Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Do you work on one project at a time, or several?

I've been asked this question a lot over the last few years and the answer has changed a little in recent months. I think it's important to keep the ball rolling with regards to your career but I also think it's important to focus on a single project when you need to.

Most of the time I have several projects on the go at once, all at different stages so I'm not trying to write four first draft screenplays at the same time. Currently I'm finishing the first draft of a spec feature thriller ELEVEN, developing two outlines - one for a comedy horror feature I BELIEVE IN MONSTERS and the other for a TV mini series THE DEAD LIST - fleshing out characters for another feature thriller THE CHAIR, developing one page pitches for episodes of a proposed TV crime drama, polishing one page pitches of my own TV drama ideas, as well as constantly keeping in touch with my many friends and colleagues in the industry.

Now if I actually worked on all of those projects every day I would make very little progress on each one. Lately I have found that to be the case as I've flitting from one project to another almost on a hourly basis. Focus was needed. With that in mind today I'll mostly be concentrating on the outline for I BELIEVE IN MONSTERS so that my co-writer and I can begin the first draft of the script as soon as possible. I'm also aware I haven't written a pilot TV episode for quite a while and I'm aiming to focus on one once the Monsters outline out of the way.

To do this I intend to allocate three quarters of my day to focusing on Monsters and the other quarter on a couple of other projects, making as much progress as I can on all three. When one project becomes more urgent than the others I'll adjust my main focus to it, even if that means putting all other projects on hold so I can focus on just the one project. This is especially important when a commission comes in.

Basically what I'm trying to say is don't give yourself too much to do otherwise you'll stretch yourself too thinly, you'll lose focus on projects and they'll suffer because of it. They'll be weak, diluted and lacking the finer details that make great projects stand out. It's always difficult to flit from one idea to the next, spending such a short amount of time on each one. It's far better to pick two or three and focus on them for a few days, then focus on another two or three for the following few days. That way you'll make serious progress on all your projects without their intensity suffering as a result.

For those of you thinking the amount of work above is far too much, think again. It's no good spending six months on one project only for it to go nowhere. All professional writers juggle several projects at any one time. If you want to get ahead in the writing business then you have to be continually coming up with new ideas.

Happy writing.

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