These past two months I have seen a one act play go from idea to production. Yes, that’s right two months. We started with two brainstorming sessions, I then went into the class (the production is for a class project) two weeks later with a first draft. And then went in five days later with another draft. And then submitted a rehearsal draft three days after that. I’m going in next week to see how things work on their feet, and then it goes up in front of an audience.
That my friends, is fast. Which I knew full well going in, and in fact I proposed. It’s interesting, I always thought of myself as a fast writer and I still think I am. But there’s a huge difference between fast to a deadline and fast when you’re writing for yourself. The pressure of fast when there’s a group going into rehearsal is huge. And add to that, I wasn’t only working on this play during my writing time – I was adjudicating, I was acting as dramaturg on a project, I was trying to bank many podcasts and blog posts in preparation for a trip, I was in the middle of an intense Greek Literature course and a side Spanish class.
That my friends, is a lot for work for my poor brain. Which again, I knew full well was going to happen. I do it all the time. I am a rabid multi-tasker. I never do just one thing, I never focus on just one project, I like to move around. But it all circles back to that deadline. I am fascinated by how the deadline changes things. Sure, I have had deadlines before. I make them up all the time. But they were always of my own making, in my own little world. Sometimes Craig and I have to look at each other when we’re waist deep in work and say “this is not a real deadline. If this doesn’t happen the world will not end.” And sometimes we walk away from things for just that reason – there’s no reason to work yourself to death when the deadline is arbitrary. But for this particular project, the deadline was not mine and it was real and necessary.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to have participated in this project. I worked my butt off on the play and I think it’s lovely. I did not back away, I did not cheat the play in order to get it done. I did not cheat my writing process to meet the deadline.
But it was a learning experience for me in time management. And how I need to manage my brain, how the different parts don’t play nicely together. The week that I was adjudicating, I had the time during the day to write. I figured, “hey no problem. I have time. I’ll write in the morning, and prepare for my adjudication in the afternoon.” But I literally sat at the kitchen table each morning with my head in my hands totally incapacitated. Unable to make myself think. My analytical brain didn’t want to let my creative brain out to play. And that led to some rather un-productive freaking out because I wasn’t getting the work done that I needed too in the time I had. Tick Tock. Tick Tock.
Further to that, I didn’t anticipate the unexpected that life sometimes throws at you which would take a bite out of my scheduled writing time. And when the unexpected happened, that freaked me out a little too. Life does not care about deadlines – nor should it. But still…. Tick Tock.
But my friends, it’s all fine now. I met my deadline because as well as being a rabid multi-tasker I am very, very stubborn. And there was no way I wasn’t going to meet that deadline. But this was definitely one to grow on. Now I know how fast is too fast especially if I’m going to be an idiot and schedule a million other things at the same time. And please always remember and never forget, I am that kind of idiot.