When life gets in the way

I finished my Disney application, and then I fell off the earth.

It happens sometimes – you just can't find the time (or the energy) to write.

The trick is to make sure it doesn't happen too much, or for too long. One week? No problem. You're back on the horse before you notice you fell off. Two weeks. A little worse. A whole month? Whoa. You've got some splainin' to do, Lucy.

When it happens, I think the trick is to not let that become the norm. Set yourself a strict schedule if you have to. Book yourself as busy at least a couple evenings a week, and maybe one morning on the weekend. Go somewhere that is not home. Take only your laptop and your ideas. (And maybe your iPod and your wallet, cuz coffee always helps.) Don't use the old "I'm watching TV – it's the same as writing" excuse too often. Yeah, watching TV is crucial, but if you're always watching and never producing, then you're no different than the rest of America, watching your eight hours a day.

It's tempting to sit back and take it easy, now that all the fellowships are applied for and it's summer. Sure, give yourself a little break. Fair enough. You've earned it.

Then start a shiny new project, or dig out something that you've been avoiding polishing, find a writing partner, a group, a great café. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you're still a writer, and not just a couch potato with a laptop.

Me? I'm working on a brand new pilot to send to the BBC. Figure I might as well use my British-living background to launch some work through one of the only open doors in the business.


Hollie Nell said...

I feel the same way. Once I got that thing in the mail (and four days before deadline...a first for this major procrastinator) I finished my spec and couldn't even think about writing. But I had the chance to go to Lake Tahoe and there was TONS of downtime. I found myself working on a second draft of a feature with my writing partner and then getting my beat sheet for my Mad Men done. Sometimes even when you want a break, the muse won't allow it! :) Hope I get to meet you at this week's shindig.

Michelle Goode said...

I feel the same, too, but I haven't applied for anything. That makes me super lazy, right?

I guess my situation (I'm on a working holiday in Austrlalia, spending time with family here and working to save up for a tour of the East Coast...) kinda restricts me because I want to make the most of it all and not just hide away writing, but still it's frustrating. I want to write, but I'm also still learning, so I do spend a lot of time reading other people's scripts and watching dvds (research excuse!) I intend to take your advice as soon as I return to England, though. I'll have nothing but work holding me back then, so I will make sure I devote time to writing!

Good luck getting out of the rut! And exciting news about writing something to send to the BBC. How long did you live in England for? What area? :)

Gnasche said...

I immediately started on a spec pilot after putting my Disney stuff in the mail. I'm worried about getting the call from them asking "what else do you have?" It's been hard, though. I've been polishing so much over the last month that I can't get back into the mindset of writing a crappy first draft.

The Moviequill said...

yeah, you're right, don't beat yourself up about slacking off but get back into it and carry on... I am guilty of this when we go away on vacation somewhere. I aways take the laptop and notepad with thoughts of taking some time to work on stuff, but under the influence of good food and drinkies I never seem to get anything constructive done

adam _______________________ said...

Funny enough, life has been so busy recently that I haven't even had time to do much writing since turning my app in. A little work on a new outline, but that's about it. I'm still waiting for that downtime...