Friday 12 August 2011

Later On Won't Work No More

As artists I think we often get offended when people think of us as lightweights who don't do any work. Sure, society sees work as 9-5 and full of stress, but we put the work in too, in other ways, more than people realise.

But then again, sometimes we don't. The task for the day is as simple as "re-write two scenes and email the make-up artist", and somehow instead of doing that we spend the whole day reading news articles and tweeting self-help quotes about productivity.

The crazy thing is that, when I'm in a productive state of mind I knock those scenes and emails out before 8am, and then the productivity flows for the rest of the day. Days can end with half a screenplay written, an article published, two new blog posts, a freelance camera gig secured and in the evening I can read half of an inspiring book.

But most days aren't like that. At least they haven't been recently.

We all get discouraged. 99% of filmmaking is seeing your dreams fall apart. The energy is shrugging it off, getting up and striving forward. But you have to do it yourself.

Hard work is so important. But so often we're not doing hard work so much as we're folding under the strain of complacency and comfort and failure.

But you need an entrepreneurial spirit to succeed. You need goals each day and you need to make sure you knock 'em out the park. And it's a simple thing: I succeed more when I write than don't write, when I return business calls rather than 'like' Donna's new pictures on Facebook.

It's so obvious, I know, but somehow it's so easy to get lost in the lostness, when apathy and the internet and the Xbox rule.

I am acutely aware that life is short, but often I let the days pass by as if I'll live forever. And that won't do. Time is limited, I have work to do, a career to build further.

"Later on won't work no more."
-Tom Petty

Care to share?


  1. Having worked a 'normal' job, I think a lot of people doing the 9-5 gig spend some time slacking off as well - only they still get paid. Love your post, as always.

  2. The problem with not having a "normal" job, is that you don't get paid if you don't work, so that must I guess cause some stress too, right? But everybody need slacking time. Just because you are an artist does not mean that you don't need to recharge the batteries.

  3. Hey Desiree, yeah, definitely agree about needing to recharge the batteries. Everyone needs that and often artists don't let themselves because of 'slacker guilt'!

  4. That 'normal job' bollocks really annoys me. Just because you don't go out every day 9-5 or do a daily commute doesn't mean you don't know the true meaning of hard work. I often think writers/artists put in much more time because their 'work' is their whole focus. They think about it even when they're not doing it.

    Anyways, this post was great. I felt like you were speaking directly to me. I need to get my arse in gear where writing is concerned! :)

  5. 'Time is limited.' That's a sentiment we can all relate to no matter what work we do. It's so easy to let the days slip by. I'm really trying to make them count.

  6. Great post. I think most people struggle to find a balance with living each day as if it's their last, in order to keep that sense of creativity, but then putting off the hard work and discipline needed to be an artist that is actually creating things. Both are needed, and it is a balance of the two that creates the best artists. :)

  7. 9 - 5 workers get slacker guilt over their art too! If you're not spending every spare minute of your commute, and scheduling evening sessions, and devoting a portion of your weekend to writing, then clearly you don't want to succeed!! (Get back to the office.)

    Don't even get me started on getting collaborators in 3 industries together. With start times ranging from 7 to 11 a.m., once a fortnight from 7-8 p.m. is the best you can hope for :)

    Full time creators aren't lazy - regardless of what you do each day. You're an inspiration; an ambition. Go and smash it!