This post has nothing to do with baseball.
I’m scuffling when it comes to writing. I blame a lot of things, but it all falls on my shoulders in the end. The biggest problems I’ve faced in the freelance jungle are delays and false promises. You have to deal with a lot of the latter just to get in the position to suffer through the former. But that doesn’t change the fact that I can always write.
Most days I don’t earn a dime. I let that consume me. I spend more time looking for work than actually working. When the lights turn green and deadlines are set, nothing stands in my way. I hit deadlines, because I understand the notion of the “creative team.” It’s like an eco-system, and every member of the team has to do their part at all times, even when things go awry, or the whole thing falls apart. So I hit my deadlines.
And then the wait for approvals start, and everything goes to shit. I put off starting something else in the hopes that I can get quick notes, re-draft and fire back corrections. This invariably leads to days without progress. Then I start fretting over the days and worrying about when the next check on the already approved project is going to come, so I start the search to line up more work, and the cycle perpetuates itself.
What happens at the end of the day is I let people (and these are people who pay me, mind you) decide when I can and cannot write. It’s June, and that means it’s been about a year since I wrote anything I haven’t been paid to write, or at least something that wouldn’t potentially get me more paid work.
I got 79 pages into a screenplay and never touched it again. Every time a project hit the skids I could have noodled away a page or two. I didn’t. I could have spent the free time – not shifting gears and brainspace entirely to something to else concurrent – coming up with new concepts. I did a little bit of this, but not to make a difference.
Since late November or thereabouts, I’ve been really unhappy with much of what I’ve written. There have been some highlights, but on the whole my production has dipped and I haven’t liked what’s come out of it. In some cases Hill and I get things up to snuff. In solo work it just means a lot more drafting until it’s good enough to send to whoever’s paying. But in terms of the stuff I do for me… It’s all but dried up.
I keep trying to kick my ass into gear and I can’t do it. This week I’m already stressing over yet more empty promises not coming to fruition and the bread line on the horizon. I’m so unhappy with my work there are times I think about packing it in. Writing isn’t easy. I know this. It shouldn’t be easy. I know this too.
I have to find a way to get back to where I was, Sixth Man of the Year on the All-Hustle Squad. I used to write for me. I did it when I could, around other writing and editing work, but it happened. Now I get the chance to write for me (be it a blog or a concept list or a spec screenplay) and I freeze up. I’m not scared of the blank page, just the shit I ruin all that white with.
There’s this stupid part of me that keeps thinking a breakthrough will just come – out of the blue, minimal work required. And I say, “Hey, stupid part of Rob, shut it!” But I’m still not writing. Maybe if I can fill my day with enough WFH gigs that them stalling will just mean I can jump on another one and move on.
Or maybe I can stop being an idiot and just write. Day in, day out. Maybe that means I buy a battery for my busted laptop. Maybe it means a new laptop, and I drive somewhere and just jam. Maybe I replace my fitness mornings with writing time, and shift the former to nights (when I should be writing but don’t do much).
I have to stop worrying about other people, financial instability and anything else that’s just a distraction from the goal at hand. But I keep looking for a magic pill to make that happen. Effort and time. That’s the pill.
Time to get a taste of my own home remedy…