Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Running through open doors and jumping in without armbands

Recently I’ve had cause to reflect, in far more serious terms, on my writing career. In general the last few months have been a series of - doors opening and doors closing – shall we say. So the doors opening have been all writing related, I’m through to the last 20 of the Red Planet Prize, I was chosen for the Spread the Word Emerging Writers project, I’ve had interest expressed in several projects, the production side of my work with the Writing for Performance Group has been expanding – all great and all positive momentum. The only frustrating thing has been the lack of time to be able to get on with projects and make the most of the open doors.
Don’t get me wrong I do write in all the available time I have, I’m not one of those writers who whinges about having to write when working full-time and then sits watching 6 hours of television of an evening and a bit more at the weekend. I write every evening and at least one if not two days at the weekend (largely dependent on hangover, occasionally gardening). I use all of my holiday time for writing. I have not had a holiday since...you know I really can’t remember the last holiday I took. I take time off to write around deadlines and the only away time I allow myself is Ty Newydd writing courses. So when I say not enough time to write I really mean, not enough time to write.

But then we get to the door closing - notification that the non-real-job will be coming to an end and I’m being made redundant. I have to admit I never saw it as a bad thing although I should have done. I spend all my time wishing that I had another job (scriptwriter of course) so it’s never going to be that bad when a job you do to pay the bills, that gets in the way of the job you really want to do, comes to an end. But I have a mortgage to pay and a very expensive vodka habit – by that I mean I drink a lot of cheap vodka not limited amounts of expensive vodka which would just be silly since it’s been scientifically proven that some of the cheapest brands of vodka are actually the purest!

Immediately my decision was to take a few months – or however long my severance package allows – to write. It will only be a few months but a few months that will give me those extra spec scripts I need, the proposals written up, the outlines finished.

For so long now my book of ideas – ideas written down onto pages in a notebook, usually in the form of loglines, occasionally in little flowcharts of ideas for scenes, sometimes notes of images, often a character description – has been overwhelming me. It has felt like an overloaded in-tray and an overloaded brain. I’ve wanted to push them from the overloaded brain/in-tray and into the nicely organised portfolio of ideas ready to be pitched or written.

But now I can do that. There is probably a very valid argument about me looking for a job and keeping the money for a really rainy day, after all I’ve been at this writing lark for a long time, and a few bits of good luck in competitions doesn’t really amount to an indication that you might earn actual money from writing, so maybe I should just keep at it in my spare time....but could those people (mainly my Mum) just be quiet for now.

I basically had a choice of jump in or keep paddling and I’m on the verge of jumping. I am at the end of the diving board but I’ve never liked jumping in out of my depth so I’m holding my nose and checking that there are people watching out for me in case it goes wrong.

So here’s to making a big splash end of July. I’ll drink a vodka to that. But then I’ll drink a vodka to anything!

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