Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 182: Monday Progress Report: 10...9...8...

The end is in sight.  I actually know now how my play is going to end, at least in this first draft.  I only have 3 more scenes to write and - if it hangs together - I will have a completed first draft.  I can almost taste it, and I am so excited that I am carrying around my iPad with me everywhere I go, writing snippets on the subway, on the bus, sitting on some steps on a street corner when I have a few extra minutes.  I so want to have this story told.

I now have a penultimate deadline of July 30th for a first draft to be done, to allow time for rewrites before the public reading I am planning for this play's "birthday" in October.  July 30th also coincides with my playwriting teacher's schedule: my last chance to have a private session with him to get guidance for my rewrites is August 1st, and he needs the play a couple of days in advance in order to read it before we meet.  Which means--

I have 10 days to finish the first draft of my play.


Though they can be a little intimidating, one of the things I like about deadlines is that they make decisions so much simpler.  Do I go out and be social or stay in and write?  With only 10 days to finish the play, easy answer.  (My friends will have to forgive me, please).  Do I veg in front of the TV to give myself some downtime or keep working?  Easy answer.  No guilt, no wasted energy trying to make decisions.  For the next 10 days, my choices are clear.  After that I can start agonizing over them again.

Now that you know where I'm headed, I suppose I should tell you where I've been this week.  I wrote in small spurts rather than in one big push, as half of my energies this weekend went towards the pursuit of another, personal goal: to buy myself a bicycle and begin training for my first ever organized athletic event.  Exercise is an area of my life that has not been getting enough focused attention, and it occurred to me that perhaps I should set myself a specific goal and deadline the way I do with my writing to help keep me on track.  The goal?   Ride 65 miles on September 25 with the Escape New York bike race.  I'm very excited -- and a little bit scared -- about doing this.  (Of course, the trouble will come when my two goals conflict with each other, but what else is new.)

What I observed in the process of writing in shorter spurts is that I censor less.  When I don't have a lot of time, I just write down whatever comes to mind.  When I have a whole day in front of me, I mull over each thought or line, debate about whether or not it will work before I write it.  I craft a lot more.  That's important, too, but sometimes it's really great to just let stuff flow and not worry about whether or not it works; to write it down even if you know it's not the right line, but it is the right feeling, and go back and sculpt the words later.  I think it will be useful for me going forward to remember this, and not feel that I need to wait for a day when I have all day to write, but rather take advantage of even those fleeting moments.  I don't have much of a choice these next 10 days if I'm get this done!

This week should be a fruitful one -- I will keep you posted!
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