This is what it was like working in TV:
– A lot of noise, some necessary, most not
– People everywhere, generating chaos and mess
– More than a fair share of utter wankers
– A lot of laughter
– Quite a bit of bullying
– Lots of desperate middle class kids working for free
– Lots of coke-snorting bosses abusing them
– Camaraderie that made your heart melt and got you through the bleakest of crises
– Free taxis (until about 2008, when you started having to carry camera kit around London that was as heavy as you)
– A lot of travel; a lot of jetlag, and the chance to see incredible things you’d never otherwise see
– Ditto for meeting incredible people
– Moral dilemmas, most forced upon you by the commissioning editor
– A sense of indescribable satisfaction when the show broadcast and your name was there in the credits
– A lot of people crying or frowning, saying ‘I hate this industry, I have to get out’
– The same people forgetting they had said that two weeks later when they’d been offered six months filming in New York
– The opportunity to learn loads of clever technical things
– A lot of girls blowing everything they earned on their clothes
– A lot of drinking
– A lot of men being unfaithful to their wives and girlfriends
– A lot of fun. And I mean a lot.
– Funky breakout rooms
– A soundtrack of distant shrieking as some scandal breaks
– A lot of tea and biscuits
– An endless supply of new friends who you know you’ll still want to see when you’re sixty
– A lot of colour and creativity
– And did I mention a lot of noise?
This is what it’s like being a writer:
– Oh. Just me, shivering in my dressing room in a silent room, writing and writing and writing and writing.
– Occasional trip over to twitter, which is as noisy and life-swamping as TV, and then back to the silent room.
I’m not being fair. To either profession, really. There were some good people in TV. Lots of them. And I knew plenty of men who were faithful to their wives and girlfriends (The Man is an excellent example.) Writing, too, doesn’t need to be all about silent rooms. Occasionally you get out to do some research and see other human beings. But overall, it’s a lonely profession.
And so I feel very lucky to be part of a little co-working group. Three of us, all girls, who can’t take any more of this cabin fever. Every week we work at one of our three houses. We drink tea, we TALK, we ask for opinions on worky things we’re struggling with and we cook lunches. Right now this week’s host is making soup and bread for lunch. Can you imagine? There’s a rising ball of dough RIGHT HERE!
And one of the things I really love – and miss, although you’ll kill me for saying this – is the commute. I love putting on proper clothes and getting in my car and battling with Bristol’s insane traffic. I love having the radio on and feeling like I have a destination. And I love arriving at someone’s house and seeing SMILING FACES, hearing HUMAN VOICES and broadening my perspective beyond trivia like how many words I’ve written or the fact that my romantic male lead is currently as appealing as a jar of mouldy jam.
Hurrah for Work Group. Hurrah for humans. We were not meant to be alone.