Tonight's the night! Strictly Come Dancing, the show to which our blog pays homage, is bringing its warm, friendly glitter and glamour back to the screens.
Brucie will crack the same old cringe-worthy jokes and then say 'think about it' in case we're too thick to understand. Viewers at home will lament the ditching of Arlene. The dancers will nervously await their first moment of glory, and across the land grumpy dads on sofas will comment “never 'eard of 'im,” and “who's she when she's at home?”
Much as I enjoy Strictly Come Dancing, I have some sympathy for the view that it is scraping the barrel with its choice of celebrities. It could even get to the point where they'll be reduced to asking me to be on it. As a result, viewers initially tend to scoff about the contestants. Who on earth are they? What have they ever done? Isn't it a disgrace that anyone thin and young can get on TV these days without proper talent?
But if this series is anything like the last, we'll get to see the real reason why they are marginally more famous than us. Some of the contestants – maybe not the ones we expected – will turn out to be very, very good at dancing. Not only that, but they will spend phenomenal numbers of hours practising. They will get things wrong, they will crash to the floor, they will have moments of despair and self-doubt, they will carry on through illness or injury, repeating the steps however many times it takes to get them right. The sheer physical and emotional effort involved is incredible to those of us more familiar with Viennese Whirls than Viennese waltzes.
And where has that level of ability and determination got them so far? A minor role in The Bill or something. No wonder the rest of us aren't on the telly!
Sometimes in trying to make sense of rejection after rejection, writers look for reasons why others have got published - and it has to be anything other than the uncomfortable idea that they are talented and hard-working. If an acquaintance appears to dash off a first draft in two months, give it a quick glance through for typos and have a £100K advance by the next weekend – well, surely there must be some rational explanation for their success.
The lovely readers of Strictly Writing are not the type to whinge that others had unfair advantages, but you've probably all seen it happen in the more cut-throat corners of the writerly internet. New authors, people say, must have known someone in the business. They got published because they're blonde and pretty. Their great aunt was Agatha Christie's hairdresser's cousin; they went to Eton or did a week's work experience at Penguin in 1989.
Well, for most previously unknown novelists, the only rational explanation is that they worked outstandingly hard behind the scenes – for years, usually – cultivating their talent and practising until they got things right. That's all. Even that was never guaranteed to be enough to win a publisher's vote, but at last they made it into print on the strength of that effort and not because of what they look like or who they went to school with. We don't get to see just what it took because there was no one there to film the mistakes and challenges on the way, but we can rest assured that they happened.
Getting published might not involve glamorous frocks, glittering trophies or terrible jokes from Brucie, but it requires so much genuine work and determination that it's certainly an achievement worth dancing about!