Monday, February 10, 2014

Just what is it you do?


I get asked this a lot;

What is it exactly that you do?

I write.

Yeah but what does that mean?

A high school buddy of mine says I don't do anything.

I write about 4 - 6 hours a day and not only on a screenplay. Generally it works like this, starting each Monday:

Look at my "things to do sheet which I tape on a poster on the wall about 20 inches in front of me. That sheet is usually done late Friday afternoon and then I ignore it all week-end. I rarely write on week-ends, it's my own time.

But come Monday, it's looking at me, telling me it's time to get to work. It could be a screenplay or a proposal or email or go over new ideas or go over old ideas. Right now I'm not writing a screenplay so I tend to focus on a variety of things. Today's "things" are as

1. I have to finish a "flash card" for Emperor of Mars, which I'm trying to find funding for the movie version. This involves contacting producers and a casting agent and a distributor. And even completing a little bit of that is a big deal for one day.

2. Jule - the WW11 Pacific veteran. I'm arranging a time to interview him on camera as well as keep encouraging him to write his memoir.

3. My writer's book, The Working Writer's Screenplay, needs more pushing. I have to get copies out to universities and colleges. I already have two contacts.

4. Still trying to find a manager to get more of my screenplays out to buyers.

5. Need to write 2 outlines for two new ideas, one a movie idea, the other a TV series idea.

6. A list of very loose ideas including writing an article based on my deceased mother's calendars in which she wrote a little every day since 1971, her version of a diary.

7. Considering novelizing another screenplay.

So that's what I do, but the truth is I will probably not get all of this done through the next five days.  I didn't mention emails here, and that would take overall about an hour or so.

There's always a few people who say that it must be nice to just sit around and write. Well, I do like that, I never could work in an office but there's one thing that nobody else does that writers do...

We're always thinking about writing. Our job isn't 9 to 5, rather it's 24 hours. Even when I go out shopping I'm thinking about ideas. I have writing pads in every room and in my car. And I record any ideas on my phone if I'm out.

And I'm always looking at people wherever I go, watching something interesting or some action that people do. Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones says it perfectly in his book; that many sources of their songs came from watching other people.

So, unlike people who go to work everyday and come home to just hang out or fix the door, writers are always working. 

But my high school buddy still says "that's not really working."

He's a teacher, retired.

But now, I have to get started on the list, it's already 9:12am.

With miles to go.

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