I do this Blank Screen productivity workshop a lot but I particularly enjoy doing it for the Federation of Entertainment Unions. They hire me occasionally to speak to members from their four associated unions: the Writers’ Guild, the Musician’s Guild, the National Union of Journalists and Equity.
It’s very special talking with these because all of us in the room are working full time in our creative fields. It’s especially exciting for me because actors and musicians have different needs to writers, journalists and authors so I work to find out what they need and how to help them.
I should say: to help them with this business I do of remaining the creative person we are, yet becoming a lot more productive. It’s not about knocking out work faster, it is about handling your time so well that you can do much more. That’s a subtle but an important difference.
But whatever group I talk to, there seems to be a collective mood. There’s so much in the workshop, especially the full-day version like today’s, that I spend some time at the end getting the attendees to recap. I think it helps them focus on what they’re going to take away but I know it helps me see what’s worked best.
Today what went down the best was a thing called Bad Days.
This is all about the worst times you get in our work, the time when are overwhelmed. That can be because you have too much to do, it can be exactly the opposite: you have nothing going on and have to pick which project to kickstart.
I actually have a solution. I’m proud of this and I’m proud of how the Bad Days chapter has been the most popular one in that first book. I’m fascinated by how I wrote that chapter right there during a really bad day. It was like I was writing live from the scene. The text is a little painful for me to read now: it’s clear and makes sense and does its job but I can feel the undertow.
But, hey, I’m a writer: nuts to my being uncomfortable, I’m simultaneously proud that there is an undertow.
I don’t want you to have bad days. But I do want you to have Bad Days, the chapter. Everyone I worked with today will get a copy of that via the FEU and I want you to have it too. It’s a single, blunt chapter from The Blank Screen and a PDF of it is all yours. Have it for free, use it, share it around if you think it will help people, and you’ll make me very happy.
I would be happier still if you fancied getting it in the book as I hope there is a huge amount of other advice in there that will help you. But the Bad Days PDF is the thing.