The hardest thing for me, I think, is how to handle the time between.
And the time I mean, is this: that inbetween time that happens while you are waiting for things to catch up to where you are emotionally or intellectually. You might have a vacation planned or reunion, a wedding or what have you – could even be a book tour or signing, or if you are famous perhaps an awards event or a movie premier. In any case, an event has been planned and penciled in and, there is a chunk of time that needs to pass before said event arrives or takes place.
The ones that really get to me though are those that require the response or information from another person to provide details or to nail down specifics, and so the limbo you are left in waiting for that response can be somewhat annoying or frustrating. It’s not the other person’s fault – they have things going on you have no idea about, things they are waiting on, responses from their own contacts that are preventing them from moving forward, and so on and so on and so on… I wonder if that backlog of time were to have an actual physical representation, what would it look like? Would it stagger us all with its immensity? Cow or dwarf us with its size and mass? Expectations can be monsters and they are the dragons we need to fight against.
Of course, I’m sure there are a lot of answers to this question – or things I could do to fill the time, the most common answer that might be given to me would be “just don’t think about it.”
And yet, we are also told “strike while the iron is hot” – because in a creative atmosphere, time is of the essence. If you let things sit too long or set them aside, they grow stale or whither. And by the time you get the response or information you need – the moment has passed and you are disconnected.
The older I get the less tolerant I am about wasted time, and I guess this is what this post is about – the expectation of wasted time.
I’m not sure it’s something you can introduce into a classroom situation, either in high school or college, something that teaches you how to manage your expectations – not time management per se, but the voice or sense in your head that tells you that nothing is happening or things aren’t happening fast enough. How do you manage to still your mind when you are ready and eager to get started, but the guy at the gate won’t fire the starting gun?
I think that’s the real reason I left LA in the early nineties, and why I would’ve been unhappy had I stayed.
When I was doing theater in school, there was a sense of immediacy. You were performing and getting feedback almost simultaneously. In LA, with TV or film, the feedback lop – that sense of yes, let’s move forward – is generally delayed by months if not years. A film may shoot in 2006, but not see the light of day until 2008. A TV pilot you filmed in May, may not hit the air until September, or ever. I want to make it clear, I’m not complaining about how the medium works, I understand that process – editing and processing of film takes time and is as important as the time before the camera, if not more so. And the delay is necessary in order to deliver a polished, finished product.
It’s the time between knowing something will start and actually beginning something that I’m complaining about – and I’m really just complaining about my process of how to handle that, because look, here I am writing a post about it, wasting time and words describing the very thing I should be working through rather than actually working through it.
I should be adding chapters to my latest story, or plugging in scenes to a script, right? Instead my mind is fretting over ‘when will the call come, I know it will but what’s the hold up?’
Go outside, some will say. Go to the gym, work off some of that frustration – but then that seems like wasted time too – time that could have been spent creating rather than just ‘passing’ it.
Ah, well. Perhaps one day I’ll figure it out. I’ve spent too much time blabbing about it here. Time to knuckle down and put words on the page rather than fretting about something I don’t have any control over.
Ok, writer. Write.