Some days, I’m just not in the mood

It’s been a bit of a waste of a day really.

No, that’s not fair; I have achieved some things, just nothing I set out to do.

I’d put aside today for sketch writing for The Treason Show and NewsRevue. As is usual when I’ve got a whole day to do something, I spend the morning fannying around. I got up at a reasonable time, had a leisurely breakfast and settled down to work.

An hour later I’m still idly browsing the net. On Danny Stack’s blog I saw the BBC Writer’s Academy is recruiting again. I’ve applied for it the last two years in a row, I might as well have another go.

And there was the whole morning gone.

I don’t know why application forms take me so long, but I suspect it’s fear of not reading it properly. I have this weird thing where I don’t pay attention to the first few bits of information. It doesn’t matter how the information is transmitted, I just completely miss it. I never listen to the first three words of any sentence. I start reading newspaper articles at the third paragraph and I skip the first four or five pages of a book (usually quotes, dedications and other crap).

Quite frequently I find myself listening to people, desperately hoping they’ll repeat the subject of their twenty minute monologue, because I haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about. At school this foible always led me to miss out the bit on exams that said: only answer three questions.

There’s probably a special name for this lapse in attention, I call it fucking annoying.

Whatever the deep seated psychological reasons for this, I try to pay particular attention to work related stuff – just in case I’m missing something. So that was my whole morning; but it’s done now. Off into the ether and awaiting a rejection for the third year running.

Right, sketch writing.

Oh, hang on, there are a couple of jobs to apply for. One of which, a feature film thing, almost instantly leads to a flurry of emails and a meeting scheduled for Saturday night. Do I know any good pubs in Eastbourne?

Erm, no. I don’t drink, my wife’s generally away from home on the weekends and my local friends follow the formula: married + mortgage + small kids  = no money = no time =  no pubs. It’s all sorted now, we’ll see how it goes on Saturday night.

Now I can settle down to … no, hang on, it’s lunch time.

Food, drink, a bit of light reading.

Bugger, I fell asleep and it’s now mid afternoon.

Right! Work! Read the news, make fun of it. Easy.

Except, there doesn’t seem to be anything funny going on in the world right now. At least nothing I can be bothered to take the piss out of. I spent the rest of the day going through all the online newspapers before deciding to give up and have a bath.

It’s just one of those days, I can’t really be arsed. Best just to wipe my hands of it and try again tomorrow.

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Categories: Progress, Sad Bastard, Two steps back | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Some days, I’m just not in the mood

  1. Gordon Robertson

    I hate those days when you have nothing lined up and it’s completely free to be spent writing. Because it invariably gets spent doing something else (less boring) instead.

    Oops. Just showed my age there.

    The best times to write are when you’ve only got about three and a half nano-seconds to cram in a short script, the rewrite of a feature, and sixty four topical news sketches.

    Take yesterday for example (as a counterpoint to your own day, Phill).

    Yes, I had to go into work and pretend to tap away at something unambiguously boring between the hours of 9 and 5. But I also had to come up with full back-story histories for two characters in a new short script, re-jig a dozen scenes from a feature which could be shot on the cheap and transformed into a trailer, and think up topical news sketches for The Treason Show, Newsrevue, and Watson’s Wind-Up. Oh, and I’d promised myself, when I got home, to listen to the ‘Best Of The Treason Show’ CD which the very kind director had sent to me gratis.

    In between all that, of course, I had to go through the kids’ homework, do the dishes, help my wife out with some stuff (she’s pregnant, so plays up the helplessness angle something rotten), and watch 2 episodes of ‘Corrie’. And before anyone starts slagging me off, we all have our guilty little secrets, and I only watch about 5 hours (max) of telly a week. That’s well under an hour a day, fact-fans.

    But how to fit all this activity in? Well, it helps if you work super-fast at the work you’re paid to do in the morning, and then ditch it completely in the afternoon and concentrate on your own stuff. This is done by shamelessly pretending to write reports whilst moving between PC and laptop (I have both on my desk) and looking busy.

    Come five o’clock – actually, ten to; I always leave early – I had the backstories done, the feature scenes re-jigged, and a handful of notes for comedy sketches later. So far, so good. Unfortunately, my evening was a bit busier than I thought (although I did manage to squeeze in the Treason Show CD – just over an hour of occasionally brillant comedy; Phill’s ‘Blair & God’ receiving the best reception of all), so I didn’t get to the laptop till half past eleven. An hour and a half later I had 6 sketches for Watson’s Wind-Up and 5 for the Treason Show/Newsrevue. I was knackered – I still am – but I’d managed to get it all done. Had I had a full day to do all that, I’d probably have managed about half a sketch and 400 games of Solitaire and Minesweeper.

    Under pressure is good. Just ask Freddie Mercury.

  2. I’ve always found panic to be the best motivator. One of the questions on the BBC Writers Academy is:

    “Tell us about a time when you worked under pressue and to a tight deadline.”

    Erm, all the time. No one ever seems to say: ” Take your time and just write whatever you feel like.”

    By the way, Gordon, I didn’t write that ‘Blair & God’ sketch. That’ll be some of The Treason Show’s creative record keeping.

  3. Gordon Robertson

    Ah. Yes, I noticed the odd typo here and there. As in, 27 items in the track listing, and only 26 on the CD.

    ‘Defending The Faith’ was very funny too, by the way. And I know for a fact that that was one of yours (because you sent me it).

    The play went well last night, by the way. They want to give it a proper run in the autumn.

  4. Yeah, I noticed the odd number of name. I just assumed one sketch had two authors.

    I’d forgotten about the play, great news! How long’s a proper run?

  5. Gordon Robertson

    A week-long run would be great, Phill, but I honestly have no idea as to what the norm is. They want to pair it with another play that compliments it, and asked if I had any ideas, so I’ve sent them ‘Martyr Harry’, a script I’d sent you in the past about a guy talking to camera about how he killed his wife on his 30th wedding anniversary.

    If it all pans out I’ll come down and we can maybe spend the night together (oo-err, missus). Be good to meet up after all this time.

  6. I’m busy that day.

  7. Ha, you love it.

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