As I do, I set for myself a lot of deadlines. Right now in my life, I have no one else setting them for me, and work much better when I am working towards a deadline. If my attitude towards the work is it will get done when its done, it will probably never get done. Lots of people do this. Lots of people I suppose don’t do this. Deadlines schmedlines, right?
But. I’ve missed one. One I was really hoping to make. I’m trying to get a new original pilot done. It’s that time again here in Los Angeles. Time to write a new script (though, I should always be writing) in order to get work. It’s an old idea that I’m working on, something that I’m trying to refreshen. Basically, I wanted to have a new draft by July 31st. As you notice… it’s past due.
Now, I have a fantastic excuse. Life. I had a baby. (Ok, my wife did the really hard part.) And I KNEW this baby was coming… I went to almost every doctor’s appointment. So, I knew the deadline and the arrival were happening at the same time. Yet… I was still hoping to make it. I NEEDED to make it. I needed to get this script done because who knows when I’ll be able to write again, be able to focus on anything else besides my adorable son. (And he is really adorable. Suck it.)
That said: I feel horrible. I feel paralyzed. I don’t even want to write this blog about missing the deadline. And it was just a deadline. But it was a deadline. Why have deadlines if you’re not going to follow them?
I was distracted and unsatisfied with the work I was doing leading up to the deadline… and to be honest, it was an unrealistic deadline… which, of course, is a big bag of duh to anyone else but me. I have a tendency to set the bar high on how much I can accomplish in any given amount of time–I mean, really, why not set the bar high? Why not push yourself?
And then you fall down. Ok. Not you. Me. I realize I’m being silly. I realize I’m being hard on myself. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Art takes time. (I know, I’m writing TV, but, at the moment, let’s call it art.)
This is why I need deadlines (I just got a new one, I need to finish this blog in five minutes so I can go wash my kid), self imposed deadlines give me shape to the day, to the week, to the month, and so on. Until some exterior force gives me on, I have to do it myself. And when I let myself down, things spin a little out of control, I lose my footing and it takes me time to get back into the swing of things. Which of course, is life. But, I get so caught up in trying to move my writing career forward I push to hard, I throw myself to the ground. And it feels awful.
Time to learn how to set FLEXIBLE deadlines. Maybe next week.