Ever since you were little you were sternly warned about deadlines. In second grade, if you turned in your drawing late the teacher would say “I’ll take it late this time, but in third grade they don’t allow late papers.” Each year, the same thing. In sixth grade it’s “when you get to junior high you’ll have a tough time, because they won’t let you turn things in late.” On and on, each level scaring you with the hellish consequences of the future, while letting it slide today.
Sure, maybe it’s difficult to turn in a college application late, but it’s probably not impossible. And that’s when anarchy sets in. In college, late papers are commonplace. If your excuse is at least decent (or if you can muster up a few tears) then usually an extension is granted. In the adult world, it’s more of the same. Sure, missing a work deadline is troublesome and a few too many of them will lead to you getting the axe, but one or two can slip through. They say the only thing you can’t avoid are death and taxes? Well, it’s not that difficult to file for an extension on taxes. And decades down the road, when we merge with the robots, we may even be able to cheat death. So how am I, a lone pen-slinging cowboy, going to possibly keep my own self-imposed deadline with all this open land before me? Plus, I started a new job this week, plus I had a few meetings. I mean, it’s easily been the craziest week since we landed in L.A. in November. So you can forgive me if I don’t reach my silly, stupid, and meaningless goal.
Well, I finished the script. With 18 hours to spare. Take that, haters!
It was going to be close. All week I struggled to fit in writing time, often in 15 minute blocks throughout the day. With less than 24 hours to go, I had about 7 pages left when I crashed. Done for the day. If I make it tomorrow, good. If not, no biggie. I tried, right?
Then I had some help from an unlikely source: Insomnia.
The demon of the night, who haunts me with regularity, came knocking. Half of the time I sleep well, a deep often dreamless 8 hours. The other half of my nights are touch and go. I have very little trouble falling asleep, but on those nights my eyes blink wide open, usually between 2 and 4am. From there it’s anyone’s guess…sometimes I’ll only be up 20 minutes, other times it’s over 2 hours. Last night was the latter. After going to bed at 10:30pm (we party animals have a busy day planned and needed to be up at 5:45am) I woke up at 2:30am. Blink. Blink. Blink. Etc. The clock hit 3:30am, 4:00am. Blink. Blink. Blink. Eventually my mind settled on the ending of the script. It was all unfolding perfectly. Three more scenes, and then the big finish. So get out of bed, dummy!
I slogged out of the bedroom and planted myself at the computer. Wrote for a half hour. Nearly finished. One scene to go, but I was getting drowsy so I thought maybe I’d get a power half hour of sleep in. Didn’t happen, so when the alarm went off I planted myself in front of the computer and finished the job.
First draft complete! Well, sort of. More on that after I…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz