Sunday, January 08, 2006

Train hard, fight easy

Holy rush-goalie, Batman. I’m back, bruised, and altogether bronchitic. Must. Stop. Smoking. I so did not shower myself in glory by crawling off the pitch after half an hour. Next week - forty minutes. My car’s battery died while I was playing, so I had to walk home to fetch the jump-leads that turned out to have been in the boot all along. Seriously, exercise does rot your brain.

Going for the posting hat-trick today. I thought I’d get my whole week’s blogging done in one day, a’ight?

Following a spate of posts on pro-scribe blogs telling all of us aspirants to get our acts together, I’ve spent much of the week (when not looking for places to live or deleting compromising blog entries (or did I? Or did I?)), thinking about my work/life/writing/blogging balance. Alex Epstein, Paul Guyot (twice), and Billy Mernit all told us to write, write, write. Their combined message was: enough of the amateur industry punditry, draft counting, progress bars, competition preparation, cyber-Starbucking and the all-around hobbyist attitude - sit your arse down and write. Write as if your only end is to create worlds, build characters, elicit tears and laughs and shivers. Forget about writing to impress, or to get an agent, or sell your spec. Just write, write, write.

I needed to hear it. The sad truth is, despite my original aims, I’ve spent too much time lately using the scribosphere as a displacement, rather than motivational, tool. Posts, not scripts, have been my focus, because now that I’ve picked up some readers I feel an obligation to create material for them. And I want to keep doing that, but reading Guyot on discipline and excuses gave me some food for thought.

There’s going to be a lot less blogging until I’m happier with the balance. I’m not going to run the risk of being seen as a contemptible dilettante, all talk and no walk. I have regular readers, whose work I admire and whose patronage keeps me on the right track, and I don’t want to disgrace myself in their eyes. I may have produced a lot more in the last six months than in the previous six years, but it’s still next to nothing. Working on the assumption (subject to change), that working for two hours a day I should get through an outline, rough draft, two rewrites and a final polish in ten to twelve weeks, I should therefore complete AT LEAST four one hour scripts this year. Two pilots, two specs. Three months for each, working for two hours a day.

So far I’ve done a week of this, getting up at six a.m, and, fuck me, that’s hard. But necessary, and it has the unforeseen bonus of allowing me go to work, knowing I’ve already done the only thing with my day that matters. That makes eight hours of desk-jockeying go a lot easier.

Getting enthusiastic about a week of writing here, and a week there, hasn’t been cutting it. It’s not a hobby, to be turned to in my free time, it’s what I want my life to be. No-one’s going to take me seriously if I don’t take the work seriously.

I have three hurdles to leap:

        • I like comfort and the easy life too much. I am a lazy cunt, and discipline sounds too much like a hardship, cutting into the time I like to spend eating, sleeping, watching TV, wanking, and feeling both smug and sorry for myself at the same time.

        • I'm impatient. I can outline and outline and outliine, but until I have a script, there's really nothing to show for all the work and no way to feel that I'm actually getting anywhere. Having waited so long to get started, I can't wait to finish. True, with little knowledge and no experience, I ought not be surprised that I can't knock out an hour-long script in a week. Ten to twelve weeks seems like ages, but really, one must take one’s time.

        • I find it hard to accept that not only will my first drafts be shit, my first scripts will be, too, regardless of the number of drafts they go through. Sure, they’ll be the best I’m capable of, but most likely by no objective standards good. I just need to enjoy writing them; remember what they big boys say - the object is not to sell them, but to get better.

See you in the credits.

Category: Writing


  1. There will be plenty of time for wanking after you sell a few scripts.

  2. But I've always followed the Grant Morrison plan of concentrating on the masturbation and letting the scripts look after themselves.

    Damned Chaos magick never seems to work.