Pictures of Cats and Sunsets

I’ve had a few deadlines in a row lately, which makes me neglect this space. I feel guilty about it, I promise you. I’ve had “Write up the Orient Express stories” on my to-do list since we got back… was that September? Anyway, I find that when I’m inspired to jot something quickly over here, it’s usually just short enough for a tweet, or so long that if I write it over here I won’t be working on what I’m supposed to be working on script/pitch/outline/novel-wise.

Truly, if I actually posted the things I almost post during a day, this site would be composed entirely of pictures of cats and sunsets. Which is exactly what my Tumblr looks like.

I don’t know that I had a chance to announce over here that I am working on a new novel. I use the word “announce” because it’s going to be published. I am not announcing the other things I’ve turned in to my various agents coast-to-coast because they are “projects” that are in the “works.” But the novel will actually one day be tangible… just as soon as I tangigate it. Titles and publishing dates and all that fun stuff I’ll give you later. Suspense!

As I use this little square here to stall on the “project” I’m “working on” (screenplay, halfway finished, currently killing me. first drafts are hell.), I am proving to myself that I do actually get in my own way sometimes. I can see the finish line of this project. It is outlined and notecarded and scribbled and I’ve used sixteen different ways to write about it while technically procrastinating writing it. But I’m stuck on a “cut to.” I don’t know why I will do just about anything other than write the next scene. Cut to: me washing dishes. Cut to: me taking pictures of my cat. Cut to: me signing up for Tumblr. Cut to: me super frustrated with myself, wondering why I can’t just keep writing until I reach “Fade Out.”

I think it’s the lack of official deadline on this one. I turn stuff in when I have people holding me accountable. But when I’m making a piece of material on spec, it’s way more interesting to find out what’s new on Netflix streaming, or jump around in front of the Kinect for, well — you guys, sometimes five hours will have gone by. It’s ridiculous.

I use the novel, which has an actual deadline, to force the non-deadlined screenplay to have a deadline.

OH, GOD. WHAT AM I DOING? You can’t possibly care about this. I barely care about this. I think I started writing this because over the holidays, meeting all kinds of people, the number one thing they said to me when they learned I was a writer was, “You must be very disciplined. I can’t imagine doing that every day.”

I usually joke that all it takes is the ability to sit still, which most people can do, but then I look over this “to-do” list that’s technically a “to-keep-from-writing” list and I think: there’s no discipline. I’m just afraid of getting a C on a paper. That’s it. That’s my secret. I’m still scared of making a C.

Rewards don’t really work for me. I won’t finish this script if I tell myself I can buy myself something pretty, or have a celebratory meal at Jar. I won’t get it done with the promise of a spa day or a bag of Doritos. The only thing that will get me to “Fade Out” is a deadline and someone who’s supposed to read it and tell me whether or not it’s good. And until I hear feedback, it feels like talking into a closet.


Cal, from my couch:

Paris, from the top of Tour Montparnasse:

Sorry about the neglect, I hope it means lots of projects turning into announcements in the future.

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