A very quick one this. I’m conscious I’ve been letting my bloggery levels slip but that’s the point of this postlet. There simply are not enough hours in the day.
This last couple of weeks I’ve been wrestling with: the first draft of “Her Royal Spyness” on commission for Matador Pictures; a twenty page treatment for a new romcom with the Chalet Girl producers Pippa Cross and Harriet Rees; a new romcom idea that I pitched to another producer and which they have asked me to flesh out; the rewrite on “Romeo and Rosaline”; another rewrite on my BASE jumping script (with Ed Caesar) called “Exit Point”; two more new ideas that I think have legs and which I don’t want to let go of; an old treatment that my agent wants me to dust off and submit to the BBC; a monstrously complicated training film script for BP; three more corporate in various stages of development; helping two friends with the development of their feature scripts; not to mention scripts to read, books to read, films and tv shows to watch, lawns to mow and lives to lead.
And there are simply not enough hours for all this.
I’ve been working myself into a bit of a lather about it. Clearly the most important of all of these is the script commission for Matador, because it’s a real job with a real company that I’m being paid real money for. But, given the 58 other things that are crowding in and around it, I haven’t been able to give it the time or the focus it demands. And this is crazy. For one thing, I’m loving the work when I finally get stuck into it. For another thing, I’m on a deadline and I don’t want to miss it. And for a third thing, THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN WORKING TEN YEARS TO GET TO. I’M BEING PAID TO WRITE. And now that it’s finally happening, I’m being distracted by everything else, all those other little jobs that pay a bit of money here, or might lead to something else there. Whereas in fact what I should be doing is SITTING DOWN AND WRITING WHAT I’M BEING PAID TO WRITE.
The “Chalet Girl” experience was career-changing, no doubt about it. But it’s done now, and the window of opportunity that it opened is closing with every passing week that I don’t fire out a brilliant new script. So what I need to be doing is focusing every ounce of my creative being on making “Her Royal Spyness” as brilliant and professional and filmable as possible. Then those nice people at Matador will tell everyone they work with what a brilliant, professional and filmable writer Tom Williams is. Then I’ll get more jobs. And so on. That’s the theory at least. And that’s all that matters right now. The rest can wait.
So I’ve come up with four strategies.
One, I’ve rented an office, out of the house. I love my kids, but they’re not great writing partners.
Two, I’m cutting down on my corporate work. It’s interesting, and it pays the bills, but there’s a bigger picture here.
Three, every morning, 8.30am – 1pm, I’m working on “Her Royal Spyness”. Everything else can wait till the afternoon.
Four, longer term, I’m learning to say no, and to prioritise. You can’t do everything, all the time. Have two, maximum three projects on the go, and give those your all. When they’re done, move on. But I’ve found that the more food I throw at the wall (if that’s the right image), the less actually sticks.
And that includes not writing as many blog posts. Until next time, whenever that might be.