There's that old saying..."an uncluttered desk is an uncluttered mind"...or something like that. It must be true because last night I stayed up late sorting through the pyramids of paper on my desk and serving bar (that's where the mail and all the extra stuff I pull out of my purse and work bag lands), sorting and tossing accordingly, and whaddaya know, at 4:15 AM (sipping my morning coffee after four hours of sleep), a lightbulb finally illuminated the maze I've been stumbling through for months as I've tried to figure out which direction my screenplay was headed. After dozens of false starts and confusing leads, it has finally clicked. Yeah, I know I've said it before, but I really believe it this time! It's like I'm standing above the maze looking down, finally seeing the path I have to take, thinking "I can't believe you couldn't figure your way out of this before!"
It's not a moment too soon, either. The sand in my screenwriting hourglass is getting dangerously low. I've come up with a new strategy to give me more quality time for writing - work more hours Monday through Thursday (at WORK, that is) so I have at least one big chunk of day home alone to focus on the screenplay. It's so hard to sit down at the computer each morning and start settling in with the story again, only to run out of time just when I'm getting comfy. It takes a while for me to step in and wrap my head around the story and the characters, see where I've been and remember where I was headed. I never make much progress - many days I end up just erasing what was done the day before.
Tom thinks I just try to do too much every day - specifically he thinks I should just quit blogging and checking Facebook or email. (Funny, he never says anything about laundry or grocery shopping or feeding the dogs or paying bills...To his credit, he helps me out with all of those and half of the cooking, too...)
I figure it would only save me about...hmmm, an hour a day, sometimes two, if I ignored my social media addiction. Still not enough - especially since that hour is spread out into fifteen minutes increments throughout the day. Just filler time. And what he doesn't realize is that my mind is much like my desk - crap piles up and I have to sort through it, get organized, before I can focus on writing.
Of course, what it boils down to is I don't want to give them up. For years when the kids were small, I didn't have time for friends or writing the way I do now. My screenplay and my class are VERY important to me, but so are my friends, my extended family (I'm in better touch with them now, too), my 'journaling' and photography. If you've seen that email about the professor lecturing the students about priorities - "put the big rocks in the jar first (family, etc.) because if you fill it up with the small stuff, you won't have any room left" - imagine that some of my big rocks have gotten smaller, making room for these other big, pretty rocks I've rediscovered.
Two other big rocks I'm hanging onto are my morning work-outs and my prayer walk with the dogs and Frankie - you gotta take care of yourself, physically, mentally, and spiritually. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.
I have reluctantly let some things go from my routine to make way for more writing time. I gave up reading for fun ages ago, settling for boxes of books and dreams of warm afternoons, lying in the hammock on the front porch, lost in the pages of one someday. And my drums...well, I won't even claim to dust them off much anymore, much less play them.
Recently, I resorted to watching the silly episode recaps of "Lost" on Facebook - they're annoying, but faster than watching the whole episode on the computer (I discovered the timer on our DVR doesn't work and no one is home to start it recording.) I've totally given up on "The Office" and "Desperate Housewives" (unless I time the laundry just right to fold during that time.) I'll just catch up on those this summer.
So as difficult as it will be, and at the risk of annoying Tom, I'm determined to write this screenplay and STILL (sort of) keep up with this blog and my friends' lives on Facebook. I'm going to spend this coming weekend celebrating my birthday (again) with dozens of friends - some I haven't seen in twenty years or so. I'm going to keep working out and walking the dogs and putting in more hours at my job and avoiding late charges on our bills and emailing friends and commenting on Facebook. I probably won't post any new pictures - well, maybe new ones, but not old ones that I have to scan in first. I'm going to watch movies and read for my class. I'm going to spend time with Kendall, watch all of her soccer games, gather old photos for the senior power point presentation for her graduation (and probably cry over them.) And somehow I'm going to find time to sleep. I can do it!
"Never give up! Never surrender!" (from "Galaxy Quest" - great movie!)