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Deadlines: A love/hate relationship

A love/hate relationship. What does that even mean? You hate the fact that you love them? Well, if that is indeed the case, then I have a love/hate relationship with deadlines.  I hate them because they ruin beautiful, peaceful walks in the park with my girlfriend, because they stress me out and I can’t sleep, because I leave everything to the last minute and the pressure of a looming deadline hangs too heavy. But then, I also love them because they are the only reason I ever get anything done. Without deadlines I would only ever go on beautiful, peaceful walks in the park with my girlfriend. Which of course doesn’t sound too bad, except that I haven’t yet found a way to get paid for this and so, without the dreaded deadline, my girlfriend – also a writer – and I would probably find ourselves on an eternal walk in the park, with a little red and white polka dot sheet tied onto the end of a stick.

As a writer, I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve never suffered from the dark beast whose name you should never even whisper…writers block. I’ve even sometimes questioned whether it really even exists. For if I sit down, I write. I just do it. Normally, I’ve been putting it off for so long that the words I’ve been carrying around in my head just kind of fall out. However, what I, and a lot of writers I know, suffer from is a serious lack of motivation. I’m terrible. I hate sitting down to write and rely way too much on inspiration. Sometimes I’ll be struck by a seemingly celestial flash of inspiration at 5am, jumping up from my pit with an idea for a film or a poem. Sometimes I’ll be repeating fresh lines in the shower or swimming pool and rush out to find paper or laptop to scribble them down. But alas, this inspiration comes all too infrequently for me to live off and so it is imperative that I occasionally sit down with the purpose of writing. This is when it all goes horribly wrong. It’s not writers block, I can write, it’s just that I really don’t want to. It’s what my wonderful old Nan calls a “dose of the CBBs”, the “can’t be bothereds”.

At this point, I will do absolutely anything I can to not do what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ll watch TV, read about football on the Internet, lose hours to Facebook and Twitter. I even occasionally do the washing up because, at these moments, everything, anything, even the washing up, is better than sitting down and writing. The one thing I love almost more than anything else in this world becomes a chore, it appears way too much like hard work and so… I simply don’t do it. Like I said, it gets so bad I’d rather do the washing up or the ironing. Well, no, lets not over exaggerate, not the ironing, but I’m more than happy to clean the bathroom, and taking out the recycling almost excites me. Or like right now, when I ignore everything at the top of my to do list in favour of the things half way down, including this: write a blog about how I’m not writing the play I should be writing this very second – genius.  That, my friends, is procrastination in it’s purest form.

So here I am, at 1.30am, with a week to go until the next scratch performance of my one man play ‘One Lump or Two’, with a script like a frozen pizza – soggy in the middle – and instead of honing the script or practicing my “acting”, I’m doing anything I can to not do them. But please don’t let that stop you from coming down to the Vibe Gallery in Bermondsey at 7.30pm on Tuesday 23rd April (shameless plug!). For I thrive on the stress and pressure of a looming deadline and so it will be ready. I probably won’t have slept a wink in the 48 hours previous, but the play will be ready, I promise.  Now, how about that ironing…

Check out more from Anthony HERE

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