Resolution Check In – October 2016
So, after half-term holidays, and a trip to Edinburgh, followed by the Lake District it is clearly time to check up on myself and see how well I am doing on my plan for 2016. (I am pretty sure it is not a complete disaster, but I am also fairly certain it hasn’t quite gone according to plan.)
In that original plan I set myself the task of rewriting four screenplays this year. The first part, to check-in in April, doesn’t seem to have gone to plan as I didn’t even get as far as posting it, so my first check-in was, effectively, my second in July this year.
In July I noted that I had been working on two screenplays and, in a slight change of direction, on some short screenplays as well, finishing the first draft of one that I started back in the summer. However, I probably (well, definitely) won’t get to rewrite four screenplays this year as I have been distracted with an idea for a horror screenplay – something I have not attempted in the past, but something I have always wanted to have a go at. I have been a fan of horror all my life, so why the hell not?!
Of course, being taken off plan by a new screenplay is a good distraction. As I said in July, “Adapt or Die” – nothing wrong with a change in focus, as long as the direction remains largely the same.
Unfortunately I do have other distractions and I have, recently, begun to wonder if I need to be a bit more ruthless with my time and the drains upon it. (And, in case my family are reading, I’m not thinking about adoptions…)
Video games are a big distraction for me. I have been a “gamer” since the heady days of the Atari consoles and our first Amstrad CPC464 which took about as long to load a game as it does to finish the first draft of a screenplay! But it is just too easy, on a Saturday night, to slip a game on and waste a couple of hours. I know it is important to relax and have some “downtime” but, before the PS4 (and before it the PS3) joined the family, when I had free-time at the weekend, I would most likely watch a film or two which, although not exactly writing, can still be productive training/education for your craft; it is part of Scott Myer’s 1/2/7/14 approach, after all.
I can’t imagine stopping gaming altogether, but maybe it is time to reduce the options/temptation; stick to the joys of Nintendo family gaming, and retire the Playstation that steers me away from writing – at least that way I can make sure I get my fix of both writing and thrashing the kids at Mario Kart. Hell, I could even sell the PS4 and put the proceeds towards a new filter, or scope – for the other hobby that I am not about to give up just yet.
When you speak to other writers, one of the things that comes up time and time again is the sacrifices that need to be made to concentrate on your writing. While I am conscious that I have a job and a family and my writing time is limited, do I really need to limit it further with unnecessary distractions? No, of course not. I realise this is nothing compared to sacrifices made by many other people – it’s embarrassing calling it a sacrifice to be honest – but it is a small thing I can do to put focus back on my writing and, in the New Year, when I am setting myself goals for 2017, I may have a better chance of not only meeting those goals and exceeding them.
I’m not disappointed with 2016 (I’ve had some great notes on a couple of scripts and have some great ideas for moving forward) just aware I could have done so much more. So, we will see at the end of 2017, whether I manage to put my money where my mouth is.
In the meantime, I didn’t do any writing over half-term as I was out and about with the family, but it was productive in other ways seeing Pandas, Red Squirrels and Baby Rhinos (you may have noticed the pictures) for starters but maybe, even, a new idea for a story after my wife managed to superglue her feet into her badly in need of repair boots – but that, I am afraid, is another story!