The Perils of an Overactive Mind

The Perils of an Overactive Mind

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I find myself incredibly busy for most of my waking existence. 10 hours every weekday are committed to work and my daily commute. One evening a week I go and visit the family. One night I attend a pub quiz, and at least one night a week I visit the cinema. Weekends are equally as busy – social engagements and more family visits compete with my hobbies of films, TV, video games, scale modelling and, of course, writing. Background interests of making funny videos, listening to podcasts and reading also do their best to get some attention, so as you can imagine there’s very rarely any time where I can claim to be bored. Currently I have about 12 days of audio books to work through (that’s listening non-stop – more than it sounds); the letters P-Z on my big A-Z playlist of all the music I own, a playlist that I’ve spent about 5 years working through, on and off; approximately 200 books thanks to Kindle sales and discount book shops; a few years of TV series to catch up on (thank you, Netflix); 40-odd films on DVD/Blu-Ray that I’ve not got round to watching; 30-odd TV series and box sets on DVD; 20 scale models to build; around 600 video games old and new to play; and just over 13 months of 2000AD to catch up on. There’s also new films in the cinema every week, plus everything else on Netflix that takes my fancy. Amongst all of this I then have to find time for friends, family and writing stuff for this website.

The reasons for such a huge backlog of stuff to do is twofold. First is that until this time last year I’d been in a relationship for 6 years, and as is the natural way of things I barely had time to myself for any great length of time. I’ve basically spent the last 12 months catching up, and I expect it to take at least another year for me to getting anywhere near close to managing my backlogs. If I do happen to meet the future Mrs P before then, it’s going to take me infinitely longer to get up to speed, so I try not to think about that too often. The second reason is because I have ready access to a lot of stuff, the technological revolution is great as far as finding and (legally) accessing new content, be it streaming films and music or by easily downloading the MP3’s within minutes of purchasing them. It’s great being able to stream and access films and music wherever I go, but it also means more content for me to try and absorb.

Now, the real problem here is me, no questions about that, I freely admit to it. My imagination and mind in general is so overactive that I’m always seeking out new things to do and new things to see, and as a result I very rarely go back and re-watch something that I’ve enjoyed – this is because I usually remember 95% of the story and action before I get chance to play it, thus rendering a repeat viewing moot. This stretches to my writing as well – I have that many ideas bubbling around that it’s hard to focus on any one project for too long before growing bored. The fact I’ve been able to write a review a day for this website for nearly 3 months is nothing short of a miracle. I’ve got a ridiculous amount of ideas for films, radio series and sitcoms all floating around, and it’s a stream of ideas that never seems to end. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s difficult to focus sometimes, and therein lies the problem.

One method I’ve tried for coping with this is to focus on a single project at any one time, do what I can until I either get bored or reach an impasse and then move onto something else. Rinse, repeat, ad nauseam. I’ve also thrown out a lot of interests and hobbies over the years to try and scale things down to a manageable level, which has helped to an extent. Going out and making videos was fun, but right this moment it’s not fulfilling on a creative level. So temporarily at least I’ve dropped that, although I do plan on resuming this activity at some point. Most of my malaise stems from the YouTube figures we have. Of the 100+ videos we have uploaded since 2009, we’ve had thousands of hits on our channel. All well and good, but when you consider that most of those hits are on about 6 videos, there’s a lot of effort going into making these things with very little reward. Hence why at the moment I’m focusing on my writing as I think that’s possibly a better USP than some less than stellar reviews of video games.

Onto writing projects that I have buzzing around, I have three or four decent concepts for a sitcom that I can draw on, the plan being to develop them over the rest of this year and then start sending ideas off from next year. I’m also building up to Nanowrimo in November. Again I’ve got about four or five decent ideas for novels that I can draw upon (I’ve discarded a lot more), so I need to pick one of those and develop it before I commit to churning out a story in November.

One of the other problems I have is deadlines, or a lack thereof. If I have a project to do for someone else then there’s always a set deadline and I never miss, a bit like a deadline version of Marvel’s Bullseye. When it’s a deadline I’ve set myself – somewhat less impressive. I’ve been planning an audio series called The Adventures of Trent Samuels for a few years now. In fact the project dates back to 2005, and I’m at the stage where I have a full 7 series arc in place and I just have to write it. Currently I’m working on series 4. Now, initially I’d planned to record all 7 series in 2012, edit in 2013 and then release an episode a week in 2014. Yet here I am still dwelling on the first episode of series 4. My counter-argument to this deemed procrastination is that there’s no point rushing it and it will be ready when it’s ready. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about writing is that trying to force it when you’re not in the right frame of mind is a bad idea. I’m actually okay with that, if I’m going to release a project of this scale and magnitude then I want to get it right first time or there’s no point attempting it. With that said, I would quite like to have the scripts done this year, so I will probably get going on that again quite soon.

And that brings me to my final point. Writing and maintaining this blog has given me much more inspiration to write more and to write more frequently, which until June was sorely lacking this year. The fact I’m not going out and filming stuff any more is a bit of a loss, sure, but the last time I did that with any impetus was when we last filmed sketches for our sketch show The Village which we last worked on in 2007. We managed four half hour episodes between 1999 and 2007 (reissued blogs about those episodes will be available here soon), so that gives some kind of indication as to how hard it is to put these things together. It’s even more difficult these days with people’s working hours all over the place, so it’s nice to focus on something, at least temporarily, whereby I’m not relying on anybody else to be available. This website’s all my own doing, and making sure I get a blog up every day (or near enough) is the kind of self-imposed deadline I need right now. Of course, if we jump forward 6 months down the line and I find that my blog has fallen by the wayside again, then you know I’m spouting nonsense. It wouldn’t be the first time.

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