Monday, April 18, 2011

The Independant Contractor on Vacation

Have you ever heard the phrase, "You'll never have a tougher boss than when you work for yourself."

Well, here's a newsflash - I just took my second vacation in my entire career.

Other than my honeymoon, I haven't ever had time off unless I was too delirious from fever to sit up.   But this week, I turned in my pages to the producer, we had a great meeting and are ever closer to making a deal and instead of diving back in and finishing it off, I went the other way.

I took the week off.  Wow.  I just needed it.  After the craziness of the very short assignment deadline, followed by the flu, followed by my son getting the flu, followed by another deadline (the self-imposed) I was just done.  The stick-a-fork-in-me kind.

But after a week of playing golf and planting flowers in the garden - my mind runneth over with inspiration.  I'm fired up, I feel ten years younger (albeit not as hungover as I was ten years ago.)  So I feel good about it.  My unscheduled week off was just what I needed.

And here's what makes all of this so improvable.  I'm actually schedule to take a vacation (although some work is mixed in to this one) in a mere four weeks.

So, goals between now and then.  Goals are important. 

1) Finish the new (and hopefully) final draft of this detailed movie treatment for the great movie producer I've been developing it with.

2) Bang out at least the new first draft of my spec.  (Researching the second act is part of my next trip.)

Happy Writing!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Self Impossed Deadline

If you are a writer then chances are you are in your head.  Chances are you are pretty clever.  Chances are you combine these two traits to really screw yourself up. 

But I'm here to tell you that you can also mind*uck yourself in a positive, proactive way. 

Here's my latest example:  I wrote myself a contract to finish the treatment. 

Backstory:  I was one simple draft away from where I think I have a chance to get a real contract (as in paid) for this project.  I've been working with a produce to develop a treatment over the phone for months while he is off shooting a huge movie half way around the world.  It's been a fun and rewarding process, I've learned a lot. 

BUT minutes after our last conversation, where I was filled up and ready to bang this out.  I got slammed with a rewrite on The Assignment and the worst flu imaginable.  Bedridden with a deadline, lovely.

So here I am over a month later and am I filled up?  Am I brimming with confidence and the vision I once had of the finish line?  Nope.  I'm filled up with doubt and fear. 

Why?  I was so close.  Everyone was really excited including big-time producer, managers and myself. 

But here I am, filled with anxiety and fear, self-loathing and two pots of coffee.  The last thing I want to do is go back to this project.  What I really want to do is go back to my spec.

I bet that sounds familiar, no?  If only I could work on this other idea I wouldn't feel this way.  The other one is where the heat is, the other one is the one I'm meant to write. 

Sorry, that's Bullshit!  (Capital letter intended.)

What's really going on here is mind*uck.  (*Normally I'd just say mindfuck but my Auntie is now following my blog and you know, I'm sensitive to that.)  (I've instructed Auntie not to read anything inside parenthesises.)

So here's what's really going on:  I'm trying to remember the finish line.  I'm trying to remember the finished product, but that is impossible.  It's a sure fire way to bring on procrastination or even abandonment of a project.  Trying to see the finish line will only make you lose the race. 

What I need to do is just focus on the next step.  The first step.  Then the next.  And soon that feeling of being full and near will return. 

But how do I get to the first step?  How do I will myself back to something that I've nearly convinced myself I can't do? 

I wrote myself a contract.  I'm great with deadlines, somehow I manage to get it done.  I ask for help with chores around the house, I arrange sleepovers for my kid with the grandparents, I hang up my golf clubs, I focus, I do whatever it takes. And that's the exact type of thinking and action I need to apply to a) The Treatment and b) The Spec.

So in my best legalese, I drafted a document. 

I, writer, hereby enter into an agreement with, myself, to complete the first draft of The Treatment, on or before April 8th...

You get the idea.  And right now, after I hit post, I am taking that first step to reach my deadline.

Stay tuned...  and Happy Writing.