Thursday, 25 August 2011

time management (or lack of)

random clock picture
I bought a time management book a couple of years ago. 

It had been packaged to look all modern, but inside the advice basically consisted of 'get your secretary to do it'. Presumably it was written in ye olden days when you could smoke in offices and people used typewriters and all managers had secretaries to brighten up the place and do a bit of light shorthand.

In the brave new world of doing everything for yourself, it was entirely flipping useless.

I'm not sure whether time management techniques really work for creative writing. I can go for ages without writing (see: the last few months), and then be inspired be a random conversation and plunge straight back into it (see: last night).

I should add that it's different, I think, with a commission and a deadline. But for me, ongoing creative writing happens when it happens.

Having said all this, I do find the following things help:

1. Don't be afraid of writing rubbish: the longer I leave it, the harder it can seem to get back into it. It becomes more of a big deal. So I think there's definitely an argument for writing a scene or two even if you're pretty sure it's crap because it's still writing and it counts for something and it can be edited.

2. Using scraps of time: I've never sat down and devoted a day to writing. Not even an afternoon. It doesn't work for me. I feel under pressure. I procrastinate. Instead I write in the gaps between all my other work. Half an hour seems like an optimum time for the creative stuff. I can do longer in an editing phase, because it doesn't require the same amount of raw energy. Editing is more of a reflective, biscuits and cups of tea phase.

3. Um, that's it. Those are the things I do.

I'm not exactly filled with hints and tips today. But always interested in hearing other people's techniques...

Friday, 12 August 2011

me vs not knowing what I'm doing

There's a myth, I think, that emotional turmoil is good for creativity. As if creativity only comes from heartbreak and absinthe and living in garrets with questionable bathroom facilities.

Maybe it's true, to an extent? Big emotional experiences can certainly feed your work. There's a reason why every second rate indie band and their cousin has a break-up album, all snivelling ballads and 'eff-you' declarations of moving on to better things.

Of course, it doesn't always make it good.

Right now, I'm finding emotional turmoil is getting in the way of getting on with stuff. Because all the time I spend angsting about and staring moodily into the middle distance is time I'm not spending getting on with actual writing. All the mental energy I'm expending on little questions - like what am I going to do with the rest of my life - leaves me much much less to spare for being creative in any way. Thinking of a mildly intelligent facebook status update is a challenge right now.

Hoping for a bit of stability soon. Not so much as to make life boring, but enough that I can happily sit typing up the latest script (there is one, I have ideas, hell, I have notes) for a few hours without stressing wildly over job applications, preparing to move country, wondering what I'm doing with my life/career/everything else...