Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pining for the fiords, writer-style

Having been post a lot to this blog since I got back from holiday. Our local theatre workshop is staging a production of the musical Me and My Girl early next month, so that's swallowing a lot of my time, energy and headspace. I've got a lot of irons in a plethora of fires, but none of them are near the stage where I can blab about them publicly. Most probably won't come to fruition, so blogging about them feels both premature and stupid [never a winning combination].

Those that might well succeed involve non-disclosure orders and sundry omerta, prohibiting me from spilling the beans. Finally, my financial situation is somewhat taut at the moment, precluding me from signing up for various courses and workshops that might otherwise provide grist for my mill of burbling. All in all, I find myself with not a lot to say right now, at least not publicly - and I've never enjoyed blogs that indulge in coy self congratulations.

Crucially, I find myself missing the company of other writers. Doing an MA in screenwriting gave me an opportunity to mingle with scribes at various stages of their careers. Our triumphs were shared, our failures and frustrations lessened by being part of a loose collective larger than ourselves. We weren't a team, but there was a bond of sorts linking us. I miss that. Emails and phone calls are fine, but human contact means more when it's face to face.

I'm probably homesick for New Zealand too. I love going home, seeing my family and old friends. But the last few days of the trip have a creeping dread about them, because I know the visit is almost over. Getting back to the UK thrusts me back into the show and my various work pursuits and what have you, playing catch up for the weeks I missed while away on the other side of the world. But that's done, and now I find it harder to ignore the dull ache of absence.

Enough wallowing; self pity is never an attractive or interesting quality in a person, let alone in print. Better to focus on the way forward. Set myself some short-term goals for the next few weeks, some medium-term goals for the rest of 2008, and a few long-term objectives for 2009 and beyond. I've abandoned my quest for representation until I've gained at least one or two new credits. I got plenty of praise for my old work, but no offers from agents. So be it.

I've made some progress cracking one of my objectives, and am devoting several days a week to advancing that progress further. I desperately need to choose what my next spec script will be. I've got far too many ideas floating ahead my noggin, competing for attention. Better to pick one and set myself a deadline for completing the first draft. And I need to pull thumb and put some work into securing another radio drama commission. Most of all, I want to be writing.

All the spec work I've been doing, it's like trying to get orphans adopted. You send your story off into the big, bad world, hoping it will catch the eye of an editor or producer. Will they like it? Will they want to nurture the story, grow into an episode or a novel or a short film? If not, the unwanted orphan gets sent back to you and it's time to polish up another prospect. Something fresh-faced, aimed at 16-24 demographic. Something edgy, distinctive, original, daring, bold.

I don't mind pimp stories. It's part of the job, it's what I do - have mad ideas, turn them into speculative story pitches and cross my fingers. But all this pimping can wear you down. It's like an endless series of first dates that end badly, probably with a handshake instead of some passionate kissing and clinching. Every writer needs their work to get a fumble of approval now and again, don't they? Second base would be ace, steaming up car windows better.

Enough mixed metaphors. Time to see how tonight's duck leg casserole is coming along. Onwards.

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