The Observant Writer… getting sidelined

I took a screenwriting class with a buddy and while he just kind of plowed through his first draft but I got kind of sidelined by fixing stuff. I still haven’t finished and he’s on to his second script. What gives… am I just slow?

Writing is one of the strangest undertakings. We are seduced by a story idea in our head and practically driven crazy until we succumb and begin to put it on paper.

And then, the real torture begins. We write a scene or two, or even a whole first act. And then inevitably we begin to second-guess ourselves as we soldier on through the next tough scene sequence. The main characters name isn’t strong enough. The villain isn’t evil enough. The opening scene isn’t fresh enough. The scene transitions aren’t transity enough – and so on, and so on, and so on.

Some of these comments are quite accurate. Your main character does have a shitty name at the moment. And maybe those scene transitions really do need work. But guess what – not now. Your only job in the first draft is to FINISH. Repeat this to yourself over and over again when that little inner critic would have you go back and putter with the first act. Resist the temptation and keep moving forward, that’s the only way to finish your first draft.

But, don’t lock up that inner critic and throw away the key. Just throw him or her a bone. One of the best gimmicks you can implement for yourself is to station a clipboard and pen next to your computer. Every single time your inner critic even whispers a suggestion – mollify her by writing it down on the clipboard right next to the keyboard. Voila, your inner critic ‘feels’ heard….and deigns to leave you alone for a while so you can actually write. And, in addition to finishing your script – you also wind up with a dandy blueprint for your first rewrite by the time you type, The End.

I hope this helps. And I do wish you good luck with your writing – Wordsmythe wants to help!