My friend and fellow writer Marilyn Meredith recently did a post on her blog about prioritizing. This is something I find myself doing constantly, but not always doing successfully. (Definitely not as successfully as Marilyn, anyway.)
I lead what I consider a boring, somewhat mundane life. There are days when I don’t have to leave the house. That doesn’t mean I don’t always have STUFF to do.
I work from home, which I know puts me in a category of lucky. My job also involves writing, which puts me in the double lucky category. Although my job involves brief writing for criminal appellants and not fiction writing, it also involves story-telling, deciding the best way to present the facts to the appellate court to get the best results. Rote recitation of facts the way they occurred is generally how my clients got convicted in the first place. I have to look for the injustice in the conviction, those things that went wrong, and make those my facts when I tell my story. It is definitely an exercise in creativity.
In addition to my day job, I also have a family, pets, carpool duty, house cleaning, laundry, PTO, book writing, and occasionally I squeeze in time to read. My kids are already smarter than me, and helping them with homework and projects is time-consuming. Sometimes I feel like I need a math tutor myself just to help my kids with middle school math.
I also am physically handicapped from a head-on collision with a drunk driver in 2008. I am full of titanium and still missing pieces of bones. Some days this means almost nothing, and other than sore knees and a stiff ankle, I’m like everyone else. Other days I can barely walk around my house. Every day is kind of a crapshoot.
Regardless, there are things that need to get done. My usual process is doing what absolutely needs to get done, such as things on a deadline, and then squeezing in whatever else I can. Which brings me to today, where I am working on something due at the end of the month. It’s a spec script for a contest, which if I am one of the winners I could get a one year paid gig as an intern at a production company in Los Angeles.
Some people might think it would be crazy to uproot my family and relocate from New Orleans to L.A. for a one year position, but I would. Of course it’s easy to say that when it’s so unlikely that I’ll be one of the winners. I haven’t written that many scripts, and I’ve never written a t.v. comedy spec script, which is what they require. But I figure even if I don’t win, I’ll at least have a spec script in my repertoire which I can always use to pitch in the future.
If it wasn’t for needing the script at the end of February for this contest, I probably would never have gotten around to writing it. I would have thought I was too busy doing the daily things that need to get done and it would have been on the back burner like so many other things I never get around to doing. It would have been easy to ignore the contest announcement, but that is part of my prioritization process, finding things with deadlines that force me to step outside of my comfort zone and write more. It’s kind of like tricking myself into writing, but it’s a system that works for me so far.
So I am spending this week writing a spec script, knowing I don’t have much time left if I want to enter my very best into the contest.
Now if I could only get to the laundry and dishes...