Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How to get over a blue Monday

Got myself down in the dumps yesterday. Fortunately, I had access to the perfect antidote: a friend who's also a writer. Whenever one of us gets in a rut, they'll call the other for a reality check. We talk more often than that, but it's important to have like-minded people you can vent at who won't judge you, who understand how the long, dark afternoon tea-time of the soul feels like. They give you a sense of perspective, the chance to step outside your circumstances and see your current troubles for what they really are: a momentary lapse of hope, a dip in the emotional rollercoaster of the writer's life.

Now that my screenwriting MA is done and dusted, I'm going to need a substitute network of writers to take the place of my fellow students. Not that I'm hereby dumping all the mates and colleagues I aquired at college, but we won't be seeing each other on a regular basis anymore. Inevitably, there will be a slow drifting apart. In six months time it will be six months since I've seen many of the people I got to know on the course; that's just the reality of the situation. But I'm hopeful some of them will stick around in my life.

When a blue Monday gets the better of you, another good response is taking positive action. Feel like you're in a funk [and I don't mean a groovy, James Brown style funk, more the I feel depressed and I want to listen to complaint rock kind of funk]? Then do something about it. Feel like you're spending all your time waiting on other people to make decisions or take action? You probably are, but it doesn't have to be that way. Take control of your future. Force the issue, make things happen.

I kind of knew yesterday was going to be a wash work-wise, it just had that feeling about it. So I identified ten agencies, made a few phone calls and then composed an enquiry letter. Add ten up-to-date CVs, ten SAEs and off down the post office for a mailshot. What else? Phoned a couple of screen agencies, making contacts and chasing opportunities as a script reader. Built a plan of action for the rest of the working week. Even applied for a part-time job in TV, though it would mean commuting and travel and such-like, but it's definitely something I'm qualified to do.

The MA course is over. Now comes the hard part: turning that learning, that knowledge into paying work. It's said getting that first job in TV is also the hardest job to get, and I can believe that. [Actually, I suspect the second job is probably just as problematic, but at least you'll have experience on your side by then.] In the meantime, it's all about keeping the faith, keeping going. Keep making contacts, keep securing meetings, keep up the momentum. You've got to take responsibility for your own writing, your own career. Keep the faith.


Laura Anderson said...

I have the utmost faith in you making it, dude.

PLus, hope you're not intending to get rid of ME?! I'm hard to shake off.

potdoll said...

i often have days like this David. Good for you for sending stuff out. I usually fill my face and watch films.