The Writing Journal #20

Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees at this years Oscars ceremony. Despite all the controversies and hype in the run up to the event (celebrating cinema without cinematography – really?), I thought the show itself was solidly entertaining and worked well without a host (although, I must admit, I was still grateful that I recorded the whole thing and therefore had the luxury of the fast-forward button when required!). Of course, the highlight of the night was the wonderful Olivia Colman and that speech, which was a magnificent reflection of a magnificent woman. Such incredible talent wrapped up in a humble, warm, effortlessly funny and natural human being is everything everyone should aspire to be, and I was genuinely thrilled to see her take home the award. It would also be remiss of me, as a writer, not to specifically congratulate Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie and Peter Farrelly for their Best Original Screenplay win for Green Book; and Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee for Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman. Both have been added to my Kindle queue to be read over the next few days.

As the glitz settles for another year and the hangovers begin in Hollywood, my thoughts turn to the last week of February and the work remaining towards this month’s writing goals…

Target Number 1: Write 3 short stories

With the novel starting to wrestle back more and more of my attention, I’ve had some difficulty remembering to put aside time to write these short stories.  I think this is mostly because of the dreaded blank page effect of these first drafts, and the temptation of the more fun, luxurious route of editing (the novel has dragons, of course I’m going to be distracted!). Nonetheless, I was able to finish the story I was working on to bring the completed, first draft total up to two, and with the third and final story idea chosen, I’m confident enough that I can tear myself away from the dragons and sorcery long enough to crack out the last story before my Friday deadline.

Target Number 2: Submit funding application

Excitingly, I can declare that this is the first target to be achieved this month, one whole week before its deadline! I always get a little spooked by these applications, not least because of the number of attachments and supporting documents they need and my phobia of sending emails without stated attachments (it happens so frequently its no longer funny). But, incompetence phobias aside, I was able to cross the Ts and dot the Is last Friday and send it off into the big wide world. It’s now a case of playing the waiting game to see whether I will be fortunate enough to receive the funding I’ve asked for, but I’m happy that the proposal itself was presented well and gives me confidence if/when other funding applications like this one crop up again.

Target Number 3: Find five companies to pitch my sitcom project to.

Whilst the funding application took up the majority of my energies this past week, I wanted to give more time to the sitcom too as that particular plate was perilously close to toppling and smashing to the floor if I didn’t do so. Thankfully it’s still spinning, and I have been able to identify a couple of routes that could be worth exploring in more detail in the days and weeks ahead. Part of this involved some minor tweaks to the pitch document, including the realisation that I had missed a key character off the bio list and had to write a new one from scratch. With that now (hopefully) taken care of, I can start looking for more companies and people to include in this list in the week ahead.

I can’t quite believe that Friday marks the 1st of March (Happy St. David’s Day in advance) as it seems like February has barely happened at all. Luckily, my creative brain has not been so dumbfounded by the unseasonably warm weather and relentless march of time, and I find myself in a reasonably comfortable position with the Feb finishing line in sight. No time to take a nap beneath the trees though; there is a whole story still to write and a blank page waits for no man, so I’ll leave you to practice your speeches into your telly because, well, you never know…

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