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Dear Friends,

Last week, I wrote about the importance of setting and meeting deadlines in your writing. The timing of that column was quite funny, since I ended up spending half of the week working on a deadline that came out of nowhere. Along with a writing partner, I was reminded yet again just how powerful deadlines are in increasing productivity, as we finished two outlines for episodes, as well as a handful of solid one-liners. All of this was on spec, of course - hoping that the series we were working for actually gets picked up.

Another brief review of the tips I've discussed thus far: (1) multitasking, (2) stopping in the middle of a scene, (3) working in short blocks of time, (4) taking productive breaks, (5) writing every single day, no matter what, and (6) set deadlines, big and small, and keep them.

I'm going to get back to all sorts of other column topics soon, but I wanted to add another tip to this list. This one's easy and, like tip #5 ("write every single day, no matter what, for at least an hour a day on your highest priority project"), it's a recurring theme in this column. This tip, number seven, is to pick the right project to work on in the first place. To me, that means picking a project which you are passionate about - something only you can do, something you've been working on (whether or not you've actually been writing it) your whole life, something that you can write better than anyone, and something that's absolutely, unapologetically, deeply personal.

Picking the right project makes it so much easier to keep up the fight when the going gets rough. If you're just writing to try to make the next big blockbuster - an impossible task, by the way - you're not going to have the passion to see it through, and to make it what it needs to be. However, if you're writing something that you love, and that is specifically yours, you'll fight as hard, and for as long as it takes, in order to get it done right.

Of course, this particular tip doesn't work quite as well if you get an assignment that isn't exactly your passion. But I think that's a situation you can probably handle with other tools, along with a healthy dose of panic.




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