I’ve often tried to use this blog to inspire people. To work through my problems and anxieties in a way that helps you think about your own lives. To reveal my sources of inspiration, with the hope that some of them might benefit you.
But sometimes, the best thing I can do for my beloved readers is to let you laugh at my pain. Share an unfortunate situation, and hopefully cheer you up as you remember that it’s not happening to you.
I like writing as much as the next guy, provided that the next guy is an avid writer. I’ve been focusing all of my efforts towards a career as a writer, and taking as many classes as I can to improve my craft. And I think it’s a worthy endeavor. But the problem with worthy endeavors is that sometimes they backfire.
For example, after my first week of classes this semester, I became aware that I have to write 600 pages worth of scripts in the next three months.
I should backtrack. I’m taking multiple playwriting and screenwriting classes, while most people only take one per semester. And that’s in addition to being involved with projects in student-run television and theatre companies. Each of my classes require that I write multiple drafts of a 90 page script. When you add up all of the drafts and due dates, that comes to over 600 pages, which seemed like more than any human being could do while remaining sane.
I don’t know how I get myself into these situations, but I certainly know how I’m getting out of it: writing. A lot. I’ve basically come to the conclusion that any second not spent writing during the next three months is completely wasted, because I don’t have time to spare.
But once I caught my breath after seeing those three digits, I’ve become excited about the challenge. I’m going to embrace the opportunity to get better, and put a serious dent in my quest to write one million words, Stephen King’s equivalent of Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule. It’ll force me to be more disciplined about writing than I ever have before, and should force me to reevaluate my process in new ways.
Sometimes, steady and everyday improvement isn’t enough. You need a massive shock to your system to prevent yourself from plateauing. An extreme set of circumstances could be the environment that manufactures real progress. When you come across a situation like mine, turning it into an opportunity is often the best course of action.