On Dec. 6, I sat in an uncomfortable chair at Heathrow Airport, munching on my last mince tart, and started outlining a screenplay. Now, 46 days and three drafts later, I’ve sent it out into the world (via BlueCat’s Fellini Competition). (And a massive thanks to Matt and Stuart who offered and delivered one-day-turnaround feedback for me — you guys are awesome.)
For the record, I don’t usually like to cram three drafts into six weeks. I do, however, like to spit out first drafts in a month, and I wanted to challenge myself to meet an extremely ambitious deadline to start the year off right. In short, I wanted to work at it like I’m already being paid to do this.
So I did. I worked every day save two or three in that 46-day span. I imagined myself answering to Very Important People at the end of every day. The past two weekends have been dedicated entirely and solely to editing and rewriting. I’ve been up past midnight (and up before six for the job that actually does pay my bills at the moment) every day this week. I’ve spread myself really thin to get this done — and it’s been exhilarating to find I still have it in me after the creative quasi-slog of last year. I needed to prove to myself I could still do it, and I have, and you can, too.
My point is, if you want to be something badly enough — like, say, a working writer — you have to be willing to put in the hard work. It has to be a priority, and it has to be pursued every single day (and yes, sometimes taking a day or two to rest is part of that pursuit). Because when we choose to be something, we’re choosing a state of activity — not stasis. Even for those who “make it,” the pursuit doesn’t stop. It’s constant motion, and you have to find joy in it. As they say, it’s the journey rather than the destination that matters.
So, if you’re stalling because it’s still early in the year or you’re still recovering from the holidays or excuse 1, 2 or 3, take a moment and define your priorities. January’s two-thirds done, and when February hits, that’s one-twelfth of the year gone. Do you want to spend it waiting for perfect or at least comfortable circumstances? Or do you want to get uncomfortable and triumph anyway? The truth is, circumstances will never be perfect for any length of time that matters. So, let’s suck it up and get to work on what we love despite the obstacles, all right? Off you go.