Blog Entry #3

Decorators block should be a recognised medical condition.

A blog about writing. A blog about mental health (sort of).

GET IN!!!! I am posting for the second week in a row. I am celebrating that fact.

GET IN!!!! *punches air in some sort of unnecessary over-the-top fashion*

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first; my mental health has been generally better, more stable, and I’m having a particularly good week. I’m a touch more focused, relaxed and generally pretty chilled (at least for the last two days). It’s always a good sign when I find myself laughing at my own jokes or daft little things at work. At one point this week I spent the best part of five minutes trying to convince my colleague to grow a moustache, I also chuckled uncontrollably when the person next to me was asked if another person was joining the meeting and their response was “he’s eating a sausage”. Innuendo bingo at its best.

I’m excited because on Saturday I do my first ever writing course (thanks to Scriptwriting North). I’m not nervous, well, ok, maybe I’m slightly nervous but in an expected way. It’s a healthy combination of nerves and excitement; a feeling I’ve not had about doing a course since I did a dj’ing course some six or seven years ago. I can’t wait to be in the room and just have a chance to speak to other people who have decided to set off on a similar journey, but we’ve all probably got different goals as well as reasons for doing it. I love having a natter about stuff like that and just chatting shit. I’m also looking forward to learning different techniques, not just for the formal layout but more about how to create ideas, how to get your brain in the right mindset and how to take those ideas from the strangest little thought and run with them until they become a fully-fledged creation. What I love about writing, especially when I write with a mate, is creating this world that you can get lost in, but especially getting lost in the characters you create. It’s an amazing feeling, but weird at the same time, when you can create and develop a character to a point that they seem “real”. We’ve created characters for scripts we’ve written in the past and those characters are still with me now. It’s easy to envisage them reading this blog and know exactly how they’d react, but they’re just figments of my/our imaginations, our creations.

A script we developed was about the world of the pub quiz but reimagined in a universe where the pub quiz has become a professional sport including TV coverage. The teams are on the verge of becoming celebrities, like darts players. The idea was to tell the story as a mockumentary with the documentarian being a retired teacher who lost patience when teaching kids who just wanted to know “bullet point facts for quizzes”. To give the dialogue a genuine and natural feeling we videoed ourselves improvising all the scenes to which I would then take the best dialogue and form a coherent, cut-down scene. I still think it’s the best thing I’ve written so far, it’s got the best pace and the most natural flow with scenes not feeling too long and often being framed so that we join characters in the middle of doing “something” and finishing with the punchline/gag. It’s the characters that really bring it to life, particularly the man who is on a downward spiral in terms of his pub quiz career. There are so many little nuances to his behaviour and the delivery of his dialogue, all countered by the subtle reactions of the documentarian. That character is so well known to me (and my mate) that we still comment about how he would react, things he would hate or be utterly confused by. His reactions still make us laugh!! Now think about it; that’s a character that we just dreamt up one sunny afternoon in his city centre flat whilst slowly drinking a few cans of beer and badly trying to barbeque meat on his very small balcony. I can’t wait to share that with other people on the course too and find out how they come up with ideas and characters.

On a non-writing related note, I put some coving up for the first time this week. I’ll be honest, I regretted ever starting it and it ended up taking me the best part of two days. It’s only on two walls too, seriously. I’m sure it really should only have taken about two hours and definitely shouldn’t have required two trips to B&Q. However, after absolutely slating the standard of my work, when I had a look at it with fresh eyes a day later I decided I’ve done an “alright” job. It’s not amazing, I wouldn’t win any awards from Tommy Walsh (apologies for the dated reference but I can’t think of any DIY people who are still on TV) but I’m pleased with it as a first effort. Anyway, the point is that I was telling a mate about it and, at the time, advising to never try and put coving up. He said he was currently trying to redecorate a bedroom. He was really pleased because he managed to strip all the old wallpaper off in less than a day, had got the walls all washed down, prepped and had even purchased the required paint. His problem was that was all done three weeks ago, and he’d since developed “decorators block”. That’s amazing, what a description. I’m going to start using it myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed or lacking motivation to do the decorating. Not as an excuse, no, the complete opposite. I’m going to use it because it made me laugh so much and it will keep making me laugh so I will snap out of whatever is stopping me. It was just such a lovely, innocent way of describing his own laziness. I loved it.

In terms of writing, well, I’ll be honest, I’ve not done anything this week. Between decorating and getting back to full strength at work I decided not to overload myself too much. I’ve got my course on Saturday so keeping myself excited in anticipation seems more important, keeping myself energised rather than burning out and then not getting the most out of the course. I’m not very good at that, I usually keep going and going to a point where I just crash so this time I’m trying to pay a bit more attention to my battery level.

And, finally……

I’ve had a piece of writing published in a book called “Boom” from the Tomkins Times website.

GET IN!!!!

I’ve mentioned before that I have written some articles for a football website, well one of those articles made it into an actual printed book. Getting on the website is great, but it’s also a very collaborative type of site that encourages people to contribute to its content, whereas having the editor and team from the site then select my piece to make it into the book feels that extra bit special. What’s also great is that a mate of mine also had an article selected so it’s doubly good news. The book itself is currently on my bedside table so that each day I get reminded of the fact something I’ve written is in a book that’s “available to buy from all good retailers”.

Can’t wait to post next week about my course.

Thanks for reading x

My Life, Less Ordinary


What have I done this week?

  • Started to practice more ‘visualisation’ techniques. They really help.
  • Contacted two people on Twitter about writing and had responses.
  • Received my copy of a book in which my article is published.
  • Managed my way through some difficult times mentally whilst doing the decorating (just about…).
  • Felt a bit more like myself.
  • Shared my blog with a couple more people.

What will I be doing next week?

  • Picking up ‘Your Writing Coach’ by Jurgen Wolff again (didn’t do this enough last week).
  • Working on a football article with a friend (we got delayed).
  • Go on the “1 day Introduction to Screenwriting” course.
  • Find some new podcasts to try out.
  • A spot more decorating.

What is currently hindering me?

  • I’ve not really set myself a routine for when I’m going to write.
  • Time needed to do other things.
  • Still not getting enough exercise.
  • Stretching myself a bit too thin.

This weeks’ uplifting songs for when it all seems a bit too much.

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