WRITING: Motivation (Or, 5am Musings on Deadlines)

Months ago, I signed on for a script assignment for a virtual series I’ve worked on for a very long time. I’ve done plenty of episodes for the show, though less than I’d like to admit solo, and I was excited about what I was going to do with it. Unfortunately, as with most writers, I have muse issues. This time, my muse was very happy and helpful – for another project.  Up until 24 hours from the deadline, in fact!

This month (read: December 1 2010 – January 5 2011) has been a fertile time for writing for me, despite almost none of my intended projects receiving attention. An old project reared its head suddenly in early December, demanding all of my attention. I wrote about it twice recently: once about how the pilot was a monstrous pain in my ass, and then summarised the whole ordeal, never mentioning the fact that this was in the face of an actual deadline: I had a script due on January 4, and if I didn’t make it, well…

I have a long history of flaking out on deadlines at this particular website. Over the five or so years I’ve been there, a combination of my relative youth (I was only 15 or 16 when I first signed up there), poor time management and muse management skills, and eyees bigger than my writing stomach led to a lot of missed deadlines or scripts given to other writers. Thanks to the variety of shows there, and loyalty of the showrunners, I wasn’t branded useless and left behind, but nurtured and developed.

So, even though they often don’t tear me apart for it, I’m acutely aware that another missed deadline is a Very Bad Thing. I don’t want to be making the mistakes at 20 that I did at 16. So, I was determined to hit this deadline, even if I had to hold heaven and earth still to do so.

The problem wasn’t time. Classes had let out after all; I had nothing but time. It was inspiration. As I described it to someone recently, it was like trying to write in a nursery filled with crying babies; I couldn’t focus on this script, because the demand for my brain to write the other, revisited show came on so strong. I wrote a 40 page pilot and another 20-30 pages to finish off the third episode script before I was offered peace. And these ‘projects’ gripped my attention until two days before my due date for this script.

Not only that, but the delay in my writing was becoming more and more clear to my showrunner, who messages me the day before the deadline concerned about my progress. To be fair, he had good reason; though I was keeping mum, I had only 7 pages written of a 50-something page script.That was my situation 24 hours ago.

About an hour ago, I finished the first draft of the script. Between the lack of that bolder and louder project, the potential shame of missing another deadline, and plenty of coffee, I was able to finish an admittedly short draft of the script with one day. Though it won’t likely air the day it was aimed to, the delay will hopefully be negligible, and my reputation not again blackened by my own ill management.

In one month, I wrote roughly 100 pages of script. Probably one of my most fruitful writing periods. Of course, after the first draft comes the dreaded editing time… but that’s a topic for another day.

One response to “WRITING: Motivation (Or, 5am Musings on Deadlines)

  1. Pingback: WRITING: Gathering Motivation | The Diversionist

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