Before I begin, I must apologise for not blogging in such a long time. I’ve had so much going on in the last month, but hopefully things are starting to settle down a bit. It’s quite apt that I haven’t blogged due to my busy schedule – you’ll understand why as you read on.
Right then – ‘Writing is re-writing’…who said that? Well if you want to find out, go on the BBC Writersroom website, click the ‘Who are we’ link and you’ll see it scrawled in the top right-hand corner of the page. Or I could just tell you it was Paul Abbott (Writer of Shameless). Well Paul, I agree…writing certainly is re-writing, but I’ve got to get the writing part done first. What’s that? You’re going to hire me to work on the American version of Shameless and pay me $1,000,000 to write AND re-write all day every day – yippee! Although, do you mind if I DON’T work on the American version of Shameless? It’s just I thought the English version was OK (at first), but now I’m not so keen………..I know what you’re all thinking – of course I wouldn’t turn it down! But that’s not going to happen anyway, so I better come up with a plan! I’m designing my own website at the moment, and I want to use this blog to come up with some of my own little quotes and anecdotes that I can use in the design like the BBC writersroom does. What’s the website for? Well, I’m not really sure yet. I know that sounds ridiculous, but hopefully it’ll make more sense after you’ve read the blog.
Some of you will know that I’ve recently been doing a lot of work outside my 9-5 job on promos and music videos, which has kept me super busy. As I explained in a previous post, I made the decision to buy some film equipment last year to give me the opportunity to produce my own short films. It turns out that having this equipment can get you quite a bit of work, especially if you know (or pretend to know) what you’re doing with it, but boy will it fill your time. It turns out I’m now a producer, director, writer, editor, visual effects man and runner all rolled into one. I can’t remember the last time I sat down at my desk with the time to just write and do nothing else (apart from every weekday at work). I want to be a screenwriter, so why am I spending my time doing everything else but? Maybe it’s because of my character? Without wanting to sound like a real arrogant prick, I’m quite good at picking things up and reckon I could turn my hand to most things…especially if they’re in some way creative. I recently bought a tattoo gun. I know! Partly because it’ll be much cheaper to tattoo myself (I’m addicted), but also because I think I’d be quite good at it. Turns out (so far) it’s quite good fun and I can actually do it. Don’t worry, I’m not going to end up like this fella…
I remember one year my grandad gave me money for Christmas and I used it to get a tattoo – when I showed him what he’d paid for, he said “only drunks and sailors get tattoos” – well I am a rower…does that count? But anyway…tattooing? I want to be a bloody writer! Sometimes I feel like David Brent when he’s in the Office Christmas special pouring his heart out to his ‘agent’ after one of those stupid gigs he’s doing – “I’ve got stuff to say to the world…and not just wave, it’s just waving…why is it waving?” I guess you could say that what I’m doing now with my blog, music videos, short films etc is all just ‘waving’. Except I’m on my feet jumping up and down in the air and waving with both hands shouting ‘look at me! Look at me!’ I’m not saying people aren’t taking notice, because they are – but I guess they’re taking notice for the wrong reason. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not after fame or notoriety; I just want to be known for writing rather than waving. So that’s what I need to do – progress from waving. Is that my first quote for the website? ‘Stop waving – start writing!’ I have so many ideas I want to get down on paper, start researching properly, and develop into scripts – now I just need to find the time to do it! Surely I can spare a few hours a week.
So, what to do? Well Paul is right – writing is re-writing. I’ve written two drafts of a feature script that I’m genuinely scared to return too…but I must. It needs further development, but I can’t turn my back on it and start something new, because psychologically I’ll think I’ve failed. I know it has a lot of potential, and it says so much about me as a writer, so for me to finish this script and be truly happy with it will be a momentous occasion. I just don’t know how to do it! I’m sat here writing this blog on my lunch break (which I started about a month ago) and am struggling to find the time to return emails and phone calls, never mind re-write a feature script. And I know it’s me. I’ve created a monster that’s getting the better of me, and if I really applied myself then it wouldn’t be hard to fit in a couple of hours a week, but I just have so much going on. So, I’m going to take Paul’s advice and start re-writing – not my script, but my life. Well, more like my schedule really, or my priorities at least. You might think this is drastic action and I’m being a bit of a drama queen, but I think it’s necessary. I’m not about to move to a remote mountain and live off berries whilst scrawling away each day with quill and ink, but I am going to do things differently. Time for a website quote? How about – ‘Every day is a new opportunity to learn, experience and achieve’. You might think I got that out of one of those motivational books, but I didn’t – I can produce drivel like that on demand. Seriously though, I believe every day is a chance to turn a corner, and that’s what I’m hoping for. Martin Luther King Jr. Said ‘Salvation is being on the right road, not having reached a destination’. I think I started 2011 on a road that I thought was a bit of a short cut to the right road, but it turns out my map reading skills were slightly off and I need to turn on the GPS. That’s one right there – ‘Use your inner GPS’. OK, maybe the quotes for the website aren’t going so well, but I’ll come back to the whole website thing in a minute.
Now for the good part – a list! I love making lists. This is how I’m going to focus myself to write more and procrastinate less.
- Move out of my parent’s home.
Drastic action? Not really. It was always my intention to move out after my Masters Degree and stop sponging off my folks – the only reason I got held up was because I wanted to stick around while my mum was ill. I think being at home makes me lazy and I find it really easy to get distracted. I mean they’re all great distractions – my nephew who is adorable, my folks who I love to chill and chat with, and all the fun I have with the whole family. I’ll miss it of course (including my mum’s amazing cooking), but I’m not going far, so can get my family ‘fix’ whenever I need it. Here’s where I’ll be – definitely a nice location to kick back and write 🙂
- Stop saying yes.
This applies to everything and everyone really. I’m not going to stop making my music voids and promos, but I think I’ll just chose the projects I work on more carefully. That really goes for everything else too – I don’t want to give up my design work, tattooing or anything else I love to do, and I love helping all my friends out, but I’m just going to plan my time and say no if things are getting too much. My friend is a music producer and he has a manager who makes all the decions about what projects he works on and who he turns down – maybe I need to invent a manager? Although “speak to my manager” would make me sound like a complete you know what!!!
- Watch less TV.
I’m not sure what you guys think, but I’m of the opinion that TV is pretty shit these days. I’m watching less and
less of it anyway, but when I move into the new flat I think I’m going to cut right down to things I really want to watch or complete ‘veg out’ time.
- Spend less time online.
I’m starting to sound like a strict parent, but I’m sure you all know how easy it is to lose hours bumming around the internet watching and reading crap that mostly just makes me feel depressed about the vast amount of crap that’s on the internet – I just need to stop ‘surfing the cyber wave duuuuudddeee!!!’
- Spend more time writing.
An obvious one, but one that needs to be said. Even if it is only three hours a week – if I commit myself to a set amount of time, I know I’ll get a lot more done. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced it, but once you get ‘into’ something you just can’t stop doing it – it’s the getting started part that’s difficult!
So there it is – my plan for moving forward as a writer. To be honest, there’s a lot more I should, could and will be doing, but I won’t bore you with anymore of my life assessment. But what about the website? Well, before writing this blog I was
starting to think that buying the film equipment had been a mistake, but then I thought ‘fuck it’ – I actually really enjoy the projects I work on, I get paid a bit of money to do them, and I think I’m improving loads he more I do. I’ve never ruled out directing, and I think I do a fairly good job (at least that’s what people I’ve worked with tell me)…so why should I stop? I’m not at a stage in my writing career to start setting up websites and promoting my work, but I’m almost there with the little bit of production work I’ve done – what’s the harm in putting a little showreel together and promoting it? Let’s be honest, there are much worse things I could be doing with my spare time. So, as much as I want to be a writer and will continue to strive to achieve my goals, I’m also not going to get myself bogged down and lose all the things I enjoy doing too – I guess there has to be a balance. It might be slightly different if I wasn’t writing for my job, then I would say I’d need to devote a lot more time to it, but some writing is better than no writing – for now at least.
So look out for the website where I’ll have my filmy/production stuff, look out for pictures of my homemade tattoos, and look out for my next blog where I won’t be boring you with lists and silly quotes, but will be talking about the feature script I’m finishing, how the ‘re-writing’ is going and about more screenwriting topics.