It’s been a while hasn’t it?
It sure has been a long time since I actually put pen to paper, figuratively, to write something meaningful. The reason, oh well, there are many, but the main one is that I have been writing, but not anything I would deem fit for publishing on my own blog.
Since I posted about my writing venture, The Write Writing (shameless self promotion now: – do go and check it out if you have time) I have been writing articles, company newsletters and all manner of (some) interesting, and other, (completely) soulless pieces for (equally) soulless and (verging on) undead, companies. There seems to be no end of clients looking to put things on their blogs or websites and equally no end of useless crap on the internet (I should know, I have written some of it while sitting on public transport looking out of the window and dreaming of writing something meaningful).
But there is one client who comes to mind that I have to tell you about (the name has been changed to protect my writing contract because what I am about to say about them is not in the least bit glorifying – but they are just another of many out there and who knows, you may even work for one such company).
This client, we will call them Devil InCarnate Kompany Limited (“Dick”) is a global enterprise with tens of thousands of employees. I am sure many of them, the majority of them probably, are being squeezed for every drop of their blood at work. You know what I mean, cost cutting drives, fears of redundancies even though Dick seems to be doing well – no payment for overtime, perks and benefits being cut while Dick’s investors are sitting somewhere exotic sunning themselves with their courtesans while their children are credit carding their lives away in Gucci buying another jockstrap they don’t need (or know what it is for that matter – if you are curious then do click here for a jockstrap of a description – yes, I did intent to say that rather than, a description of a jockstrap).
Where was I? Yes, the employees of Dick.
So there they are, sweat pouring from every pore from overwork, in constant fear of that letter and an escort out of the building by company security, are also the (proud??) recipients of a newsletter every month written by yours truly which I am sure cheers them no end. Actually, I am not sure of that at all. In fact, if I were them, I would mark it spam so there is no extra effort required in clicking a couple of extra times to get said email into the nearest bin.
The “Why?” thingy is now going through your mind… I can see it quite clearly. Good question. Now, every writer knows that his work will be subject to an Editor’s beady eye and common sense. This sense can be extraordinarily common or just plain common. I have yet to come across a mediocre common and never have I, until now, come across a positively boorish and pedantic common sense.
So, the process goes something like this:
7 easy steps to writing success!
1. Yours truly gets given a topic which Dick’s management committee thinks is a great thing for their serfs, oops, I mean employees to read to make them realise how lovely Dick is and how Dick really has their interests at heart – so much so that they have hired a writer to pen said newsletter instead of just getting any other old idiot to write it.
2. Yours truly then proceeds to write a few bullet points on the back of an envelope while sitting having a beer and thinking about something completely different.
3. Dick’s Editorial Committee (on which sit three normal people and one Editor sans any sense whatsoever) then sends it back with comments.
4. Yours T shuffles around, opens another drink and proceeds to finds yet another envelope whose back has a couple of postage stamps worth of space and rewrites the same bullet points in a different order and emails it back to DEC (Dick’s Editorial Committee). Whereupon (shock, horror and utter disbelief) it is immediately approved and onwards and upwards the process now enters the (dreaded) writing phase.
5. The clock begins to tick as there is a 48 hour deadline for submission. Yours T is now in full procrastination gear… tick… tock… tick… tock… This gear function, only engaged when something for Dick needs to be written, sees Yours T do almost anything except think of the pending article needing, nay, begging to be written.
(An aside here – Yours T has made procrastination an art, in fact, since I got this contract, my procrastination has had a bit of a Medici-esque Renaissance. It has come into its own. It has blossomed into something much more than just plain procrastination. It has had its cocoon phase and now is no longer the mere caterpillar of procrastination, but the butterfly soaring on the wings of procrastination.)
6. Cut to 47 hours and 15 minutes or so into the deadline and worry starts to take hold – a niggling, annoying scratch in a place that you just cannot reach. Suddenly, more out of guilt than anything else, aforementioned bullet points on the back of second envelope are elaborated into a verbose offering (sacrifice?) to Mammon. Lo and behold, hey presto, abracadabra and anything else magical you can think of, the butterfly of procrastination is, temporarily, grounded and aforementioned deadline is met by the closest of shaves that even the mighty safety razors advertised everywhere these days wouldn’t be able to match.
7. The click of the mouse to send it to Dick is followed by a sigh of relief and the opening of a bottle of wine to celebrate the writing of it and to wait for the (impending) reply from aforementioned idiotic Editor whose comments range from banal (“there is a comma out of place..” A comma, one single flaming comma in a 1000 word piece to “GPs can be General Physicians, General Practitioners and Doctors too” which is common sense, given that the readers are mainly medical professionals of one sort or another, nurses and the like).
This, in an oversize, genetically modified, Brazil nutshell is how I have sold my soul to companies like Dick – what a writer in this day and age has to do to be able to pay for a glass of plonk – I tell you – and therein lies the answer to your earlier question, “Why?”
PS. If you work for (a) Dick and are reading this: someone has hacked my blog and any opinions expressed above constitute those of a mean and naughty hacker and have nothing whatsoever to do with me, cross my heart, promise and signed in blood.