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The consequences of writing…

According to the NHS website – no, not Web MD. Are you crazy? That just tells me I have something incurable and deadly – people who are prone to getting Vitamin D deficiency are, amongst others:

“people who are not exposed to much sun, such as people who cover up their skin when outdoors, or those who are housebound or confined indoors for long periods”

So that would be why I, a writer living in the UK, am Vitamin D deficient, wouldn’t it? (That and this ex-Goth isn’t a friend of sunshine.)

I spend long periods of the day inside. Even when it’s sunny. Anyone who’s tried to work on a laptop outside knows only too well that it’ll overheat like a thing possessed after a short while and I don’t want to have to replace mine.

Recently the sun has been shining on old Blighty and I’ve been trying to get out while I can but I have a looming deadline and a job to keep me in beer and baked beans.

Is it just me? Does anyone else write most effectively under pressure? I recently posted about writing every day. While I try to do that, I don’t always manage it and in order to finish something, I need a deadline, even if it’s further off in the distance; I need to have something to work towards.

Anthony Trollope worked full time as a civil servant and wrote every day, from 5.30am: a practice which allowed him “no mercy”. Trollope believed that three hours a day “will produce as much as a man ought to write.” (From An Autobiography, by Anthony Trollope)

True that. Anymore than that and I ramble!

The full three hours were not spent solely on writing; he would review the previous day’s work and take note of the sound and rhythm of the words. When he did write, Trollope challenged himself to write 250 words every 15 minutes.

I am in awe. I hope that one day I can both write like that, and drag myself from bed at some ungodly hour to write every day, with or without a deadline.

We’re all different and I keep trying to work out when is the best time for me to write. Is it the middle of the night? Mid-afternoon? First thing in the morning? It really has to be – until I’ve established a routine – a time when I can’t be distracted by Twitter conversations, Facebook debates or The-Buzzfeed-loop-of-lists.

HSleeping patternsey, I have limited self-control!

I found this infographic on the working habits of some of our most amazing creatives recently. I don’t know how true it is but I think it’s very telling that many of these creatives (including one of my favourite authors) writes overnight. How many disruptions do you think there are at that time of the night?

Along with sunshine, I need more discipline. And a workable plan. I’m willing to try anything so, after a day’s work, I’m about to put in another working day. It’s just that this time, it’s overnight…

See you on the other side!

"Patience, my young Padawan"

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On the 7th day of December, my blog post said to you…

Check your head…

This time last year, I was struggling with assessments during the final year of my degree, thinking how I couldn’t wait to be “out there” (whatever that meant). A year later I am (almost) wishing I was back there. I’ve heard from a few people who have graduated that the first year is a tricky time indeed. “You just need to get past it”, “it’ll be okay, you’ve just got to find your way”. This coupled with the fact that it is the Year of the Dragon* has given me a rollercoaster of a year so far.

Downs have been a plenty but ups have been too. I’ve had the good fortune to meet and build relationships with lots of amazing people, some of who happen to share my passion for theatre. But I’m still struggling with which direction I’m heading and which direction to take.

 "Patience, my young Padawan"

During the week I told my friend I had an idea that I’m writing that I wanted to film. Not impossible, however they suggested that I direct the short. “How?” I asked. Personally, I don’t think I’m cut out to be a director. That said, if you’d asked me last year if I thought of myself as a writer, I would have told you the same thing. See? Dragon Curveball Z strikes again!

So how does one navigate their way, learn their strengths and weaknesses? I’m still trying to work mine out and, although I don’t want to shut down avenues before I’ve even started, I’m also a firm believer in not spreading yourself like “butter scraped over too much bread”. (Boom! LOTR’s quote! *pats self on the back*) Perhaps I should try and see which disciplines naturally fall be the wayside but can you be good at multiple things or has that old adage “Jack of all trades, master of none” survived because it’s true? If you spread yourself across too many disciplines diluting your ability? Can some master many? (Greedy, selfish, skillful people!) or does being good at one or two things lead to excellence?

What say you?

*Technically a great year, but the Dragon makes you work your arse off for it. And at a price. Unless you're a Dragon!