Learning To Jump

I think I’ve left it late enough not to feel obliged to write the ubiquitous end of year review / New Year’s resolutions list. Trust me- this is a good thing for everyone. 2014 was not my greatest year, so the less said the better.

I’ve the treatment completed for my screenplay (Grand), which leaves me with the little task of now writing said film. The changes to date have been drastic in some ways, or at least it felt like that at the time. I’m now quite happy with how my story is coming along and I feel I’ve a good little tale on my hands. At least that’s how I feel on good days. I’ve actually started the script itself, which is another little step completed. Even though I try to be structured in my writing routine, I find that I tend to write in bursts of energy. I’ll procrastinate to beat the band for ages, then when I finally start writing and get the ball rolling, I can’t stop. The story begins to flow and the characters and situations take over, so stopping would be like interrupting a person mid-sentence and saying “can we finish this conversation tomorrow”; I’m far to prim and proper to be rude (even if it is to characters in my head). My aim is to have a completed first draft by the end of March. This will be very rough but at least I can then develop it over the summer months and have a final draft by September (just in time for the London Screenwriters’ Festival, as it happens). Thinking about this process is both exciting and terrifying. I’m enjoying writing the script so far, even if it is early days. However, it can be frustrating when I’ve moments of staring blankly at the computer screen for what seems like infinity. Like lots of things in life, when I get started I’m fine, it’s just the initial jump that takes courage. My script is also the last piece of my MA in Scriptwriting! So much has changed for me over the last 18 months or so, both personally and professionally. As well as all the specific skills I’ve picked up along the way, I’ve definitely gained confidence as a writer too; feeling easier about sharing my work and also being less precious about it (as is evident from the changes I’ve made in location and character in Grand). The next few weeks and months of writing will no doubt have a few challenges but I can’t wait to see how Grand progresses. Even though I know the story, I also know that it will change as the characters come to life and dictate their own stories. There’ll also be the read-throughs to looks forward to (i.e. dread). That said, any read-throughs I’ve been involved with have always been fruitful in some way or other; like everything else it’s a case of just getting started.

Being January, there seem to be lots of reminders and notices about upcoming submissions to various festivals/competitions. Part of me would love to enter them all but I know some of this is actually procrastination in a different guise- if I’m busy preparing for submission X then I won’t have time to focus on Y. It’s hard sometimes trying to get the balance right between working on difference projects and not over committing to other jobs. Of course, having “too much” to do is the perfect excuse for not doing anything sometimes. Anyway, I feel I’ve had a positive start to the year and I plan on keeping the momentum going. No doubt I’ll remain an expert procrastinator, but sure that’s life and if I think about it long enough I might even reframe it as a skill in itself. Here’s to 2015.

2 thoughts on “Learning To Jump

  1. Nuala Ní Chonchúir says:

    I find it great to focus on one big project (a novel) & finish it. We learn more from sticking with one thing and finishing it than by jumping from thing to thing, I feel.
    ‘Grand’ is a great title. Good luck!!!

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