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Day 100: November was a Bust

Hi, and welcome back to the Screenwriter’s Journey. It’s been 25 days since my last post. Essentially, a month has gone by, and, unfortunately, I have little to show for it. My big push was to write 25,000 words for NaNoWriMo in November. To say I fell short would be laughable. I managed only 6,600 words on the novel plus another 1,200 words on an essay about homelessness. My total output for the month was 7,800 words, not even a third of my stated goal. There was no writing on any scripts and the website fell far behind. The Journey came to a complete standstill, and December is not starting off any better.

The reason for this is work. I had been able to dedicate large amounts of time to my writing through October because I was between jobs. As we moved into late October, it became apparent that most shows (Reality TV) had finished their fall hiring and there wouldn’t be much until after the beginning of the year. I decided to take a holiday job just to keep some revenue streaming in until the next hiring phase. I took a job with a national retailer and began training with them in the last weeks of October. Right after I finished the training I received 3 job offers, two of which were back-to-back gigs. The first would run through Thanksgiving and the second started two weeks later and would run through March, possibly into April.

Needless to say, I took both. The money was decent and it gave me a good run of work, which in this business isn’t always easy to come by. I also decided to stick with the holiday job until the second production job started. That would give me a little extra spending cash for the holidays and cover the two-week gap between production gigs. This seemed possible early on, but then the holiday job started adding hours and days to my schedule and I had to juggle two jobs and lots of hours. There were days I was working double shifts and putting in 18-hour days plus commute times. There was little time for writing let alone anything else as evidenced by the disaster both my bedroom and bathroom were becoming.

I held out for the long Thanksgiving weekend as the first production job would be complete and, for some odd reason, I didn’t have any hours at the retail job except for a few hours on Black Friday. My schedule would also open up dramatically in the two weeks following Thanksgiving before the next production job started. I hoped to use that time to make up for some of the deficiencies of November. Of course as soon as you start planning for something, it all goes haywire. The first production job wanted to extend me for a week, which conflicted terribly with the hours I had at the holiday job, and Thanksgiving weekend suddenly became a marathon of hours that left little time for writing.

In order to extend a week with the production job, I had to offer my resignation at the holiday gig (I would make more in that one week with the production job than I would in a month at the holiday gig). I did put in the hours over Thanksgiving for them, however, and it was a lot of hours! So now I only had one week between production jobs and a lot of makeup writing to squeeze in. I spent the weekend trying to update the website, archive articles and add to the resource calendar. I had to answer emails and respond to Twitter requests and manage my LinkedIn account. Letting things slide for 20 days or so requires a lot of housekeeping to bring it all back up to speed. So with everything taken care of, I could turn my attention back to the writing. . .and then production company I had just left called and wanted to know if I could come back for a few days. So I spent the first part of what was supposed to be my down week back at work. I’m not complaining; refilling the bank account is a wonderful thing. But now I’ve only got four days left before I start the next job that will run through March or longer. I seriously have to get on the stick these next couple of days and finish Come Ups so I can get some feedback on it if I want to start marketing in January. And the marketing only happens if the feedback is good.

What I learned from this is something I’ve stated before, but really had it pounded home of late, and that is you have to find the time to write. If you don’t, you’re not writing. If you’re not writing, you’re not a writer. I have not been a writer for the last month. And it is surprising how fast that month goes by. That’s a month I’ve lost in my 12-month journey, a month I won’t be getting back. Now I’m starting a new job that will require 10 hours a day minimum, plus commute time. It ‘s also the holiday season, so there is shopping to be done, people to see, parties (networking) to attend and a trip home to see family. It would be very easy to lose December as a writing as well. But that simply can’t happen. I’m going to have find and utilize every available spare moment. It’s a daunting prospect, and will take some discipline and dedication, but if I don’t give it my all, I might as well give up now. And that too is not an option.

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