Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 185: Why?

There are times I really wonder why I do this to myself.  Like last night.

I had cancelled plans with a friend last night in order to be able to write (see Monday's post re: decisions and deadlines).  But between being out very late for my boyfriend's rockin' electronic music show on Tuesday night and the hour and a half long bike ride I did yesterday afternoon between the office and teaching, I was POOPED.  It was 7:45, I had just finished dinner and was staring at the computer, exhausted.  I didn't know how I was going to write in that state.  And I started to wonder, why am I doing this to myself?

Because, verily, no one is making me write this play, and certainly not finish the first draft in the next 7 days.  This insanity is completely self-imposed.  I could have just lain there on my couch/bed last night, watched a few episodes of Veronica Mars (my latest netflix obsession, can't tell you why), and gone to sleep.  No one would have been the wiser, and certainly the world would have kept turning.  Only I would have been mad at myself.

After a little pep talk with my boyfriend, I decided to give myself 20 minutes in legs-up-the-wall pose to see if that would help me revive enough to write (I've been told 20 minutes in this pose is the equivalent of 2 hours of sleep, and it has worked wonders for me in the past).  As I lay there, I thought through why it is I am doing this to myself.  I mean, do I really need to have this done by the 30th?  What if I don't?  Then I won't be able to meet with my playwriting teacher before he goes, and (more importantly) I won't be able to have a reading in August.  So, what happens if I don't do that?  Then it's going to be hard to get rewrites done in time to submit the play in September to a company I know.  So, what if I don't do that?  That would be a missed opportunity.  But even if I were to let that go, I still want to have a solid script (which means with rewrites) by October. I have been talking this all up for so long to so many people, and now have a number of possibly-important people who really want to read this play.  On its public birthday in October, I want to introduce to the world a really solid version of the play, not a half-formed premie.  It will still need rewrites, I'm not naive, but I want it to be really good.  That means rewrites.  That means having readings so I can hear what's working.  That means finishing this bloody first draft stat.

So I got up from my 20 minutes and felt like a new woman (seriously, you should try it). I made some popcorn and poured myself some diet rootbeer (please, body, forgive the chemicals, but I just couldn't bear to have the sugar of the real stuff), and sat down at my table -- not on my bed -- to write.  I spent a solid two hours going over the material I had been writing on the fly the previous two days, sculpting it into stuff that flowed.  I didn't get a lot of new material down, but it was important work that had to be done.  I am into the meat of the scene that I am writing now, where Angie has to somehow talk her grandfather into coming home for Christmas dinner even though he can no longer walk.  This is not going to be easy, but it's a good challenge.

In the end, I feel so much better that I wrote.  I feel so much better about myself, about my project, about doing something that is important to me.  Even though it's hard and tiring and frustrating and difficult and sometimes makes me feel like I'm crazy, I do this to myself because it makes me happy.  That's why.
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