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Writing on a Deadline

We all know deadlines are arbitrary things to get our lazy butts in gear to produce something that other people can judge our worth by. That’s just the way life works. But that doesn’t mean we have to like it. In fact, most of the time when you should be doing this…

Studying dilligently...

…all you really want to be doing is this…

This is a real photograph of me procrastinating.

This begs the question, how does one find the motivation and stick-to-it-iveness to sit down and crank out pages? Here are some helpful tips to keep you one the right track.

Professor Meow says you need glasses to stay focused, but I don't beleive him.

First things first. Wake your ass up, and sit your ass down in front of the computer screen. Sounds like common sense, I know, but often I find under-the-gun writers doing anything but sitting down and writing. It’s no small wonder, and I’ll tell you why. Usually when you’re coming up on your deadline, your self critic steps in and tells you everything you’re writing, or thinking, or thinking about writing is shit. That’s when things start to look like this:

Not a good look.

So just tell your self critic to shut the F up, and remember that you’re a tremendous writer who can do anything once you set your mind to it. All you need is a little focus.

Next tip: Focus. Here’s what it doesn’t look like.

Don't be like this guy. Lolling about in a dreamy daze is also not a good look to be wearing when someone comes in and says, like, "Don't you have a shit ton of work due in a few hours?"

So how do we focus? Anne Lamont suggests taking things “bird by bird” and I agree with her. Just imagine that whatever you’re working on is broken up into tiny segments that we shall now call “birds.” Oh, right, you don’t have to imagine it because screenplays are broken up into neat and tidy little sections called scenes. These scenes or “birds” are all you have to focus on. One. At. A. Time.

“I’m gonna git you birds!”

Do you see what’s wrong here? This kitten is trying to go after two birds at once. At look at him, he’s totally confused and incapacitated by his indecisiveness. He doesn’t know which bird to go after first. The obvious answer is the one closest to him. For you, a writer, that means picking up the idea that is the most fleshed out in your mind; the one that will require the least amount of thought to get down on the page. Picture that scene or “bird” in your mind, sit down at your computer, and start swatting at it. Start at the beginning and don’t stop writing until you’re at the end.

Now you're on a roll.

Awesome! Once that scene is done, go straight into the next one. Don’t even think about what you’re going to write. Just do it! You’ve probably got files on this scene stored in the dark recesses of your mind that will come to the fore once you clear out all your cluttered thoughts and let your unconscious do the work.

That’s it. Two tips. That’s all you need to get yourself going. Once the ball is rolling you just need to remember to stay calm, stay awake, and stay focused on catching that bird. And once you get all of them, I highly suggest that you do this:

That's right. Rock the fuck out.

Happy writing!