Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn

Professor Higgins opens the My Fair Lady Song, “I’ve Thrown A Custard in her Face” with a long string of Damns, which I am in a mood to repeat. I have a ten-ton deadline hanging over me suspended by a single human hair. If I don’t stay and stare at my screen all day every day until I have bled out a screenplay I will have my nipples torn from me like medals from the tunic of a disgraced officer and Shame will know me for her own.

Douglas Adams liked deadlines: “I love the loud whooshing noise they make as they go past,” he said. My deadline has whooshed past four times and this is now IT. I deliver or ELSE.

I remember putting the final full stop to the last essay of my final exam at university and thinking to myself, “There! That’s that. I shall never have that awful exam feeling ever again.”

Ha!

How was I to know that not only would I have it always but that it would seem to get progressively worse? I’m not complaining, I just … oh wait, it seems I am complaining. Well, I don’t mean to. I mean merely to observe. Most of us in the world of work have these horrors looming over us. Reports to be written. Shelves to be stacked. Orders to be completed. Calls to be made. Duties to be done. Many of us wake in the mornings with a deep terrible feeling of foreboding inside us: hot lead seems to leak into our stomachs as we contemplate the day. When I’m in acting or presenter or comic prancer mode it isn’t so bad – but writing. Writing is bloody.

So you must expect a few days of radio silence from me on Twitter and here on my site as I descend into my particular hell.

See you the other side. I hope. Enjoy your bank holiday weekends and try not to think about work if you can help it.

Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn.

This blog was posted in Miniblog Related topics:

113 comments on “Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn”

  1. michael says:

    good luck! x

    if they come to tear out your nipples just point them my way
    i could use some accidental chest surgery :)

  2. Ciaran says:

    Your pain will be our pleasure Stephen. Can’t wait to see the play.

  3. WizzardPrang says:

    You have my sympathy. I have sometimes said “I work better under pressure” – you are welcome to use this phrase if it helps, as I’m not using it at the moment. :-)

  4. dgriffiths says:

    Just do what Shakespeare did – stick a man in a frock, add a couple of confusing twins and if all else fails kill off a couple of big name characters and end on a song.

  5. beccy1606 says:

    I understand EXACTLY how you feel, I am feeling it right now in fact. I too told myself that that was it at the end of my degree, yet here I find myself again, in the middle of an MSc, working on another dissertation! :-P

  6. erol_antz says:

    I am with you on this Stephen.
    I had a long day at work yesterday to meet a deadline.
    I hate them with a passion.

    Damn, damn, damn indeedy….

  7. beccy1606 says:

    Well, clearly I’m not working as hard as I should be, as I’m on twitter and reading your blog lol :-S

  8. kimono says:

    Stephen you sissy! :)
    Is it Marjorie? Hmmmm? Is she making you do this?? DAAAAAMN!!!!

  9. Mark Lee says:

    I’m fifty years old. Often I’ve thought, “nice to have that done, now I can rest.” I just keep getting into more complex entanglements, each with time limits attached.

    I’d go on, but I’ve got to meet a deadline.

  10. Gaina says:

    Just breath, you’ll be fine :). It’s not so bad if you know you’re the cause of your own panic but 9 times out of 10, the reasons I am cutting it fine with a deadline is other people’s incompetence which is rather irritating.

    I know I am useless under pressure so I favour lists and detailed organisation (oh, and those pretty fluorescent ‘post-it’ book markers). The phrase ‘O.C.D’ has been uttered in my presence before now, but when deadline time comes around at Uni, I get the last laugh :P.

  11. maureenoconnell says:

    I always keep saying “Justkeepswimmin” over and over it drives me mad ,clears my brain somehow….worth a try!

  12. TheSumerian says:

    Life is truly hell.
    Or atleast a place of eternal slight discomfort.
    Personally, I work nightshifts, so I don’t have to get up in the morning. You have to appreciate the little things, hmm?

  13. psherman123 says:

    I do love reading your blog posts. I would suggest taking your laptop into the garden and enjoy the weekend whilst working your butt off. Enjoy!

  14. guyquinlan says:

    Don’t forget to remember the words someone said on a documentary about you Stephen “If you have a brain that needs to keep going on and on like a machine it does need to have things thrown at it, it’s like some sort of furnace and better it’s given other things to burn than it’s own self.”

  15. misterb says:

    Good luck, be assured that you are not the only one as my MA dissertation is due in next week. I will therefore, also spend the bank holiday weekend secluded to the 9 square meters of my study room.

  16. thirtiesknight says:

    deadlines… uurgh…

    it’s an interesting observation. what bugs me most about deadlines is that they seem to be a product of our much too busy life styles! like time in general, if the folk at the top of our society slowed down a bit, we’d all slow down. it’s somewhat of a shamwe we don;t all take it easy once in a while.

    all pressure aside i hope you can relax a little bit, a relaxed mind is a creative one

  17. Timbo57 says:

    Somehow, when I saw the title of this one, I was reminded of Jim Broadbent in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol when he keeps giving away his surprise presents for Queen Vic :)

  18. jeff_ginge says:

    I remember deadlines, back in the days when I wasn’t too sick to work. Keep your chin up and try to remember how lucky you are that this is the worst thing you have to face today. And that you have the power to control it and make it stop.

  19. AorN says:

    I know it’s slightly harsh, but it is the 4th deadline, New York seemed like a lot of fun and the flight back is ‘wasted’ time! BTW loved the Office Slavery piece……so eloquently described my life.

  20. justmouse says:

    Every sunday night, instead of enjoying my free time and my family, i stay up all night, desperately trying to finish the work i have put off all week. it is a fairly common for me at the end of Monday to find i have been awake for 40+ hours. i don’t enjoy this. it makes me quite ill…and yet…and yet, i never seem able to change it. it’s probably just as well i never went to college…20 years later and i’d still be working on my final essays!

  21. kurthiggins says:

    Good luck, Mr. Fry. Alas the plight of mankind… being aware of the future. A deadline has no meaning to a dog. Oh, to be a dog and live fully in the moment.

    Stupid dogs.

  22. jrichalot says:

    If you read this Stephen GET BACK TO WORK AT ONCE!
    Still, bonne chance mon ami!

  23. frankstrudel says:

    From the mention of officers medals, I’m wondering whether this screenplay is the one to do with other dam(n)s, which I am extremely excited about! Saw an ident for Last Chance to See last night, which I’m also looking forward to… especially the kakapo! :->

  24. JanetIsserlis says:

    damn

    if you’re off line what shall I read whilst not meeting my own deadline?

  25. davemalley says:

    fully understand.
    im crap at wroting too.

  26. glossyibis says:

    No pity here, kiddo. I’m an editor.

  27. Amanda S says:

    You have my sympathy too – Blank Page Syndrome is hideous. Filling it with words can feel like you’re using a teaspoon to fill a bucket with water, but you will do it, and sooner than you think. Best of luck. x

  28. Mike Reed says:

    I’ve got two or three deadlines too, and you describe the symptoms beautifully. If it helps, remember that many such as I slave at commercial forms of writing from financial necessity, dreaming of the chance to pour the same anguish into screenplays, novels, or other, more enriching forms. It doesn’t make the deadline any less gruesome, but at least it’s a deadline to write something you truly love writing. Look forward to reading it/seeing it, anyway, whatever it is.

  29. Kynetic says:

    Amazing! Thought this only applied to me :)
    Kill procrastination and you can overcome this evil… Once you get around to it, I suppose.

  30. JTGDXB says:

    I have heard that procrastination is much like masturbation; at the end of the day you’re only screwing yourself…

  31. Sheldon says:

    Why do you need nipples anyway? And surely you’re no stranger to Shame??

  32. saritasonriendo says:

    You are a very funny man, and I truly love you in a very platonic, “aw bless him” kind of way.

    PS Hope the nips aren’t too painfull

    Un beso

  33. BREAK.MY.FALL says:

    I do something for you know I’ve never dared to do before.

    QUARDRUPLE-DOUBLE DAMN!
    (I know it’s more a term for a basketball performance but it’s worth stealing it for this matter)

    Anyway, I always thought I’d be fine with deadlines ’cause they would at least give me a reason to even start writing BUT the effect keeps dropping with time..
    But having painfully purple nipples in prospect would spur me.

    Good luck and I hope we’ll have you back soon!

    xxx

  34. vickid26 says:

    Best Of Luck Stephen and cant wait to read/se/hear it – but not much of a bank holiday ahead for you hey!!! Deadlines are the work of satan himself!!!

    On a purely selfish note – pls dont go and leave us all weekend – we shall miss your fab updates!!!

  35. KevDog says:

    Every term paper I finished early smelled of rotten fish and got average marks. An impending hanging does focus the mind, I understand.

    See you when you emerge. Is it possible to get a tan from hours spent in front of an LCD?

  36. TeaKayB says:

    And the urge to blog is all the more insistent when deadlines are approaching. I start back at school next week, and I should be planning my bottom off in preparation for it. Instead I’m being more prolific in terms of blog entries than I am at any other time of the year.

  37. taluta says:

    Oh dear, I empathise. I have to admit that I would happily donate similarly mentioned body parts to simply have a deadline right now. Even just a reason to set the alarm in the morning would be a move in the right direction… You know deep down, in the pit of your bionic stomach, that you love it, the writing that is :-) You’ll no doubt do a masterful job and we’ll be looking on in awe. Happy writing x

  38. taluta says:

    Oh dear, I empathise. I have to admit that I would happily donate similarly mentioned body parts to simply have a deadline; a reason to set the alarm for morning would be a positive move…. You know deep down, in the pit of your bionic stomach, that you love it, the writing that is :-) You’ll no doubt do a masterful job and we’ll be looking on in awe. Happy writing x

  39. Maxine Warwicker says:

    You’ve been spending too much time Twittering lately and not taken heed of your (moneymaking) deadline. Naughty boy!

  40. taluta says:

    Damn Damn Damn having to use this stupid phone to connect to the internet! My humble apologies for comments coming thru twice …. as if what I had to say was somehow important :-( Mea Culpa.

  41. EllieK says:

    Awww poor Stephen :-( Hope u get it all done soon, so u can rejoin the land of the living! Good luck:-) x

  42. Fryphile says:

    Hmmm, thought this was gonna be about that hellcat Marjorie trying to take over Derwent Enterprises.

  43. inckognito says:

    Stephen, everything will be Ok! Hey, you love to be busy, don’t you?

    Undoubtfully, you’ll make all the job perfect and in time!

    Vale et me ama! ;)

    xxx

  44. nahatsu says:

    I’m sure those with a shred of feeling what so ever will feel for your plight! Oh dear… And may the angel of creativity descend upon your spirit, easing the burden of heavy loathing…. and bring to you a positive array of ideas fresh and leaping into your consciousness!!
    ((with best wishes for your deliverence from this particular hell with the speed of light!))
    Amen.
    (good luck!
    xx

  45. GQ says:

    I remember a some words said in the documentary “50 Not Out” that made so much sense to me.

    “If you have a brain that needs to keep going on and on like a machine it does need to have things thrown at it, it’s like some sort of furnace and better it’s given other things to burn than it’s own self.”

    Stephen you are a brilliant man.

    GQ

  46. Fryphile says:

    Never will Neville and Sheila be sundered from your breast! *UPSes the muses your way*

  47. Dornenfluegel says:

    Good luck!

    I know fully well the hell that can be writing, although I’m not doing it in a professional sense (alas, I wouldn’t get anywhere if I were to…)

    However a site that helped me tremendously with writing 50’000 words in one month (yes it was absolutely voluntary and a slight bit mad ;) ) is “Write or Die”. I don’t know if you do know it already or if it is of any use to you, but maybe you’d want to check it out:
    http://lab.drwicked.com/writeordie.html

    But I’m sure you’re gonning to do it in time and as fabulously as everything else you do!

  48. Louise Dunne says:

    In the middle of my Thesis Mr. Fry so completely sympathize,empathize etc etc etc!!Well I SAY middle but am being exceptionally bloody generous to myself.Damn? You’re being very polite..Oh bloody F***!Is more upon the lines of my thought process.Perhaps I shouldn’t have waited until my 40′s to do a bloody degree? Oh well..
    Good weekends writing to you..I’ve decided DEFINITELY buckling down September 1st!?
    Good Luck Sir.

  49. Ferret says:

    This may lighten your day; interesting fact, a human hair can hold roughly 1KG so that ten-ton weight would have fallen, if it weren’t purely metaphorical.

  50. BREAK.MY.FALL says:

    I do something for you know I’ve never dared to do before.

    QUARDRUPLE-DOUBLE DAMN!
    (I know it’s more a term for a basketball performance but it’s worth stealing it for this matter)

    Anyway, I always thought I’d be fine with deadlines ’cause they would at least give me a reason to even start writing BUT the effect keeps dropping with time..
    But having painfully purple nipples in prospect would spur me.

    Good luck and I hope we’ll have you back soon!

    xxx

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