Thursday, 20 May 2010

I like your manifesto, put it to the test-o

Okay, so what happened is this: I became a father for the second time last Summer, the day job continued to become more and more consuming, and the continuing Global Economic Situation reduced the opportunities across the board for new screenwriters.

I was busy, therefore, and lucky too. But not in screenwriting. I thought it would be nice for a while to use my spare time to relax and be a normal person with a family and a, you know, respectable and profitable career. So, I stopped writing. I pretty much stopped tweeting too, and I let this blog die. I just let the old thing gather dust, no-one to notice it. I let it become a strange little thing in a corner of the internet. And over the months, the world moved on.

I had no ongoing writing projects, paid or unpaid. I had nothing sitting in anyone's in-tray to waste hope on. I was in the middle of a spec script, but someone else's too similar piece was just then announced for Summer 2010 broadcast on BBC4 so I stopped (which is possibly the nicest of the two ultimate ends for my spec scripts).

I did not hustle, I did not network. I read books on my commute, I played with my kids. I didn't relax. Instead of writing in my spare time, I was 'not writing'. Deliberately, consciously. Something still ate away at my mind. Ideas for stories nagged at me, and I had to resist them. Word of opportunities still managed to reach me, some of them (thank you Big Finish) too good to resist entering something.

It's often said that if you give up, you were never meant to be writer. There's something nice and Darwinian about that, but I think it's bollocks. The truth is writers can't give up in the same way junkies can't give up. Whether they're any good or not, or - completely unconnected - whether they have any success or not, is immaterial. We're all addicted.

So what finally changed my mind, and got me fully back on the skag? Well, for a socialist and old Labour party member such as me, a Tory government (or even half of one) is a hell of a spur. I thought - I've got to keep going, because there's things worth saying, things that need to be said. And, so inspired, I was just about to start on my comedy horror spec (it has subtext, okay, so don't judge!) when what hits my inbox but a political screenwriting opportunity. It's almost made to be.

The blog will henceforth be used to chart my attempts to restart. How easy is it to get back into the game? Is it harder than starting out? Don't think anyone's talked about that before - it should be interesting to see how it turns out. So, that's my manifesto...

... i.e. don't be surprised if it turns out I don't do any of it exactly.


Phill Barron said...

Hooray! Welcome back.

Tom Murphy said...

Hi Stuart

There's nowt like a Sultans of Ping reference to grab the attention!

Good luck with getting the writing back up to speed.

I've been toying with taking a similar break, enjoying my spare time, reading for pleasure etc - even for just a couple of months, to get my mojo back - but I've found it impossible to turn off completely from hearing the ticking of time and the sense that my 'competition' are hard at it.

So, I'm also looking to drag myself back into "the game" (even though I do have one nice opportunity dangling at the moment - an agent who's keen to see my next script).

I'll look to you for inspiration!

All the best

Jason Arnopp said...

Oh, the Sultans. Those boys knew how to party.

Welcome BACK, Lord Perry! What a delight.

Piers said...


Good to see you back.

Paul Campbell said...

Yeah! Get those fingers tapping across the keyboard again!

Good to see you back again.

智琳 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Stuart Perry said...

Thanks all - it's good to be back.

Frances Lynn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frances Lynn said...

Congrats Stuart on reproducing yourself for the second time. And good luck with the writing.

Piers said...

So... how long do you suppose before we can start teasing him for not updating the blog?

Sofluid said...

I think getting back into writing after a break can sometimes be harder than starting out because your game has risen to a new level.

When I recently took an unwanted but much needed break, I found it painful hearing of missed opportunities and, like you, felt those stories nagging at me.

I think it's important to take time out though. Appeasing our conscience for not writing, however, is hard. Very hard.

I think it's important to take things a step at a time when you're getting back into the game. Make small but achievable targets and your confidence comes flooding back.

All the best with everything, Stuart!

David Lemon said...

Nice to see you back in the blogosphere. You going to that BBC Drama thing at the end of the month? They're saying it's writers with credits only, but I'm sure that's no longer the case. Details on the writers room website.
And more importantly, congratulations on being a Dad again!

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