Greetings and Happy Winter.
Organisationally, the last few weeks have been a catastrophe. I'm not entirely sure why, but I seem to have been in a jumble every single day and getting less and less done. Each morning starts with me surveying the list of things I failed to do yesterday and desperately rescheduling everything to try to keep my head above water.
This is not a systems failure (there ARE systems failures occurring, but they are a symptom, not a cause), this is a failure of motivation, I think.
Usually the back end of the year is when I get to go deep on some ideas that have been floating around over the summer, and I usually really enjoy writing new stuff as the temperature drops and the night draws in. This year, I think because of the strikes, everything seems to have gone out of whack, so I'm left mopping up writing projects that should have been done earlier in the year, and I seem to have little or no time for new things.
This is one of the reasons I haven't written a newsletter for a while.
I am starting to get a grip on things now. There are new systems in place, but they are mostly there to trick my mind into looking at things differently, because my priorities need to be realigned, and that requires seeing something other than externally imposed deadlines every time I wake the computer.
A while back, I read a piece (I don't remember where or who by, sorry) where the author was suggesting that, if you were told you only had six months to live, there would presumably be a list of things you wanted to get on and do. So why aren't you doing those things now anyway? Obviously this is a form of luxury thinking, because absent an impending death sentence, life does have some demands and requirements - professional obligations need to be met, bills need to be paid. But it occurs to me that if you ONLY service those elements, you become a joyless robot-monkey.
So I'm trying to spread out my obligations. This is made much easier in the film and television industries, where the insistence on a hard script deadline is rarely balanced by an equal enthusiasm for paying writers promptly to start work. So now, rather than facing deadlines with anxiety because I made a promise to deliver by a certain date, I am being a little more forgiving of myself and de-prioritising work that has come in from companies with a laissez-faire attitude to actually paying me; I'll start work when the cheque clears and your supposed "deadline" will move to x-weeks after said cheque clearance, no matter how "urgent" you claim the work is.
And this shift in attitude is finally creating a little wiggle-room in my schedule. So now I am making notes on some new movie ideas, finishing off a comic script that I'm really enjoying (no idea if it will turn into an actual comic yet), planning the third season of Aldrich Kemp, and turning my attention back to the newsletters.
For those interested, and because I teased it, here are the systems currently being employed:
ROUTINE - I think I wrote about this app a while back. It's still in its early stages, but it's a neat, frictionless way to timetable tasks and projects. Right now, I like that it only really lets you work on the week ahead, which allows me to be a bit more deliberate about what I plan to get done. Usually I like a little more automation, but the idea of not being locked into a schedule weeks in advance is appealing in the current circumstances.
OBSIDIAN - I'm back in Obsidian, again, because I love the flow of it for journaling and making notes, I love how it connects everything up, and I love the ease of the whole thing. Ultimately, I think Tana will replace this for me but, absent offline mode and a useful mobile app (Tana Capture is great, but it's only for inputting), I can't commit to that yet.
EVERNOTE - This is a controversial choice, I realise. But I was looking for something that could store research material easily, was cross-platform, and worked offline. And there is NOTHING GOOD that does that, or at least nothing that does it as well and with as much fluidity as Evernote. This app has been around forever. It's over-priced and under-developed (it seems woefully oblivious to the world it exists within), and a big part of me absolutely hates it, but it does what it does better than anything else out there and so I am making peace with using it.
A couple of housekeeping issues:
- It has been noted that the first season of the Lovecraft Investigations has disappeared from BBC Sounds, Podcasts, Spotify etc. This is because the BBC's five-year license for the show has expired. We are currently in the process of fixing this, and hope to have Season 1 available again soon.
- On a related note, we are also exploring the idea of creating a DELUXE CD BOX SET of the first three seasons. This would ideally be a limited edition release, with a whole bunch of supplementary material; pictures, maps, family trees etc. We're costing it all out at the moment. Watch this space.
And now for the links:
That's your lot. If I don't write again before the holidays, have a good one - try to get some time to yourself and just let the world go. Getting lost in a good book is never a bad idea. Right now, I'm in the midst of Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, and it is doing me the world of good.
Fuck it. Send.