Woman In The Dunes, Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1963

Okay, so Life in Quarantine has taught me a few things about my writing habits: I recently completed a draft of a screenplay that I started back in March. At the time I’d been feeling optimistic: I needed a new project to occupy my writer-brain while I let it cool down from the the most recent re-write of my novel manuscript.

I’d been ruminating on how to get back into screenwriting when a friend introduced me to a friend who was looking for a writing partner and who had done a first pass on a script about a boys beauty pageant and was looking for someone to collaborate with on a re-write. This sounded perfectly up my alley, so I jumped on board.

At the time, I figured I’d be done in a month- six weeks tops, you know, with revisions and all. Eight weeks later, here I am just finishing the first complete pass. Le sigh. I suppose this is to be expected: even for someone like me for whom quarantine is just about a perfect storm of ideal living conditions (work from home, ample time to exercise and get fresh air, freedom to set my own schedule, no pressure to socialize, nothing to miss out on) I’m still carrying a heavier allostatic load than usual. (“Wear and tear on the body which accumulates when an individual is exposed to repeated or chronic stress). For me, this results in variable energy levels from day to day, difficulty concentrating, headaches, and low motivation/concentration.

So, really it’s no surprise it took me so long to finish, and I feel really proud of myself just for getting it done. The draft is… not perfect. It’s not bad, but it still needs a lot of work and I’m already giving some thought to how I want to go about reworking it. But for today, I’m giving myself a break and just enjoying the fact I got it done.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 21, 2020.

3 Responses to “Fin”

  1. I suppose you are used to writing these things, so, like running, it’s more like casual exercise for you than it would be for me. I would not likely be able to ensure finishing in 8 weeks…unless that was my normal success rate.

    I have been lagging on my writing projects. I thought I could finish one book per year, but #6 dragged a bit longer and #7 is coming along like a SUV spinning its tires in wet mud. I might peck away at a page or two and not get more written until weeks later.

    And, you mention something about built-up stress. Are you saying your body is suffering somehow from stress that isn’t the usual at-work or social variety? Like stress from thinking about things too much and sitting versus being in motion or upright? …Cuz I’ve been noticing stress amassing in my legs which has lead to some concerning pains and swelling.

    • First of all, I like how you consider “lagging in [your] projects” to be taking-longer-than-a-year-to-write-a-book. In these times? That’s amazing! Keep pecking away even if it doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere: it’s not a race.

      I definitely suffer from built up stress: in previous times it came from trying to keep up my energy from being around people all the time. Now it comes more from trying to function in a world where everyone is constantly buzzing with low level anxiety about contagion, politics, and the chance of sickness and death. I don’t have to be on fire myself to be able to feel the heat these days. You’re very astute to notice it in your legs- I keep it in my shoulders and chest. Running helps loosen it up.

      • It IS a race. I am so tired of hearing about authors putting out books at least once per year. And, well, any time someone finishes writing a book and gets it published, I feel slow. And…I don’t know how much longer this life will last. And, I really don’t like the idea of repeating this life, if deja vu means anything. I feel like I need to be making smarter decisions and/or sucking IT up and doing things that go against my moral code just to meet some status quo and give up my moral quest.

        In short, I’d reeeeeally love to have an assistant (writer).

        Are you trying to keep up energy to compete with/match others? Or, are they pushing you to stay charged, and thus you feel exhausted and fighting to keep going?

        LOW level anxiety? For me, the virus concerns have increased my already high anxiety. And, if I have to go anywhere outside the house, like the grocery store, it gets bumped up a level to “I’m risking my life, now; no telling how safe these places really are, no matter what the news and all the cleaning protocols say.” Heck, just eating fast food concerns me.

        Don’t get me started on the mindless madness of politics going nowhere. THAT is one issue that seems futile to debate. It just goes in circles til people wise up and do something right for everyone.

        I have been known to be astute, now and then. 😛 I am sure, around you, I’d notice things and point out where I detect stress and such in you.

        I wish I COULD run more…but I feel safer walking fast.

        My right shoulder is giving me some trouble, as is my right knee, right now. But, I am not sure how much is stress, BP and/or something else, like a possible muscle tear or splinter of bone. I keep doing stretch and loosening exercises, but the pains linger.

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