Sunday, February 15, 2009

My dreams are telling me things

Every now and then my subconscious decides to give me a punt up the posterior. Most dreams vanish within moments of waking, lost to the strange places in the darkness, forever forgotten. But sometimes the central message lingers, like a big WAKE UP sign, telling me to act. For example, this morning I woke with the words '**** that tale of woe' stuck in my head.

Since 2009 started I've been guilty of sitting back and waiting for things to happen. Back in November my script Families At War was one of approximately 70 selected for the second round of the Red Planet Prize, from around 1000 entries. Apparently a shortlist of finalists has been chosen and an announcement of the winner is due soon. But I shouldn't even be thinking about that - I should be busy writing my next project, not looking backwards.

It's a similar situation at the BBC daytime medical drama series Doctors, where I've got a pair of ideas in a pile, waiting to be read. Instead of waiting to hear back about these, I should have been working with my lovely script editor to develop two more and then another two, and so on. Things like the Red Planet Prize and decisions made by producers are out of my hands - I should concentrate my energies on outcomes I can directly influence.

Went to an event called Cupid's Ball in Edinburgh last night, a LGBT shindig at the Assembly Rooms with a disco downstairs and a ceilidh upstairs. A friend asked how my efforts to get a TV drama commission were coming along and I heard myself trotting out what I always say, how so much of it involves waiting, playing the long game and paying your dues. But I don't have to settle for that, shouldn't depend on others to advance my career.

So here's a belated resolution for 2009: no more excuses, no more waiting around. I don't want to hear myself talking about what I wish I was writing, what I'm planning to write in the future. Fuck the future. If you want to be a TV writer, you make something happen by bloody writing. That's not rocket science, it's common sense - but you need to embrace that reality and act up it.

Don't be content to sit on the subs' bench, waiting for somebody - a script editor, a publisher, an agent, a producer or a competition - to invite you into the game. You want to play? Get your boots on, get your freak on and get writing.



Great post David.

A writer writes.

M J said...

Well said!

Lucy said...


I had this epiphany just before Xmas - I'd spent so long messing about with contests last year, I missed out on loads of things I could directly influence myself!!! Since Christmas?? Got more done than in the whole of last year... And the year before. Contests are great of course, but I have seriously rubbish luck, I'm better at making my own luck. As my projects at the mo testify (you know which ones Big D).