The last few months have been something of a turning point for me. As many of you know, I am a major proponent of artists, authors, writers, film and theatre folk all becoming creative Jack-of-all-Trades – not just because it covers your bases in case one of your selected job roles fall through, but also because it keeps you on your toes and prevents the dreaded writer’s block from rearing its ugly head.
But, truth be told, I never expected that I would ever be able to completely split my attention between a variety of projects that require different skills over the same day! And yet is precisely what I have been up to over the last couple of months and, with every day that passes, I am getting better at doing it.
To highlight what my average creative day is now beginning to look at, I am going to show you my things to do list.
Things to Do 8/9th Nov. 2014
Finish War Poetry ebook and assemble
Complete Commissioned article
Redraft Feature Film Screenplay “Inches”
Redraft TV Pilot Script “Shadows and Justice”
Redraft Short Story “Heart of Gold”
Plan Sci-fy Short Story “The Nursery”
Plan Romanantic Short Story (No name)
BBC History Readers Letter
Assemble Funding Proposal for Web Series, “Safe and Secure”
Pitch article to history magazine
Revisit edit for short film, “The Cold Reception”
Marketing Plan for War poetry ebook
Any Left Over Pieces
Now, to be absolutely clear, there is no way in hell that I will ever complete all of those tasks over a single weekend. Not if I want a life at any rate. But out of the fifteen odd items listed, I will have successfully completed at least six of those tasks (this blog post would be number seven).
This is a massive contrast to the sort of lists that I would make a few months back which would consist of maybe one of two jobs to get done. Whilst these shorter lists were more realistic, I was finding that they weren’t really pushing me at all. Every time I wrote down what I still had to do, I was finding that the to-do list was slowly getting bigger and bigger until eventually I started missing deadlines which, as any writer or creative would say, is the most disappointing feeling in the world.
But now I create lists that are far larger and expect for more than I would ever be able to achieve in a single day. And, instead of discouraging me, I actually find that having such a big challenge focusses my mind so much more. As a result, by the time I had finished working yesterday evening, I had assembled a war poetry collection, redrafted a 95 page feature film script, written a history magazine pitch, redrafted a 1,000 word short story, planned a 5,000 word short story and written a readers letter.
Not bad for a ten hour day!
Alright though, admittedly the readers letter is a bit of an easy one to get on to the list, but it is a vital one nonetheless. Which leads me to today’s top tip for writers:
There is no easier way to see your name in print in a magazine or newspaper than to write a readers letter!
If seeing something published gives you a little morale boost, which is ultimately what keeps all writers going, then just pick your favourite magazine and write a little letter about an article you’ve read or an opinion you have on something they have discussed recently. It doesn’t have to be long, most magazines only want about 100 words, and the kick you’ll get out of seeing your name in print will be enough to encourage your writing for a good few weeks afterwards.
So, I think the main point of this post is to say that you should always try to stretch yourself. If you have a set writing day, then give yourself an impossible task. If you normally write a chapter a day, set yourself the task of writing five! If you write a poem a day, try writing seven! If you can create one short story a day, try to write ten! You will be surprised about how far you can push yourself if you have an impossible goal!
After all, there is that old saying, “Shoot for the moon, because you might just hit the stars!”