As you know I'm currently writing a comedy drama script for the BBC. It's about a fictional Somerset gorge and the people who work there (I don't know where I get my crazy ideas) and the title at the moment is "Gorgeous". I was meant to give it in by the end of May, having confidently, though delusionally thought I could get it done while I was on tour. It always feels like it should be possible to write on the road - after all I was only working nights - but the truth is that you get too tired and too wrapped up in the show. I squeezed out a few pages (largely when we were based in one place) but couldn't make any progress or even really just think about what might happen and what the characters would be like.
Then when the tour was over I had AIOTM to contend with, which again ate up half of my week (it took two days to write and record and a third day to recover) and on the time that I had to write I wasn't feeling very inspired and couldn't work out if the scenario and characters I was developing were engaging or ludicrous. But slowly I was making progress and the script (that I'm guessing should be about 60 pages long, crawled to a 10 page length).
But now things have picked up and I am very hopeful that I can have a workable first draft by the end of June (just one month late). I have had unrealistic expectations of what I can achieve for quite some time - thinking that maybe one day's good work might be enough to finish it, only to find that after that one day I was only another 2 pages into the script, but today I felt that maybe for real one more good day might do it. I might finish the script tomorrow or failing that on Thursday. And that's a very loose definition of the term "finished" because it will go off to other people and get criticised and knocked around and I will probably have to practically start again. But it's going to be a massive relief when I give it in and mean that in July I have the more realistic targets of perfecting my Edinburgh show, working out a format for my Fringe podcast show and writing an episode of Richard Herring's Objective. Still by no stretch of the imagination an easy month, but a lot less stressful than the first five months of the year have been.
As always the point where you get some writing finished is such an epiphany of relief that I always totally forget the months of Hell I have been through. Like in child birth the brain tricks you into remembering it as not all that bad. But to compare this process to childbirth is glib and slightly offensive. Writing is a lot harder than giving birth to a child.
It's more like having a two year old child inserted into your bladder and then having your meatus (Jap's eye if you are a racist child from the 1970s) sewn up to leave just a millimetre gap and then be expected to squeeze the struggling and confused child down your urethra and out through this tiny aperture.
It's as difficult and morally suspect as that. So stop moaning on women who've given birth. Your life is a cake walk. Whatever that is.
Plus when you give birth your child isn't immediately taken away from you and given to a group of people who don't really know all that much about how to make a child, who have to judge whether your child is good enough to be allowed to exist and if they judge it isn't (and they might well be wrong) your child gets stamped in the head and killed and all the pain and struggle has been for nothing.
Yeah, writing is the hardest job in the world.
Of course if it is judged to be worthy of life this does mean that you get showered with money and praise and get the key to the special secret world where everyone gets free drugs and sex and guaranteed happiness - which is kind of the opposite of having a child where all those things are denied you. But everyone's just biding their time and there will come the day when they eject you back out into the cold and stamp on your child's head. And by this time you really loved your child properly.
It is a bang on and accurate analogy.
So here's hoping I finish the script tomorrow or Thursday. And that the feeling that I might be able to finish the script tomorrow does not perpetuate and I am still saying the same thing at the end of July.
Andrew and me are taking a break from the Collings and Herrin podcast, partly due to us both being overworked, but also because of some personal issues (and I actually find it quite amusing that part of this is down to me being slightly offended by something he has done - who would have predicted that?) I am sure we will make up, or at least pretend to still like each other for the sake of you, our children. But we have been doing these podcasts, weekly, for over three years, however much other stuff we've had on and I don't think it will do us any harm to have a little break from it (we won't be able to do any in August in any case). In the meanwhilst we have uploaded some of our pretend podcasts put together from the spot I used to do on Andrew's 6Music show in 2006. They should help fill the gap as well as provide an interesting context to our relationship, back in the early days when we were full of romance and joy and weren't able to shout and swear at each other. They're in the usual places - iTunes or The British Comedy Guide.
You can read my latest newsletter here. It doesn't say cunt quite as much as Stewart Lee's brilliant and borderline mental latest newsletter but I will try to rectify that with my next missive!