May 3, 2021

1: There's No Hope


In our first ever episode we have a chat about why we started the podcast, we talk about those little things that prevent us from becoming internationally renowned bestselling authors and about how we write. There's a bit more waffle in there too about various bits and bobs... but, y'know, it's our first ever podcast, give us a break. 

Music by DanoSongs
Transcript

so welcome here's the first ever episode of the failing writers podcast and i guess this is the one we'll all look back on in years to come and be thoroughly embarrassed about our amateurish delivery and the content and well everything really so uh so yeah enjoy there's three of us on this podcast um i'm tom i've written next to nothing really well i've written loads but never actually finished anything and i guess that's half the reason i thought this podcast would be a good idea give me a kick up the ass and get me writing uh i'm dave uh i actually quit my job to become a full-time writer and that was i was 15 years ago now um i finally finished something last year and i'm hoping that this year someone might actually read it hello i'm john i've written uh several short stories and even a couple of novels which would be great if they were any good but they're not thankfully they've never been published so you know i can always pretend to myself that maybe they have on guard uh you know maybe i'll get discovered shortly after i die like john kennedy tool but most probably not me john and dave have known each other for 20 years we met working in radio writing ads so you know we do know how to string a few words together but we all eventually ditched the world of commercial writing and now all work as voiceovers so i thought well we've all got mics and a studio and a bit of time on our hands we'll keep saying we want to write more so let's waste time that we could spend writing by just talking about it instead seemed like a good idea at the time

are we up with the concept of the podcast i think so um yeah why don't you like why don't you lay it out for us tom well i just yeah i mean it was in the document that you've assumed that we don't i know but for the from the listeners point of view explain it to us as though we've never heard it before because you've not read you've not read the outline i'm just saying as a listener i wouldn't i mean just no clarify have you read the document i have read the document yeah but none of our listeners will have no no that's uh he's got a valid point so i think percentage-wise that probably still puts in the head what would have been three of us though i think there's probably yeah that's at least a three to one ratio i'd imagine hi mum well if isn't it all have explained it explicitly to the other people who were listening to it in our in our house in our household in a cons in a really concise way i think it's about um it's about life isn't it really and why is that right if you you can leave now no one will miss you if you go now it's not like we're in episode 12 oh where's that john guy gone he was quite funny yeah wasn't it none of that no laughing at the back sorry carry on so it's about life because it's about it's hung around us pretending that we're trying to write stuff and trying to write stuff and never really getting around to it because life gets in the way yep um so it is about everyday life about our lives and it's a bit of an antidote to the to the people that you see that become famous you know the bastards that get rich and famous what the experts are the so-called experts oh no they are the jk rulings of this world and won our view the people who have good ideas and then finish yeah and then actually get despite having kids actually get to the end of them yeah deliver just by having all of the issues that we face somehow still actually managed to finish something and then make a career out of it and probably full-time jobs as well compared to us yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah challenging backgrounds but they're in a massive minority most people aren't are they most don't most people by definition aren't in the minority i think most people are in the majority yeah and i defy anyone to say different for every one person that even gets a book published even if it's shy and doesn't sell anything yeah there's thousands of people that have gone oh yeah an idea once but i never got around to writing it what do you think the percentages of people who actually try to write something the percentage of people yeah people in the world actually try to write so you want to write something maybe have a little go and then quit oh but i think it you've got it stratifies doesn't it it's like a it's like a pyramid of writing so at the bottom you've got all these people go oh i should write a book about my life i've got some funny stories and they never do anything about it i imagine it's a there's probably a similar percentage to people who go ah my roof needs plastering i'll i'll have a go at that myself but most people can't do it but would happily look at someone else's ceiling and go i could have done better than that that's true the clever people know that they couldn't though yeah or you know have it lined up for ages thinking now one day i'll get around to that i just gotta get all my ducks in a row and then when i start it'll be fine it probably would be similar as well because you'd plaster your ceiling wouldn't you and then you would you would keep looking at it going i thought that was all right when i did it

it's very serious a lot like my writing yeah but now that i've done that one i could probably next the next one would be better the next one but it won't it'll be worse you're listening to the failing writers podcast stay tuned for more average chit chat i don't think i've actually i think i've just about finished a proper first draft of what might be called a short book after probably getting on for 15 years of promising myself that i would actually have you finished it tom it's i mean it's finished is a strong word isn't it finished sounds like it's available in all good bookshops but um it isn't no the first draft is probably finished right in the uh i don't think there's anything more to write on it so yeah and i've reached my arbitrage any more words word limit that i've given myself sometimes it's about knowing when to stop as well isn't it yeah i think so flogging a dead horse is that what you mean but i was i was uh i think i said to one of you guys that the weird thing is i'm reading through it now and simultaneously thinking this is shite why this is rubbish god i would want to read this whilst doing the first kind of edit on it and at the same time i was thinking that i'm thinking that's nothing i can change with this this is perfect this is why am i even come on how do you do an edit it's the writer's paradox isn't it you know it is a bit but it's it's genuine that you kind of think that it is simultaneously brilliant and also mostly gash yeah i think it's a you know that sort of it's as good as i can get it i can't get any better than that so that'll do i suppose you could say that we've all everyone finishes stuff it's easy to finish things as long as you're prepared to downgrade your um you know expectation your idea of what your expectations yeah downgrade your expectations everything's finished ultimately yeah absolutely absolutely but i think even even the most famous most talented author will look back on books they've written five ten years ago and look at stuff and go oh that bit was a bit clumsy or i wish i could still change that bit yeah wouldn't they i would yeah you'd think so wouldn't you even some of our award-winning ads in retrospect might not have been we might be able to tweak brilliant yeah exactly yeah it's very true i guess half the battle is getting to get into something where you've actually finished something that you can actually go back and edit rather than uh feeling like you need to actually finish it yeah you've finished something you've finished on properly yeah yeah all right steady on on the first podcast keep something back yeah it's interesting phil philip pullman has uh does he call it faze space or something phil phil r phil yeah that's exactly what uh he talks about having um like it's almost like out there somewhere is the perfect book that you could have written and what you're trying to do is just find it you're trying to find the right words for the perfect sort of version that exists yeah which is the face base but you inevitably can't ever quite get there no and it does it does feel a bit like that in fact it feels like that all the time for me because i can't well you could always tinker with stuff in it but as i was saying to you today tom with your book thing is you know the first step is just the first step is to write the end so you know when you've actually just i could finish this just say right that's the first draft done the end you can always go back and change stuff can't you but yeah you just got to at some point you got to say right i'm done i'm going out for a bit now although our problem probably is that they're going out for the officers going out for a bit by far outweighs the actual doing stuff bit yeah treat yourself to a walk yeah so what what things have you finished john don't read them out before now just give us a friend uh i've written a few short stories um

i i don't know they're all right i suppose it's hard to say i heard that i i heard those stories can tell you they were nice there you go they're nice so that's good they were very very good so what did you do with them i didn't do anything with them i just uh just carried on writing more stories just sent them to dave but eventually after a very long time of being quite comfortable uh just writing stuff and never uh letting anyone read it i thought uh screw it i'm gonna record them i do actually uh read out loud for a living i thought that's what that was the conclusion i came i could actually read this out loud seeing as that's what i do for a job and uh yeah and maybe it wouldn't sound that bad i don't know so that's what i did but it took me years to come to that conclusion but i think i think it's very easy to trick yourself as a writer that you're kind of uh almost just doing it for yourself i think that's what i told myself for a very long time is that you know i just enjoy like getting it out almost like it's therapy or something um but ultimately that's not it's not really the purpose of writing is it is for effectively to share it around and no it is that's exactly what i think there is there is something therapeutic about getting out that's also terrifying and so being a bit of a coward without the sharing of it doesn't mean anything doesn't it so i figured that out eventually but it's still uh it's still terrifying it doesn't stop it being terrifying it's like when i when i posted it on facebook i was like my uh you know the little curse was hovering over the post thing and i actually got a bit of a sweat on before i pressed it yeah this is quite weird well yeah you sort of worry about is anyone going like this how did you feel dave when you uh when you posted the first episode uh same sort of thing just sort of worried because i'd spent so long writing that i spent like 12 years writing it and tweaking it and fiddling with it yeah and did exactly the same thing of thinking do you know what i i talk for a living and i i know a lot of other people who talk for a living as well right rather than waiting for this magical mystical fairy to fall out the sky and just say dave that thing you wrote brilliant we're going to make it and put it on the radio uh i'll just make it myself but it was still it's nerve-wracking in it it is even when people sort of say oh no it's really good and then the the biggest thing is that you realize that hardly anyone actually reads it or listens to it oh my god it really doesn't it doesn't matter does it but you know um it is a big step though it's so true just getting people to listen to it i remember you saying that i remember you saying that's much actually much harder than uh you know producing it writing it all that kind of stuff that takes a long time but actually getting people to listen to it that's the hard bit it is and that's that you kind of got a try to keep that in mind don't you when you're writing stuff that you sort of put barriers to actually finishing something yeah but that's the easy way if what you want is to write something that other people know

yeah but you can shut your eyes and write any old [ __ ] if you're the only one who ever reads it it doesn't matter does it you know if if you sort of if you start thinking in terms of right who's going to read it or who's going to see it or hear it or whatever i think there's a bit of a dichotomy of the in the modern world as well isn't it that you think well it's fine you can just do it and then like with your uh radial sitcom thing do you think well we'll just whack it out on social media social media's there just put it on social magically yeah just yeah magically everyone will just go oh god and then it just it'll explode and become a thing and the internet disseminates i think it doesn't does it yeah actually what you're doing there is put it in a massive pool of a million million other things it is a bit like sticking it in a shop window really i might as well have just written written a story put some cds photocopied and then just if you think in the olden days you would have just got some postcards and put them in the course yeah just serialized it over over a couple of months and every day put a new postcard in in the local course and that's mrs goggins for the cassette but please rewind it and bring it back for the next person but i completely yeah like i have no idea how social media works so when we were recording that and i was thinking who should we get to play this part i thought oh she's got 5 000 followers on twitter i'll get her to do it one retweet from her that's it i've sold it so it wasn't on the talent just to clarify for this podcast we're doing that other people can listen to including the people you asked to voice on your things yeah um it was nothing to do with their talent levels or anything you just literally judge just just twitter numbers social media didn't even care if they could speak do you know that's lovely though because you must have come to me for my talent because i have literally no followers exactly we should probably say what it is just in case anyone ever actually listens to this podcast well anything for you anything for you that's the letter for you uh i should i'll tell you a little bit about that right so i managed to get it on i can just do the beep john it's fine carry on dave now this is interesting go on through bbc upload it was play it was played on bbc radio bristol right um and the guy who presented the show played it out and he seemed to really enjoy it but uh he got my name wrong when he said oh and that's written by dave bard there you go they've the bar star yeah oh so now that's dave's stage name and now everything he does has to be done well i thought i thought it'd be a good thing i could get in touch send him like a little cheeky message just saying you know oh thanks very much for that but by the way got my name wrong next time yeah uh you could say like this and i thought that's a nice little introduction and then he has played two more episodes and both times he's not mentioned my name at all he's just i think he's just gone i don't know how to say this forget it i won't say it it's just been he just said this has been sent in that makes it sound like something that someone spent like 10 minutes over doesn't it yeah yeah oh this has just been someone's left this lying around might as well play it it's obviously not taking hours and many different people and his talents on there and editing and all the time writing yeah yes no no someone's left this here press player so bet betty who did you uh how how did you find the person to send it to did you just contact was it like a phone-in how did you um i wasn't it wasn't it what the um alan partridge alpha papa film was based on where he hijacked the radio station

it was similar yeah but no i i don't i can't remember now somebody just said something about bbc up oh that's it because they do a bbc upload festival once a year someone told me about that so i rushed send stuff into bbc upload at your local bbc radio station um and yeah and it went from there didn't get into the festival uh but you know didn't it also didn't also play out in rotherham or something or in sheffield so it started on bbc sheffield that's right and uh with a serialized a half hour episode and they serialized it over seven nights what one episode one episode yeah which wasn't you know it wasn't how it was intended to be but you know at least it was out there but that's the other thing like even when you start worrying as you're if you're worrying whilst writing something about what other people's reaction is going to be you don't even have any control over how they're going to access it no as we were talking the other day tom about you know the sort of the things you start worrying about the ludicrous thought process you go through while you're on chapter three exactly yeah you skip to the end of what you're writing and then skip through the publishing phase and then skip like many years into the future and start worrying about what might happen you know oh no i can worry about all of those stages uh take it in bits worry about each one yeah and then eventually start worrying about your interview on jonathan ross exactly yeah um it's got a bit big and then oh what if i say something stupid on there do you know what i probably shouldn't write this book yeah i remember just like writing something and thinking oh what's the point now park is not on anymore i'm not going to be on parkinson being interviewed about it so i don't want to talk to graham norton or you've made some big mental leaps ridiculous excuse me can i do that john do you not kind of have these weird i'll say fantasies but they're not pleasant no i did i've been writing this thing i've been trying to write a sitcom based on when i used to work in a chemist in the little tiny town that i'm from in the west country and i was writing it and i was sort of halfway through and then i realized one of the characters i'd given the same name as someone who actually worked there the character wasn't based on that person but i went oh no that that that was a real person what if they hear it and they get really angry about it like what if i'm on my sort of open top bus tour through the town celebrating this incredibly successful sitcom and jane comes up and goes ah hang on a minute i wasn't like that it's just it's ridiculous yeah you'd have to do like in the poll you'd what would you do take out a full-page ad in the times or something and apologize i just have to yeah refer to as jane brackett's not that jane uh yeah rather than change her name which would obviously be way too late but by this point in the fantasy it's too late i've already no it's not in my who works there who'd be less annoyed by it but yeah you know that's not how these fantasies work well the the book that i've finished um i'm worried because i started it maybe 10 years ago and it's a pastiche of a sales training book um which i'm you know from our time collectively and really yeah we've seen some pretty horrible horrendous amusing sales trainers and sales people and sales directors and i've kind of written that but it is some of it's quite close to the bone and in what sense tommy just obviously it's meant to be ironic and self-referential and kind of poking fun at the old guard and the kind of out of touch sales machine kind of thing so he's not afraid of saying uh sexist uh racist things yeah he's a yorkshire kind of yeah exactly anything well i don't know maybe sort of 10 15 years ago or back in the 90s when anything went that'd be fine but now i think there'd be a lot of people that would get offended by it which isn't necessarily a bad thing because i think people should still be offended by stuff well yeah yeah but again that's another i started worrying about obviously when it it's fine but obviously when i do self-publish and put it on amazon and it gets a massive viral following and yeah do you mean and people understand the subtle nuance of this character um yeah well they just think that you're a massive racist well no yeah exactly some kind of transphobic racist homophobic i mean what normally happens in those circumstances tommy is that you'd have like you just split the country right so you'd have half your fans like just absolutely loving you just thinking you're the best thing ever and then yeah some really like yeah like the anti-tom brigade who just despised him yeah there's there is a big call you know from the government for more right-wing comedy tom so uh that'd be fine it's not though it's not right-wing comedy every time but it's ironic i know but but yeah this you know that's it isn't it you see it started already people are getting the wrong end of the stick oh my god that's the thing am i going to be signed up for this new right wing news channel against my will we're going to end up on there he's next on his tom with his mate nige hi knights god what's happened this is why i shouldn't finish books that does happen doesn't it people do get the wrong end of the stick quite often i was what was i watching the other day and it was it was about the fact that adolf hitler loved loved citizen kane i thought oh there yeah that makes sense and also donald trump loved citizen kane as well it says a lot yeah i think they just totally got the wrong stick maybe they'd never watch the end yeah maybe they just like the poster but it is you know those are the sometimes do you ever have that john do you ever whilst writing something think about what the consequences of it might be once it's released into the world the only i don't get as far as you guys i'll be honest with you but i do do you know what i think i think what would my mom think about that oh yes that often pops in there um yeah is she easily offended your mum no not really she met tom i always tried to keep them apart john wouldn't introduce me to it yeah no just uh yeah people people who are precious to me um those people i uh i do think about them definitely i think less about yeah um yeah the wider world definitely i'm not not sir not so fussed about them the hilarious thing there is john that you're thinking just about how your mum would feel about that me and dave have immediately leapt to the fact that there would be people uh following your mum around because of some massive thing on twitter about it yeah um that's where our brain is constricted yeah don't write that don't write that because for that oh my god when you find out your address and then that's it you've had it haven't you your mum's your mum's just gone to get her hair cut and there's people abusing her in the hairdressers i mean that's happened but it hasn't happened yet but that will happen won't it yeah write that god imagine if she ends up sat next to in the hairdresser's next to jane from that pharmacy down in the west country they start talking and then they find out that i know tom turner the racist oh well the wrong that brother that's the dodgy sales book about that guy wanking people off it oh my god yeah that is that's the danger in it so although on the plus side that might mean that all three of us could go on jonathan ross together what to um to sort of back each other up yeah well yeah i mean yeah john would probably go oh i'm really sorry and leave us looking like the [ __ ] yeah probably have his mum in the audience i didn't mean it mom john's mom and johnny be like no she gets easily offended don't do that but maybe we should try and stop that tom maybe we should like force ourselves not to look past the end of that draft of whatever well yeah we should do really because it is the equivalent of worrying about um which supercar you'd buy when you win the lottery next week yeah isn't it yeah i do often think oh but if i win a load of money like would i would i want anyone to know would i be really worried about people asking me for money i don't even buy tickets i don't even buy lottery tickets but i'm worried about what would happen if i did win the money it's ridiculous and that's you know although not buying tickets only reduces your chances of winning a tiny bit that's true that is true yeah practically the same although on that basis like not writing anything doesn't really reduce our chances of never having anything published there you go yeah i think i think definitely writing something to start with has got to help right sorry just to clarify are we not counting the 1996 co-op poetry anthology when you when you say publish because i've got a i've got it do you got it do you have it yeah handy tom i'd love to hear it no oh yeah maybe that's for the next point that's maybe the next podcast we should all bring a piece of our juvenile writing we've got a good love poem teenage teenage poetry i've got one i've got i'm the first that's a actually yes the first thing that i ever saw like in writing that i wrote the first thing you got published in a national publication i mean i'll bring the poem from the 1996 corp anthology dude i don't know if you remember these things there were these things in the 90s that they sort of advertised themselves as you could get your poem in a published anthology um what they really wanted you to do was like pay some money a load of money yeah and pretty much anyone who paid could get the words they wrote in a book that no one would ever read um so just uh claire if the co-op one was not basically it wasn't that wasn't it paid for you wouldn't just like i don't know wouldn't it was just on marriage isn't insinuating that tom yeah yeah no i wouldn't no i just i just wanted to it wasn't i know you guys know that i'm an excellent writer and i'd get in there on merit but there'd be thousands of people listening to the listeners yeah i don't want one of them ending up in the audience on jonathan ross do i sharon no oh well that's there we go then that's our cliffhanger for episode two is bring in your first bit of published juvenile poetry

this is the failing writers podcast coming next some more stuff

but but there are what other things do we do you put in your uh in your way to uh to avoid writing like so today for example in the bathroom that we've got upstairs there's a very sort of thin uh partition wall and i tried to hang a towel rail on it many many years ago um and it just it so fell off and it pulled two great big holes in the wall and these holes have been there for about five years and then today as i sat down thinking right i've got a couple of hours i'm going to get something written i suddenly had an irresistible urge that i couldn't control to go and get some filler and fill these holes up in the wall i've done a lovely job of it but it didn't it wasn't like it i had to do it today but it was just anything any i've i've gone through every other reason to not write anything so um you filled some holes in the wall there is always something in there isn't there yeah urgent little things it should be a thing that you you either write loads or you have like an amazing house where everything's finished i somehow seem to have got neither but uh but then really should you not look forward to writing i do i do look forward to writing right up until the moment that i sit down and start and then i can i'll think of anything anything else to do and i've tried explaining this to people before that actually writing is is a chore yeah i know i'm good at it but i don't enjoy it all the time but i do when i'm in the in the thick of it yeah that's right when it's sort of writing itself it's lovely yeah when you feel like a passenger yeah but do you do either of you two get writing narcolepsy

just me then right

i think both me and dave were probably expecting some kind of explanation on the back of that i'll be writing something and and then i'll get to a really gnarly bit and and then i'll just want to go to sleep you'll just you'll be i'll be writing something and then i'll just wake up it is a bit like that it's literally like my head starts nodding it's like because it's difficult because your brain is trying to do something quite knotty and uh yeah yeah you know it is it can be like a jigsaw puzzle sometimes kind of it's like you're trying to fit these bits together that don't quite work yeah you're trying to work out a way of getting through that little naughty bit and then i find them asleep oh that's yeah that panorama that's something just that's something that scares me about the the kind of the editing process uh the idea of editing that if it's like some kind of it's like writing jenga that if you just start changing this bit here yeah all of a sudden like there's this vein of narrative or story or that entire chapter needs to change and that's the wrong perspective now and then yeah i just yeah so that bit that i know is a little bit wrong she's gonna leave that i hope it'll go away next time i read it changes all these other bits yeah and you're right yeah he's a bits where you go right that person i want that person to say that at that point and they'll only say that if they say that before him so i don't want to change anything before that because otherwise they won't end up at that amazing joke about cabbage or whatever at the end of it yeah so how do you make yourself right betty do you just have to be in the right place ah yeah i'd be in the right place at the right time with the right things around me and the right motivation the right coffee yeah the sun has to be in the right place and that's the worst thing is it when you start when you start rearranging your environment persuading yourself you couldn't possibly start writing i better give this desk a clean and i i also need to have you need to have like a few clear hours ahead that's really true i think right if i've only got for you 25 minutes i've only got an hour until i've got to go and pick kids up from school so i can't start now there's no point i can't possibly do 55 minutes of writing because that doesn't work i need two clear hours so i do that sometimes i think right i'll start at 10 and i'll i'll just write solidly not do anything else for two hours until 12 o'clock and then i'll have a sandwich and then it gets to like 12 o'clock and the phone rings and then i do something else and then it's 10 past 12 i think well that's it now i haven't got two hours free yeah so there's no point starting now it's true but it is true about needing lots of time as well because you sort of need the first half hour just to get back into what you were doing before so you need to do a little bit of re-reading by the time you've done that you sort of you know that's half an hour and then you maybe come up with a little bit of an idea and then you've written that down you've maybe done a paragraph in an hour yeah but is that is that true though because i think that a lot well i think it's i think it is if you don't write regularly if you write every day then it's always fresh in your mind so you can just get going the problem is if you leave it a week or two weeks then you do need to refresh where you are don't you and you and you're just not see i was thinking about this the other day it's a bit like um like sort of exercising where i think right i need to if i don't do half a half hour block of exercise then it's no use whereas actually the truth is even just doing something for five minutes is better than doing it something is better than nothing surely the same is true with writing if you just sat down and just typed a few words down one of them would probably be all right and one a day i mean

yeah yeah no but you did you joke about that but if actually i'd have sitting down and sitting down good at the writings

yeah no if i'd have sat down every day and written 100 words yep i would have substantially more words now on paper we'd have 100 words more than you did yesterday but i think that's why that's why they say write every day isn't it because you you're then ready to write the next hundred words whereas if you don't do it every single day you've already forgotten what you're supposed to be exactly yeah yeah you've got no chance it's tricky i used to do all my writing on the train which actually is a brilliant place to write because it's absolutely yeah out there after that crash yeah that was your end of end of your career as a train driver

oh the near misses i had

what's that bloody writing narcolepsy yeah the problem ladies and gentlemen the next station stop no we've gone past there hold on a minute john must have gone to a tricky bit or a fun bit in his right yeah yeah i'll work him up being on the train or the train down to london two hours and that was like you know three days a week down to london and back again that's uh you know that's four hours a day of uh you know just hitting it and having nothing else to do it's a good environment as well because you're trapped totally dry you haven't got the you can't go into the train bathroom and put the towel rail up that needs putting up it could be that would be a bit weird so my my output now having not been on a train for a year is appalling you know um in the netherlands i think it is at all folks homes where they have where they go when they've got dementia and stuff they started doing stuff where they will decorate out a room that looks like a train where they can go and sit and pretend to be on a train journey i don't know if you've got a spare room at home john that's a good idea yeah apparently often they put a bus stop outside as well right outside the facility or in the foyer so when they go wandering off they'll automatically wait there so they can get them back easy they don't actually go any further than the bus stop isn't that though just another example of having to create the perfect environment which um which yeah really exists you know just i just get on with it really that's the message isn't it unfortunately it's the same as anything else in life like you say exercise yeah work right stop yeah stop like just chatting stop doing podcasts about it stop doing this stop doing this

just get on with it i think the only reason i suggested this was i thought it might give me the impetus via shame to um turn up for next week's podcast going yeah no i've written i have written something but what we're really doing is affirming each other's reasons to not write anything and instead of writing anything new we're just going to come back with the poems we wrote when we were teenagers that will be funny though well hopefully as as the podcast burgeons and becomes massively viral as we share it through our um our massive social network of social media what we need to do is get a guest on who's got five thousand twitter phones

um the social media stuff though having done anything for you no buddy no really bad really bad so i've i've what's the trick i don't know if i knew what the trick was i wouldn't be so bad at it have you read stuff about what you see yeah i've i've i've read things and i've i've i've watched videos and um i don't know i think it just uh it seems to be don't overthink it too much which is becoming a bit of a theme in it like i don't think you can force it on social media no can you either get pictures yeah you've just gotta just you just gotta keep on hammering away at something and hope that the algorithm eventually picks it up and you have to act there's always this possibility as well that you you sit completely there's that yeah there's so number one i mean obviously it's very well accepted i i guess number one write something that's actually good and number two but it's got it's got a hit you need love yeah you need luck but you also need to be quite popular and i think that's that's where i fall down as well like i i would i would sort of tweet and go on facebook and linkedin and stuff to sort of try and publicize it and you just need a couple of celebrities don't you retweet yeah it'd be like you two would come back and like it and i think that's great but you're in it you know i don't want you to hear it dave you got my only single piece of social media exactly for the entire year probably there but then rick rick could produce stupid it was quite a popular chat he sort of reshared it and went oh i'm really glad i worked on this and loads of people came back going oh well done rick bro yeah that's brilliant wow great i'll listen to that but yeah i don't know it's kind of like you say it's a bit of luck the key to social media seems to be i'm going to sound really old now in it but it seems to be not really caring about whether anyone's interested in what you're saying just say it anyway yeah i think it will be and some people won't just take a photograph of your [ __ ] lunch and put it on there exactly i think but isn't that like what it comes down to with all writing you like if you spend too long worrying about as we've discussed worrying about what jonathan ross will think about my mom you'll never actually write anything or your mum yeah just get on and do it yeah it's very true the first short story that i posted got a hundred listens yeah like quite quickly and then the second one i think it was 50 and then the third one was like 12 or something i didn't even know i didn't even know there was a third one and and that's that's partly i mean you're absolutely right in saying that you shouldn't worry about all that kind of stuff but you can't help seeing the pattern yeah no absolutely i really want to bring out another one that two people are gonna listen to and that'll be katie and my mom probably uh i don't know it's it's difficult isn't it because you you is well i think part of it is i think it's something to do with an algorithm that like facebook in particular i think if you start trying to push the same thing it goes oh you're trying to flog something here we don't want you to do that for free we want you to pay for advertising so it puts you to the back of the queue whereas if it's just like tom says if it's a picture of your food and you know away you go the other thing to do as well um social media is what seems to work is just totally lie yeah so just i mean so this has won like four awards for short story awards um i'll give you an award if you want to off the line i'll you could say i could actually hold it up because that's got to be a way forward that's true i see i because there's something i struggled with when i was trying to work out how to promote anything for you i was like saying oh this new comedy and i wanted to say something like in this hilarious comedy or you know this is really and but i struggled with the sort of looking like a dick yeah yeah exactly looking like some [ __ ] is just saying hey i've done something and it's amazing you should listen to it it's hilarious but that's kind of what you've got to do isn't it you've got a sort of shout about yourself i don't know because when i see stuff like that especially like on linkedin it just makes my eye yeah are we atypical in that sense like but actually if if other people other people have become successful by simply thinking that they are good and shouting about it a lot i mean i'm not saying it's that simple but you know you've kind of got to do that i think you're right like if you don't think that you're good then yeah and more the more superlatives you use when you're describing something you've done means that they'll be more i don't know like it like it'll just get caught up somehow by google and facebook or whatever it's like there are algorithms looking for hilarious i don't know i think i think that's how it works isn't it i don't know well it's what they do on film posters and and theater yeah yeah but get the key work get the lyrics in there the mirror maybe that was the review if there's one thing this film wasn't it's hilarious the mirror but you're right you know it's not it's the same with all of it really is about having a bit of self-confidence because if you don't think that what you're writing is any good then why why are you writing it for that's a good point dave i might stop well all evidence is pointing towards the things that we've written not being very good isn't it really but but you always look at the stuff you've written or yourself as a writer and think well of course i'm a better writer than these other people so that's that's where that's where your deep hatred for success comes from isn't it yeah where you see a sitcom on on bbc three and think how has this got produced i think one of the problems it's clunky one of the problems i face is that i do i do love uh like classic literature and uh and i don't watch a lot of tv unless someone recommends something that's brilliant i told you'd make it more high brown so what i end up doing is reading stuff that's really really good and watching stuff that's really really good and i think i need to watch more because i think it makes you it makes you uh look at your own work and go that is pretty bad because you can't help comparing even though you shouldn't be comparing it kind of works both ways like sometimes you watch something and go that's that's awful i could do better than that but then sometimes i watch something and go that was that's [ __ ] that's just [ __ ] but the people in charge of putting stuff on tv think that that's good so that's true maybe that's what gives you my idea no it's the exact opposite so i think well if they think that's good they're never going to think that anything that i write is good because do not think that part of it is and you think back to when we were writing adverts is that you'd write something that was pretty good or in my case exceptionally good and then you would take it to the client and then have a little nibble at it and then something would happen where this line needs to go in for legal reasons or because of that supply and what have you and then what actually goes out on the radio is some kind of yeah it's a bit rubbish and clunky and that sounds weird yeah oh and they've used the wrong voiceover on it and that music's terrible do you not think that happens with production stuff that goes through particular organizations like the bbc well i the first thing that i ever had on on telly so a sketch that i wrote years and years ago about 13 or 14 years ago and it's something that's the only award-winning thing that i use because the show actually won a scottish bafta um i only wrote like two minutes of it but uh i was really pleased with this sketch and i thought it was like one of the best things i'd ever written i was and i told everybody about it and i made everybody watch it and it was garbage it was it was like the worst bit of a terrible show and i actually searched why why was it so bad because it was a four minute it was originally a four minute sketch and they cut it in half but unfortunately they used the the front half which was all the bit without the bumper yeah so they cut oh it was a joke the two the half that had all the jokes in they cut and the half that was just like building up to the jokes they kept in and i sort of searched and i found a review for the show and it was like a one star review for the show and it was all it was really scathing it said it was just awful and rubbish and then it particularly picked out my sketch as being the worst part of this terrible terrible show was it was it still your sketch i mean the half that was your sketch the half yeah the half it was yeah that they just sort of basically what they did was cut it in half cut it in half and then just just force the punch line onto the end of it so it's like when you used to get those cut and shut cars isn't it back in the 90s yes it was a lemon they chopped the front does it stitch one half of one car and another car together to make a new car to sell on the cheap and they just fall a bit and then it's like someone coming along reviewing that car going are these

it's like like a mermaid with uh human legs and a fish head

which would you put if you had to pick to marry one of them which would you say oh that's a difficult you immediately want to say i want the top half as a woman but then you have a little thinking thing oh hold on let go against the point of what marriage is supposed to be for but then i'm not married interesting question i mean it's one very much for the um difficult to decide isn't it personally i wouldn't i wouldn't i wouldn't go for either if i had a choice i'd go for whole fish like a flat fish will be after i've finished with it dave you are a big man um oh i told he's lost a lot of weight oh yeah i know he's been running every day i know that's i mean do you know what i did to avoid writing the other day i went out and ran a half marathon that is desperate like the lengths that we go to the kids the kids have been taken out they've gone down to see the grandma or something so i had the obligatory two-hour gap and i thought you know what we're doing this podcast i should probably uh go out and run until i can't run anymore that'll be more pleasant yeah how's that more pleasant than sitting having a cup of coffee yeah but yeah so i think the point was that even when you do write something and then it gets to where you want it to be and then you see it and it's just not as good as you thought it would be and it's a real sort of shame and it makes you wonder why you can bother in the first place part of the problem is that writers don't quite often lose control at some point don't they unless you're writing a novel yeah but then even then if you've got a but then you could when it's made into a screenplay i thought about this john what's going to happen when my novel gets made into a screen yeah um would it would it and i've decided that i'll just take the money i'll just sell out i'm not going to be that right that goes no no you can't change that but yeah it comes back to that like not worrying about it too much didn't it because the only way that i actually finished anything for you was i i sort of um made a promise that i was not going to look at anything that i'd already written until i got to the end because i'm i'm terrible for that like writing something and then going back over it and going back over it and back over it and reformatting and taking bits out and no i'm just gonna just gonna write it like i've got it in my head i'm gonna write it and i'm gonna get to the end and then i'll go back to the beginning again that's the way i did that but i think everyone's got different ways of writing haven't they they've got their own system if you like you know you get people that will write out the entire story of a novel in kind of like bullet form or flow chart formal yeah and there's people who just who just have a rough idea of where it's going and just kind of strap themselves in for the ride so there's no right or wrong way but i think i would tend to agree that the uh the constantly feeding back going back in a lead doesn't it just outlaws everything down so much doesn't it it probably helps you've probably done some of your first edit i guess by the time you've done you except you'll probably have to go back and change it all because you've had another idea that changes yeah beginning yeah but that is a good reason to just keep writing that's probably a good thing to do dave welcome well we're helping finish it didn't it did it guy finished in the end and i did all the way through had sort of sort of worries about oh i should maybe i should have a look at this again maybe i should get somebody else to look at it and make sure and eventually i just had to say no sod it would just make it but that's you can do that if you're making it yourself it doesn't really matter does it you know that's that kind of thing about self-publishing as well i suppose it's you you you can decide when it's finished and when it's as good as it's going to be that maybe that means it's not as good as it would have been if a professional had got involved and helped but i don't know depends what you want doesn't it whether you want to finish something or whether you're holding out for a best seller because like my main reason for doing it was i suddenly started thinking what if like what if my daughter asks me what what what did you do with your life and i say i say oh like so proper yeah and i was like oh i'm a writer and she goes what did you write and i go nothing nothing at all i've never written anything i thought no actually it would be nice to have one thing before i die that's actually finished so that's you know that's what i did no i think i think there's a there's probably a whole episode in the midlife crisis yeah it definitely is yeah thing isn't it yeah you do realize you're running out of time a little bit don't you especially when the years kind of speed up in quite a freaky way when you have kids it's like time's just they're just knocking back the years there they go yeah it's when you look at the opportunities thing you know like when you go on bbc writer's room or things like that and it's like such and such for under 25 year olds you think oh my gosh i can't do that i used to be able to apply it i mean i never did but i used to used to bookmark them in my internet explorer or netscape uh it's true though like you do it but it does all feed into the same sort of obsession of like what's uh what's the point what's the point no and like you kind of gotta get that out of your head haven't you and just like you said just write it yeah there doesn't have to be no just write it to for the sake of writing it first off until it's finished it really doesn't matter but um do you find though that i find one of my biggest blocks is this sort of selfish thing like if i am going off for whatever three hours to write i feel like i ought to be doing something else yeah yeah it is basically selfish because if you unless you've you know sat down with your wife and said darling i've uh decided to quit my career i'm going to be a writer i have a burning member inside of this something i need to do and um i've decided to be a writer so um that's what i'm going to be doing from now on and uh i mean that's such a dickish thing to do as well so it's quite difficult because you want to be a you know a reasonable person but at the same time you realize that you're just pissing off for three hours at a time i'm mostly falling asleep i mean that's where that's where being on a train exactly yeah so it's totally guilt-free yeah that's where is that i just get this i come down here and i'll sit and i'll start writing and then after about half an hour i think i wonder if katie's uh starting dinner i should probably go on yeah maybe chop an onion for her or something or yeah i don't know it's it's a toffee so i think you have to make the decision don't you have to sort of announce it almost you do have to say this is what i want to i need to do this for whatever reason yes but it's true like you know because if you've got if you've been commissioned to write something then it's your job that's right and you don't i guess commission writers maybe don't have that feeling of like i should be doing something else because this is exactly what they should be doing maybe maybe we should commit we should commission each other to write something that's good like some kind of circular ponzi writing yeah what we do is we all commission three people beneath us and then they commissioned three people beneath them the failing writing pyramid yeah we charge everyone 50 quid together and and five percent of any royalties from anything that's written as part of the scheme brilliant but we also get an option on their book if it's any good oh no we can't do this no no no because you imagine you sat there jonathan ross interview there's a rumor going away but you started a pods escape that's jonathan no no no no it's not it's not a pyramid it's um it's like it's an oblong it's a writing opportunist marketing platform yes so uh our tasks for the next episode are to finalize the pamphlet for the pyramid writers scheme and to find some teenage poetry our first published poetry

well that's our first ever podcast done join us next time when we'll be digging out our embarrassing adolescent poetry apparently that's an idea that at the time seems like it's going to be really hilarious and then turns out to be just deeply humiliating and awkward

quite hairy armed so i never really liked having sleeves i have nature's sleeves exactly i have no need of your sheep sleeves it gets too hot in the in the arm region so

hello hello where's everybody gone