“How did it go?” I asked as I met Maaya in Central London, “What did he say?”
Maaya’s face dropped, “He said it doesn’t work,” she replied, tangible disappointment in her voice.
Taking a knock-back on a passion project is never easy and it’s one of the things that new writers have a really hard time with. When you tell a writer their project ‘needs work’, all they hear is, “Your writing is crap and you’ll never amount to anything,” Which isn’t true and certainly wasn’t true in Maaya’s case.
She continued, “I was thinking on the tube about everything I’ve ever written and I suddenly realised I’ve never really written anything proper. I’m not a proper writer.”
I put my arm around her shoulder to console her, “Hey hey hey. We cannot have that behaviour in this establishment!” The line from a track by The Streets had become a long-running in-joke between us, “You’re a perfectly good writer. It’s just that…”
The truth was I had known that her project had conceptual and structural issues since the week we’d met when she first told me about it. I had tried to politely bring them to her attention and that, amongst other things, had given me a reputation for pessimism. And when she’d started developing it with her mentor from Channel 4, I’d decided it wasn’t my place to comment. However, as unhappy and frustrated as it had made her, I was glad he had finally told her. Once she cheered up, she would be able to move forward with her project.
However, in my position as boyfriend, it was now my job to cheer her up. So in a change to the advertised schedule, we took a U-turn away from Piccadilly and headed for somewhere I knew would put a smile on her face.
Maaya has two greats loves. One of them is pizza. And Pizza Pilgrims on Leicester Square do exceptional pizza at affordable prices – which is rare in Central London.
So we sat there eating the best blend of bread, tomato sauce and mozzarella that money can buy while Maaya unloaded her frustrations.
It Started With A Soap Star
Over the course of the week I began to think about what I could do to build Maaya’s confidence. I thought she needed to see something she’d written become real. She needed somebody who is somebody to tell her that her writing was good. Which got me thinking…
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