confounds and surprises me. This morning I felt washed out and nearly fell asleep on the bed and was pretty sure I was going to get nowhere. But I popped into Welwyn Garden City for lunch with my computer on the table, prevaricated a bit and then forced myself to open up the script. Applying myself to the actual work was hard and I kept breaking off to do other things, but maybe managed two hours of writing. But suddenly a script that I thought might be hanging over me for a week or two had a realistic chance of being finished tomorrow.I think if I had stayed at home I would have done nothing. But what had felt like an insurmountable amount of work was done in a couple of hours (spread over about six hours). It’s totally about application.
But it’s encouraging to see how easy I am finding it to write dialogue for these characters. If we are lucky enough to get a series it will all be about getting my arse in one place and my mind focused and I hope I can get the first drafts at least done pretty quickly. It would be so amazing to get another crack at a sitcom. And I think this one deserves to get made. But that’s no guarantee of anything. I blew a lot of opportunities in the past, due to fear or laziness or some childish feeling that life hadn’t been fair to me. But I am good at this job and although it’s not easy (until suddenly it’s easy) I find it satisfying and exciting. I have worked hard enough to deserve another bite at this, if possibly my work has been a bit unfocused or overwhelming. I had today and tomorrow to get this one off my to-do pile, so I can concentrate on the Fringe and having fun with my family. It’s strange to think of doing 27 shows in 24 days as a holiday. But it does have that feeling about it. I can’t wait to hang out with my wife and daughter and the little band of comedians with kids that we’re bound to spend our time with.
That’s if the last bit of the script comes as easily as today’s work.
I had a gig in Kilburn and typically this interruption came just at the point that I was really gearing up to work. My head had been so in the sitcom that I didn’t really think about the stand up show. Catie had been in London all day so she came to see the show with a friend (which added a new pressure). But I think she enjoyed it and didn’t take my ravings too seriously. I also caught a little bit of Tom Toal’s set, which was very funny and confident. I’d recommend you catch this in Edinburgh based on what I saw.
It’s been a Hell of a seven months for both Catie and me and we have achieved an awful lot and somehow got through the most busy of these seven packed months without too much stress or conflict. We’ve done so well between us that managing to create another human life is almost not the most impressive achievement. It still is the most impressive, but we’ve pushed it close.
But this month we’ve both had pretty intense deadlines and we’ve moved house and we’ve been living with Catie’s parents and we’ve survived (to be fair, Catie’s parents have been a huge help in keeping us sane, as well as fed). On the drive home we agreed that we have to find more time for ourselves and our family and not put ourselves through anything as intense as this again. But we also acknowledge that sometimes these choices are out of our hands.
Since Christmas I have written and recorded half a series of AIOTM (and done my share of the post production work on the whole series), written and recorded a four part Radio 4 series, done a 70 date UK tour, recorded a Channel 4 taster tape (and edited the script for that) and then written another whole episode and a series worth of plots, put together the Emergency Questions book (though did I write that last year? I can’t remember now) signed 350 of them and put extra emergency questions in most of them, irked a postman as a result of that and written two thirds of the next EQ book. I’ve recorded 16 RHLSTPs and written a new stand up show in two months and spent most nights previewing it. And let’s not forget International Women’s Day! Thank God I stopped the Metro column. Oh, I forgot about the roughly 200 blogs.
That is too much work, right? I mean I love my job and I have enjoyed nearly all of this stuff so much. But I have to make some choices and at least turn down doing the stuff like This Week and The Wright Stuff.
So yeah, looking forward to the August holiday and being in one place for the whole time. And maybe it will start to sink in that another human being is going to be squeezing itself into our lives very soon.
I am not complaining about any of this, by the way. I am slightly astonished about what I have achieved (but never forget the incredible teams of people I have had behind me in all these projects), but I am delighted to be making a success of the job that I dreamed about doing 40 years ago. And there’s a good chance that the sitcom will go the way of nearly all the other sitcoms I’ve written and there’s no guarantee that the work will keep coming in or that people will keep coming to see me (though so much of my work is self-generated that I am a difficult man to sack).
Typically I was too wired to go to bed when I got home, so I stayed up and wrote a newsletter (which will be going out on Friday afternoon) and did some other admin.
I will never learn.