Sunday, June 22, 2014

Up and Down the Productivity Mountain

(I scribbled this process piece into my notebook on May 27, right before pulling an all-nighter to meet two writing program deadlines. If you've ever wondered what the self-flagellating mind of a writer sounds like, get ready for a glimpse. My writing is as raw as my emotions were at the time...)

I'm realizing that my productivity goes in cycles. There are days when I push, jam, and roll creatively and get a huge amount of writing done. I reach the end of those days and think to myself, "Wow, if I could be this productive every day, I could realize my dream of being a prolific writer!"

But that fantasy remains unfulfilled, because the very next day is often like today. One that starts slow, never picks up steam, and ends on a solid note of self-doubt and panic.

Let's see - what did I do today? A smidgen of writing, taking the whole morning and afternoon to write 10 pages that I would have done in an hour yesterday. (The yesterday of my dreams.) In between, I made lunch, repotted plants on my patio, sent mails and made phone calls for the short film I'm producing, watched 30 minutes of TV, ate cookies, put on workout clothes to do 15 minutes on my recumbent bike, watched YouTube videos (for research, damnit!), went to the Writers Junction, ate cheesecake someone left in the fridge, then sat down to write.

Another case of procrastination, procrastination, procrastination. It's like after a full day of writing, my psyche rebels by suddenly making vacuuming or doing laundry the most attractive activity ever.

This is where discipline should come in. It's moments like these when I need to stay focused on my goal and brush all those other distractions aside. Because with the exception of the pre-production work, I didn't need to do any of that other stuff today! It could have all waited until after my deadlines this weekend!

Discipline in a writing career means writing all the time, whether you want to or not. People across the country push widgets, perform surgery, or serve coffee and pie for eight hours a day, five days a week. Why shouldn't writers work the same hours? Or at last a fraction of them? My two or three hours this morning feels so unacceptable to me. Every minute I don't spend writing is a minute wasted.

I'm writing this blog post now, which is good - though this blog is something that can wait until the weekend. But at this point, the thought of looking at my script again is so undesirable, I'm partly writing this so I can say at least I accomplished something today. Something is better than nothing, right?

Ugh, no! I need to stop negotiating this something vs. nothing crap and just write! Because finished writing is what's truly better than anything.

Okay, let me try diving into this script again...

(Told you it wasn't pretty...)

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