Page Count: What is NORMAL?!
For whatever reason, I have never been able to do first drafts of things, break up projects into mini goals or turn in things that I’m not proud of. Boohoo, you say? So, you can only do the best you are capable of, all in one sitting? So, what?! I’ll tell you “so, what!”
This unusual combination of weirdness has lead to:
- Chronic procrastination (like chronic masturbation, but more stressful) due to a fear of starting a project, knowing that I will have to finish it, marathon-style.
- Staying up for unhealthy amounts of time (sometimes 70+ hours, but most of the time it was 50-60) due to my need to keep working until the project was done/perfected. Incidentally, I have tried every major brand of energy drink, in the largest sizes available.
- Losing letter grades/getting zeroes on projects, because I was too embarrassed of my work to turn it in.
- Taking drugs for the first time. O_O Okay, this one sounds a little scarier than it was. I had been awake for 70+ hours writing a paper and creating a presentation for a group project (yeah, it was one of those where I did everything). I was dog tired when it came time to go to class, and I had to give the presentation, as I was the only one who knew what the hell was going on, so… I took a partner’s Adderall. I don’t encourage anyone to take Adderall recreationally, but it was like I had just slept for 12 hours and woken up for the first time! (BTW, Adderall use seems too common for kids born past 1989. Or maybe, I’m just old and unhip.)
- Failing a pass/fail class, because I slept through finals day (the final entailed standing in front of the class and talking about ANYTHING for 5 minutes). I had been sleeping every other day for a month. It caught up to me.
- Losing a cush job summarizing academic texts for $10/hr. Could have/should have just summarized the resources as simply as humanly possible for non-native English speaking computer science professors. Didn’t. Lost ma job.
What’s the point of all of this? Well, screenwriting is not a paper. It’s not a project to be pumped out in one long marathon of insanity. As far as I can tell, it’s impossible to treat it that way. But those compulsions… They’re still there. Every time I stop writing, I feel guilty for not going over what I’ve done a million times, and I feel guilty for only pumping out 6 or 7 pages, even though I have plenty of time to keep working. I just don’t know what’s normal. I guess it might get easier to produce as time goes by, or maybe I’ll just get used to my low page counts. Either way, it’s a stage I was bound to go through, having been forged in the writing fires of academix (<- mistype, but I like it. o_o) rather than the artz.
For the First Time Ever! My Sad Attempt @ Art:
“The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any.” – Russell Baker