Happy New Year / What a lot of “I”s


I’ve been meaning to return to writing for days, if not months, but another scroll through my unchanged Facebook and Twitter feeds keeps getting in the way… Just maybe that thing I’d be missing is the key to my creative flow.

I’ve got script stuff to fix, characters to explore, and connections to make but it’s so much easier not to, and so much quicker.

In my actual job there’s nothing really to do at this time of year. It’s a perfect opportunity to turn on the taps and let the words fill my screen bath, but no, more Tim & Eric on youtube is the short-term priority.

I’m doing this now under self-imposed duress, and I don’t understand why it’s such a chore. I love writing, I wish I had more time to write, I’m enjoying doing this now but give me the chance and I’ll do something else. Halfway through that sentence, I scrolled through Twitter!

I’ve been aiming to get my focus back when the new year hit and the baby would be sleeping a little bit better, which he sort of is. Unfortunately, the 4 month sleep regression/growth spurt has just turned up so putting bambino to bed and firing up the laptop isn’t a guarantee I can use the time usefully. 23 minutes is as much as I managed last night.

I quietly wish my wife would retrieve the woken infant and keep him busy while I plug away for a bit, but she has been on parent duty all day so it’s definitely my turn. I’ve tried to develop a mantra that is so much easier to communicate to others than it is to employ.
“Look for the moments and not the hours”.
It’s not great but it makes a point.

That point being rather than endlessly searching for an hour or two to write that never turn up, you can achieve more than you think if you take the chance as it occurs. You can achieve a lot in an available short space of time than you can in a longer period that never starts.

I work in administration for the Art School of a University and over the summer a very stressed student was brought to see me by his tutor, on deadline day, to ask about the implications of not submitting in order to re-sit the year from scratch. As this was already a re-take, so non-submission was likely only to result in failure of repeated modules and withdrawal from the University.

The student felt intimidate by how much work there was to complete before the deadlines. There was a piece of design work, and two essays, to submit by 5pm and midnight respectively, and it was already 1pm.

I sat the student down and suggested he shift his perception and rather than think of the hours he didn’t have and think of the 5-minute blocks he could squeeze out of them. The essays weren’t due until midnight, so they could wait for later, the design work was the imperative and so the next sixty pockets of 5-minute bursts were focused there. After that submission, he had the two essays to finish, which he’d already started and partially submitted, so they just needed to be as good as he could get them before the midnight deadline. I suggested he just needed to get them in and leave the question of whether they would pass for the tutors marking them, that’s not his problem, just get it done.

The difference between then lad when he arrived and when he left was noticeable. He felt more empowered to tackle challenges and went off to did as much as he could.

He failed, but he did it, and because he did it he was granted a last chance attempt on the one piece he failed and trailing into the next academic year.

I’ve never wanted to High Five myself so much, I was incredible, but can I perform the same inspirational magic on myself? Nope.

But I’ve written this now, so at least that happened.

Happy New Year!

Fingers crossed for some level of productivity for all of us, everyone!

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