So, I’ve been working on a new tv spec script (fellowship season is practically upon us, after all) but it occurred to me earlier today that I’ve been slacking on writing in general. It used to be, I would come home after work, grab my laptop and literally spend the night writing, writing, writing. I’d work on 3 or 4 projects all at the same time and make real progress while I was at it. It’s how I had 3 novels and a short story series ready to go all in one year. Now, though, I come home and turn to facebook where I kill time playing games and then, occasionally, pull up something to work on; usually a script.
I think a big part of my problem is that I write better, and faster, for an audience. This may sound like an oxymoron, since most writers insist that writing is a solitary effort, but not for me. I’ve geared myself to write in tv and that, my friends, is a group sport. A couple of years ago (and this is in No Way a slam on anyone, I understand that life gets in the way), I had about five friends who would read my writing and give me instant feedback and encouragement. Even while writing novels, I had an audience and that spurred me to write better and faster. Now, all those readers have moved on to other interests (such as, you know, having lives) and don’t have time for reading anymore. And that’s fine, but it leaves me staring at my blank screen and wondering if what I write is any good in the void of no feedback. I did get a lovely, random email from a complete stranger about the Arbiter series, which totally made my day a couple weeks ago, but as nice as it was, random isn’t nearly the same as weekly or even daily feedback from people you trust.
Today, I decided to have a writing sprint but somehow wound up going through all the (too) many folders of works-in-progress (WiP) instead. It was daunting, to say the least, and that’s just my novels. They all need to be written, but what comes first? Inspiration? Potential financial success? Potential mainstream success? Artistic integrity/passion for the work? The most completed? The least completed? Take a poll? How do I prioritize what gets done when? Flip a coin? What kind of timeline do I give myself? It was enough for me to drink down 2 cans of soda and hyper-ize myself for, oh, most of the night as a kind of mini-meltdown while staring at my shiny new spreadsheet of projects.
And then there’s the insidious thought… “Does it even matter what I write when nothing is selling?” Oh, I’ve sold a few here and there, and of course any sale is great, but it’s not exactly… inspiring… when the hard work doesn’t pay off. Why yes, writing is supposed to be a way to live, not just a passion. Surprise! /sarcasm
Anyhoo. Long story short, I need to get back into the writing frame of mind that produced 3 novels in a year plus a short story series and various spec scripts. You can have all the passion in the world for something (writing/singing/accountancy/law/sports) but that doesn’t matter without the discipline to back it up. And I do know that, btw. I just forgot it for a while, I guess. Heh. There was also the unrealistic hope/wish/belief that the novels I self-published last year would take off in sales and I could quit my job and devote my life full-time to writing. And hey, it’s not like that can’t still happen, but I need to go on as if it won’t and get my ass back in work-mode. Ultimately, I write because the voices in my head tell me to, not because of a paycheck. (please don’t send the men in white coats because of that comment, all writers are a little
As for what’s up next…
1. make a final pass on my scifi/horror feature script before shipping it off to a professional reader for comments (that’s gonna hurt the pocketbook!)
2. finish my new tv original pilot (I’m on act4, so yay!)
3. write my Grimm spec script (Monroe! Nick! Renard! Rosalee! Bud! …God, I wish I could kill off Juliet)
4. finally finish the 1st draft of my post-apocalypse road-trip romance novel (you wouldn’t think that works, but it does *grin*)
5. write the outline for my 1st official erotica novel (no, I’m not telling ANY of you my pen name. although, if you’re very good, I may let some of you read it privately. lol!)
1 and 2 won’t actually take very long, which is why they’re up first, but the whole thing is my plan for the month of March, which I think is pretty ambitious. That means I have to get my discipline back. No more farmville2 (*whimpers*) all night when I get home. I’m going to spend at least two hours every night writing.
Right now, I’m going to drink a ton of water in hopes of cushioning the caffeine crash about to happen.
Then I’m going to do some writing. 🙂