As could probably be gathered from the recent lack of posts I've been tied up/a bit shit recently, both with the blog and in terms of producing any work. I've therefore taken the bold step of booking some time off work just so I can get some writing done. Now I've had writey weeks before and they've always been productive (obviously I'm a binger), but I've been trying to switch over to the 'slow and steady wins the race' mentality with mixed results (when I say mixed I mean rubbish). So when I finish work on Tuesday I've got three days off to get some grafting done. I mean it's not like I'm short of ideas, I've got them coming out of my ears - I just need to finish the three projects I've been 'working on' for almost a year (when I say 'working on', I mean 'shirking off').
I think sometimes I'm a little too strict with myself though. I'll have a really good idea (like the other day in the bath I had an awesome idea for a Doctor Who story) but I'll tell myself "No, you can't write that until you've finished this!" Is this the right mentality? It's not like I'm trying to eat my banana split before I've finished my salad, is it? Why not work on the story for a bit, get all excited and then switch over to one of the ongoing jobbies?
Mind you, maybe I just push myself too hard, a couple of weeks ago a writer was quizzing John August about a script which he didn't anticipate completing a first draft of for six months to a year, due to him having a day job. I guess everyone should work at a rate that they're comfortable with but that seems a long time to me, and I have a day job. Don't get me wrong, I've been wrestling with one script (second draft of) for a twelve month but that's not what I consider normal. I know I can bash out a full draft in a week if I really want to and I have a little luck (and some time off...).
So what's my point? Don't know. Every day that I don't work is a tiny kick in the teeth to me, and I plan on doing something about it next week. I'm hoping I can make some decent progress and get a bit of momentum going, I'll let you know how I get on.
Phill was recently talking about not seeing a lot of telly which can be a major problem for anyone who wants to write for the goggle box. I struggle to keep abreast of films and television, especially when I'm trying to manage my time between day job/2-3 hour daily commute/seeing long-suffering wife/squidging Nyssa. God knows what I'll do if and when we have a tiny demanding baby to deal with.
Some of these activities can be merged of course - it's possible to squidge Nyssa/see wife and watch telly simultaneously AND I could probably eat an apple at the same time. The problems creep in because some activities don't go together. For example I can't write with the television on. Yes, my school reports were true; I am easily distracted. It might work for RTD but it's no good for me.
I also can't always watch everything I want to see with my Wife because she (quite reasonably) doesn't always want to see the same thing. I still haven't watched Doomsday because Dog Soldiers (Neil Marshall's earlier film) scared the crap out of her, and I never bothered suggesting she watch The Descent (which scared the crap out of me).
Worst of all no activity goes particularly well with the daily commute, about the only thing I can do is read - which is great, but often I'd rather do some work (perhaps I need something like Moran's Anus). It's possible to watch stuff on the tiny screen of my psp but it's quite a faff to transfer things on to it (though I did see Nightmare of Eden for the first time on my psp - can't be many people who can say that).
I feel a sort of duty to try to keep up to date with the soaps, and any other programmes that offer opportunities to new writers. It's kind of like homework. With the exception of Coronation Street this can be a bit of a chore. I'd rather catch up on Battlestar Galactica than watch Holby City (although I don't dislike the show by any means), and I can't shake the feeling that when I'm watching Eastenders or Doctors I could be watching the second series of Survivors, or the Sopranos finale, which I'm sure I'd get more out of. If that phone call ever came though, and you were asked what you thought of the current story lines in Eastender Street Farm, it wouldn't do to ask if Hilda Ogden was still around.
Mostly I end up watching samples of shows, a smattering of this, a glance of that. It's basically précis television, I think it's the way forward. Perhaps it could be a new cable channel.
Finally went to see The Dark Knight last week. Blimey it's good. Everyone is still going nuts about Ledger; Oldman, Eckhart and Bale were showing some pretty intense acting chops as well you know...