Sunday, September 30, 2007

I've Been Avoiding You

For a while, I was writing like a madman - 5 pages a day on the new spec, plus all of my usual stuff like putting up a script tip every day and writing articles and posting answers to screenwriting questions on message boards - and just didn’t have time to put up a new blog entry. I had things to say, I just didn’t have time to say them. I was doing a couple of scenes a day on SLEEPER AGENT. Piling up the pages. In the groove. It was great!

Then, I wasn’t piling up the pages... and I began avoiding you. I didn’t want to post that I had fallen off the wagon. I wanted to be, you know, a good example for you. I didn’t want to be the kind of slacker screw up who talks the talk but fails to walk the walk. Plus, that Scott The Reader guy keeps bragging over on his blog about his 45th day in a row of turning out pages. He was managing to pile up the pages while I was failing!

The set crashing post was fun, but it was something written years ago. The post about HARD EVIDENCE playing on UK TV (which ended up not being so) was work avoidance.

Things went wrong because other writing responsibilities got in the way. A producer called about a project, plus I’m gearing up for my Expo classes, and I had to write up a couple of synopsis to chum the waters, then I went to a couple of parties... and there were a couple of nights where I had trouble sleeping... you see, I’m a really light sleeper, and sometimes a noise wakes me up and I have trouble falling asleep again, and sometimes I just have trouble falling asleep in the first place, plus...

I have all kinds of excuses. And that’s really what they are - excuses.

If I had been writing on a producer’s deadline, none of those things would have gotten in the way. Even if I hadn’t gotten enough sleep I just would have forced myself to write 5 pages, then rewritten them later. I’ve done it before - many times. I’ve written hung over. I’ve written without sleep. I’ve written on bad days. I’ve written with a toothache. I’ve written with a broken heart. If I’m on a deadline, I can probably write on my deathbed.

But this is a spec. No deadline. The excuses can kick in.

Though all of those excuses were the reason why I stopped turning out pages, the reason why I continued to not turn out pages is probably a frustration issue - but I’ll save that for tomorrow’s blog entry. You see, even that ends up being just an excuse.

I realized that only one person could get me back to turning out pages... that’s me. So I “Dr. Phil”ed myself - I called myself a slacker, a goof off, and worse. I realized that I was letting myself get away with doing nothing. That if I wanted to start turning out pages again, I’d have to just... write! No more excuses. No more bullshit.

So, I forced myself to just sit at the keyboard and write.

And yesterday I wrote 5 pages... And the day before that I wrote 5 pages. And today I’m working on my 5 pages.

No excuses.

The first day back at 5 pages? I just reread them - they are 5 damned fine pages. Yes, it’s a first draft and I’m going to have to rewrite them, but I don’t have to throw any of them away. Same with yesterday’s. So far, same with today’s. None of it looks like forced writing - and it really *isn’t* forced. It’s not the writing that is forced, it’s the activity of writing. The butt in the seat part. The writing itself had moments of flow of joy and wild invenion and just plain fun, once I forced myself to just put my butt in the seat and do it.

So, now that it isn’t just a fluke day of 5 pages, but I’m back at it, I thought I’d show my face again.

- Bill

IMPORTANT UPDATE:
Yesterday’s Dinner: Bacon Cheddar Burger at Fudruckers... ER nurses were standing by.
DVDs: GOTCHA! - one of my guilty pleasure films - for an upcoming project. I also watched my robot hooker from outer space film - haven't seen it in years - to see if the FOR SCREENING PURPOSES ONLY thing gets in the way of the handful of scenes that didn't make it into the release print. Not that I would ever make any illegal duplicates of the full version of that film or anything...
Pages: 5 pages on SLEEPER! Made my quota again. Did a cool thing where a car is surrounded by bad guys on motorcyles, "like a swarm of angry bees". I'm closing in on Act 3, and will soon be in the home stretch.

18 comments:

Nancy said...

Congrats on getting back to your five pages per day!

Have you written an outline or treatment for the film, or do you just dive into the screenplay? Just curious.

David said...

Way to work those keys!

Anonymous said...

Will we get to read more?

Anonymous said...

Will we get to read more?

Anonymous said...

I admire your honesty, Bill. I don't think calling yourself a slacker is good psychology, tho; better to remind yourself of the years of high productivity you've had and you can still do it. That said, I am closing on a year without any productive writing at all, maybe a handful of notes like "Give the guy an obsession..."
-ObiDon

wcmartell said...

Nope - when you're a slacker, you're a slacker.

- Bill

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