By Ken Robinson
October, 2007, 15:20
Time? What is time? Itís that thing that slips through your fingers as you try to finish that report before your boss yells at you for it being late. The thing you're trying to beat as you race to work because you set your alarm for nine instead of eight, and you punch your time card just a minute late. (That was me last weekend.) It's what you lack resulting in a bad case of writers block as that deadline comes screaming at you. Itís the thing you have absolutely no control over as it will go no faster or slower no matter how much you wish it.
What is management? Itís what you donít have as your desk is overflowing with piles of paper making it utterly impossible to get any work done there. It's the thing that is missing as you try to do 10 different things at the same time, and writing isnít one of them.
Put ďtimeĒ and ďmanagementĒ together and what do you have? A virtual impossibility. How can you manage something that you canít control? You have to make a big realization: you donít control the things that go on in your life. Control of the things around you is an illusion. Your control rests solely on yourself and how you deal with the bombshells that life delivers to your doorstep.
When your best laid plans are blown to pieces by the circumstances around you, how you roll with the resulting tsunami is where you can manifest control. Determine whether this is what you are supposed to do. Then believe it will happen. And work within your circumstances to make it happen.
The way most people manage their writing time is by setting a specific time during the day Ė early morning before anyone is up, or late at night when everyone is down, or during the day while everyone is out. If you're lucky enough to be able to keep them at bay while they are at the house thatís fantastic, but you've got to find some time so youíre not distracted.
But the time should also ideally coincide with the time you write the best. And during this time youíve got to be able destroy the demon of procrastination with your sword of focus. Youíve got to be able to sit down and get something done. Otherwise, you should be frittering away the afternoon on the phone with your best friend about the cute person you met at that place and not feel bad about it. Or, you could pass a few hours watching a very bad movie, desperately hoping that it's going to get better sometime in the near future. Iíve done this many times and I can guarantee they never do. Or go ahead and do any of the myriad of other things that can distract you from writing, and donít feel guilty about it, just do it, lifeís too short.
I do it wherever and whenever I can Ė writing that is. Like right now Iím substitute teaching in Spanish class, and Iíve written a synopsis for one of my TV shows, finished another article and I'm working on this one. Last week I wrote the second revision of the Drive-In screenplay while in computer class, language arts, and detention. Maybe it was the gum chewing that got me detention I donít know, but thatís one place you can get work done, itís nice and quiet.
Not too much to update on current writing projects. I finally got a little more info on the Costa Rica project. Itís supposed to be a Latino Basic Instinct/Fatal Attraction/Wild Orchid-type thing, set in L.A. and Costa Rica. Thatís still not much to go on for a the creation of a story idea. And as I donít like rehashing other movies, Iíll keep my brain open for the right story idea to pop in.
So Write On! till the right story idea pops up for you.
Ken Robinson, IN's Write On! columnist, winner of Bare Bones Int'l Film Festival Best Screenplay Award, has written over 10 screenplays, 3 episodes of TV series West Law, is executive producer for the feature Sacred Bloods, board member of the Oklahoma Film Society, founding member of Oklahoma Movie Makers. His email address is: Krobinson104@hotmail.com
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