Thursday, 7 January 2010

Being Freelance

A big fat freak of a topic this but I'll try and keep it as brief, dainty and as far from the pies as possible.

First thing first: whatever anyone tells you, freelance is shit. Total. Raw. Horrible. Shit. Steeped in a bucket with AIDS on top shit. Or at least it is for writers [insert the standard No One Values Writing Anymore argument]. The ( lazy) perception that designers/art directors are somehow more skilled than writers means that freelance designers get around like high-class tarts, whilst writers have to scratch around for pennies amongst left-over johnnies, never quite knowing if their next gig is for a Sutcliffe or not.

No, it's an all together grubbier business is writing, and whilst it's definetely not for the faint hearted, it's certainly not for the careerist either. If you want your book to be full of beautiful, varied, fuck-me-that's-ace work - stay in your agencies people. On the other hand, if you want a book full of tepid headlines and dismal blurbs, go freelance! Do it now. Go on. Get banged in an alley by someone you don't care about. You never know, someone really attractive might turn up from time to time and make you feel special for a few fleeting squirts. Either way, you'll be begging them for money by the end of it. Like an animal.

(Still, you could always be a planner, plaiting bullshit all day).


I guess what I'm trying to say (in as entertaining and un-self conscious way as possible) is I've come to realise just how fucking boring it is being freelance. In fact, this blog is just one great big temple of restlessness - no direction or continuity. I need some discipline this year.

I'm a whore. Spank me for fucksake.


Leon said...

Hang on in there, Dave. Freelance isdefinitely the way forward. Join me, now, as I imagine kicking the shite out of all the designers I've ever worked with (except Ian, Inness and what'shis name, who trained under me, no fuck 'em too, they're just designers) and then kicking some more shite out of them. What this business misses is not writers but people with some fucking intelligence. And, writers. And there are few too many of them (writers, people with intelligence and designers who think just not using there arses). I'm right there with you.

John said...

Hello Barbara.

Problem is, all the people you'd want to be spanked by - the agencies you'd like to work for - have either got their hands full, or have lorries full of pert young bodies coming in from Russia (or college) every day. Who'd want a smelly old whore like me? (other than a loony pervert, of course).

I started this blog as a kind of creative gymnasium to keep me in shape. I wanted it to be creative, and entertaining and the total opposite of Scamp et al's navel gazing, arse-licking gangbangs. I also wanted it to be free and spontaneous in the way a blog should be. But for all the reasons above, I currently seem to spend more time on my blog than I do on my work. And in my quieter, more reflective and adult moments, that makes me very sad indeed.

I'm in a rut Barbara. A big shitty rut where I'm (at best) entirely surplus to requirement. Just make sure you tell your Dante-reading young un NEVER to be a copywriter.

John said...

Soz Babs,

Just realised I haven't actually replied to your comment directly - my head's up my arsehole today.

For what it's worth, I know some very intelligent designers, and some fucking thick writers. Business is business though and the industry rumbles on... like a happy fart smothered under a quilt.

Who are we kicking the shit out first then btw? Can we do it in the morning though? I've just come back from the pub.

Leon said...

John, seriously, now. Never get your head stuck up your arse. It's a fucker to get out.

As the business rumbles on (or perhaps not, if you happen to live in Didsbury and can't make it into work because: the bins haven't been emptied; you don't drive a 4x4; you couldn't get any bread because all the pensioners have bought it up from the local store and/or you are 'working from home') it rumbles on. Belligerently, and with a never ending sense of purpose.

Thankfully, I've spent more of my career being self-employed than employed. And, as a result no agency will ever employ me again. But I keep going.

During the dark times it's hard to keep going (no work, chasing money, shit jobs, chasing money, chasing money and chasing money and no work) but there's always been something there that has kept me going. What it has been that has kept me going I have absolutely no idea so I can't give you any advice.

I found my lad sat by the fire tonight, by the way, with Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities". It makes a change from "Medal of Honor" - so, there's hope yet.


John said...

Thanks Miss Babs.

You managed to talk me down there. Guess the old self-employment rollercoaster made me feel a bit sick for a moment.

As for Calvino, I always preferred If On A Winter's Night A Traveller... Now that's the kind of writing that keeps one going...