From cold feet to itchy feet

Recently I’ve been thinking seriously about the future of the mullet project, and it’s been an unsettling time for two reasons.

Firstly, as I’ve mentioned before, I have been attempting to plug the idea to literary agents. That exercise has been frustrating, as responses have either been non-existent or simply standard rejections. It’s made me worry about the viability of the story as something people would want to read, about the effort and numerous revisions, and also about the financial side of things – no publisher means a very big financial gamble.

Secondly, I have wondered (not for the first time) why I have wasted the last four years of my life pursuing what must appear to be the most ridiculous, pointless project. I mean, I’ve got better things to do with my time.

Well… okay, I don’t: in fact, having nothing better to do with my time is precisely what got me into this situation.

But still.

Five or six months away from friends, family, church, a stable income, and reliable Irn Bru supplies. Several weeks in the USA, a country which comes very far down my “must visit” list. Long journeys on the road with just me, my backpack and my iPod. The constant nagging traveller’s worry about where my PMT is (that’s passport, money, ticket). Throwing my very enjoyable and rewarding career out of the window. Spending Christmas and New Year in an as yet undetermined foreign country. Having to learn some basic Spanish that isn’t based solely on recollections of Chanel 9 from the Fast Show.

On the first count, though, pitching the story, there has been some good news. No publisher, but one or two pieces of very useful and constructive feedback that have given me some reassurance that this is a goer.

And I’ve also started to approach the planning of the trip – one of my biggest-ever “to do” lists is currently under construction, and it makes things a lot less scary seeing things broken down into manageable tasks. Despite the fact that one of the first items on the list is “remortgage flat”. Gulp.

If I get any more cold feet, I’ll just remind myself that I’ve come too far to give up now. Or re-read Danny’s latest blog.

And if I keep convincing myself that the adventure will be fun, it will be.


8 thoughts on “From cold feet to itchy feet

  1. Something to think about. A guy from Vancouver did a round the world trip and posted a travel blog of sorts as he went along. He called it the Modern Gonzo. When he got back he was able to host some lecture type shows for a cover charge at various venues around the city. Then he did some more traveling and got some sponsers etc so it seems to have worked for him. So maybe broaden the scope of your project and think outside of the box and rather than look only for a publisher but perhaps some sponsership. With a name like Mullett perhaps you could get a hair salon or product sponsership deal.

  2. That’s good advice from Chris.

    Here’s some more questions to get the juices flowing (hopefully)

    Have you decided what the point of the journeys is? Is it about personal identity? Expanding one’s horizons? The meaning of life? Or is it calculated to be surreal: a serious and fun adventure, where the reason for hunting mullets is only ever justified obliquely? It can be funny when nobody’s talking about the elephant in the room, but it has to be handled carefully or it will annoy people.

    What questions are your readers going to want answered? Why are people going to read the material. Is there enough to endear the lead character to the reader? Don’t take it for read that people will like you because you’re a nice guy. It’s got to come across. Will they identify with you, your reasons for your trip, your struggles and hopes and fears? Or will people see you as a bandwaggoner? Tony Hawks did it for a sporting bet. Pete McCarthy did it based on obscure historical facts. Can you convince people it’s not just a kitsch idea, but something profound?

    Is the humour funny as it can be? Are you remembering that the secret of comedy is…? Does the book display valuable wisdom? Does it look at things from a fresh angle? Is there a zeitgeist quality to the book that will make it an interesting historical record of the world at this point in time?

    What reason will people have to buy the book? (this is really the bottom line for publishers).

    …timing…damn. Did it again.

  3. Chris, an interesting story! But I think my trip is broad enough. I’m not really doing it to get published, I’m doing it because… well, because I’m doing it.

    Beat, good questions, and precisely the issues I’ve been chewing over these past months and years!

  4. I accept no liability whatsoever for any life changing decisions you may come to as a result of my blog posts…

    I like the travel blog idea… especially as you take good photographs – have you tried any of the newspapers, they might sponsor a travel log?

  5. So you have have no steady income for 6 months – I can sympathise – I’ll have none for 3. But hey – flights are booked – there’s no going back now… gulp.

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