Strategies for 2011

While looking back and taking stock, I realised something. 2010 may be my worst year in terms of productivity. And the best in terms of networking.

What is the essence of my writing experiences in the last one year? Biggest enemy of truth is broad generalisations. Still the gist of what I learnt from last year is as follows.

-In the initial part of your writing career, you should concentrate more on writing than on networking. Because even if you make some breakthroughs in terms of networking, if you cant back it up with adequate numberof alternate ideas or well developed treatments to your outlines, you may kill your contact. Once you burn a contact because you were not adequately prepared, even if you go back to that person with a better idea, things may not work out because first impression is the best impression. So don’t rush to present your ideas to valuable contacts. First take your time and develop it well. As some one said, the advantage a first time writer has is that of time available to develop the script to the next level. In the mean time, you should network. But it should be more about relationship building than about pitching.

So in light of certain experiences, I have decided that in the first 6 months of 2011, I would not be actively trying to pitch my ideas. I would still be doing networking in the sense of trying to get to know other people related to the industry. I have also decided that in 2011, I would be developing at least 5 treatments in the rate of one in two months (and 2 months as security). I hope that the target is sensible as usually developing a treatment should not take more than 3-4 weeks. Still I kept it at 2 months because of the possible overlap with other writing projects and day job related tasks that I will be involved in. Also I am planning to write a single draft of two scripts by investing 3-4 hours per week on them. Hopefully I should be able to meet these targets along with some exciting co-writing gigs I am involved in right now.

Banning internet for the sake of writing is an easy decision (but a difficult one to follow). The tricky thing is trying to utilise the opportunities that social networking sites offer to a writer. But even more difficult thing is to maintaining the productivity and asceticism of a writer while dabbling in social platforms. I have tried many formulas and permutations. Some of them didn’t work, some did but created different kinds of problems. My usual problem is that my plans become a little over elaborate that I get lost in a maze of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts.’ For something to really work, it should have a certain flexibility about it to encompass the different kind of situations that you will face the whole year. At the same time, you have to challenge yourself to push further. Otherwise there is no growth. So this year, I am trying to keep it simple. I have decided that I will access net a particular day only if I can complete 2.5 hours of writing (including outlining, story discussions etc) first. If I am not able to complete 2.5 hours at the end of the day, I can access my mail at the end of the day- that’s all. This rule is an extension of the first one- if I don’t create enough material, there is no point of reaching out.

A problem with this rule is that if you reach the 2.5 hour mark, there is no motivation to go further. Rather you will immerse yourself in the net because you don’t know whether tomorrow the gate will be open. But still a thing I have realised is that our productivity is more hampered because often we fall into a rut and don’t work for weeks or months and not because we work only one hour every day. Persistence and not intensity is the key to an impressive volume of work.

-To meet these targets, I need to remind myself about these commitments. One way to do it is by continuously monitoring and re-evaluating my priorities. For that, I have decided that I would post something about the status of these plans and objectives at least fortnightly.

-Photo by the|G|™


5 thoughts on “Strategies for 2011

  1. Nice to see you tying up your laces and getting to run. You are very well aware of the ditches and trails that you need to go through so I am sure you will do fine with a good focus.

    You have got guts too – putting your plans out in the world. Well…that’s a solid strategy 🙂

    All the very best. Keep developing more and more stories. Keep on. After all say the wise say – it’s a marathon.

    Good to see a blog of a screenwriter who intends breaking into the crazy Bollywood! Keep writing…

    1. Hi Anuj,
      Thanks for the good words. It is nice to see that there are similar minded people out there who really understand the process of a struggle and the real reason why I am proclaiming my plans here. Even this blog is only so that I remain more focused on my goals and I cant back out on my ambition after blogging about being a screenwriter for more than 3 years now.

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