Dorothy Parker was half-right

d parker

“I hate writing, I love having written.”

For a writer, truer words were never spoken.

Well, almost. For this one, anyway.

It took a bit longer than I’d hoped, what with sheltering-in-place and all, but I finally managed to complete the rewrite of the horror-comedy. It’s now in the hands of some of my trusted readers.

Despite how long it took, I actually enjoyed putting the whole thing together. Granted, working on a rewrite is always a bit easier than cranking out a first draft.

Do I love that the script’s done? Without a doubt.

Did I not like writing it? Not really. (that might sound a little confusing. In other words, I did like it.)

Maybe it was because coming up with all the ideas and putting them onto the page was just a lot of fun.

Or maybe it was from developing my take on a traditional story in a genre I enjoy.

Or maybe I simply allowed myself to control the process, rather than vice versa.

It’s totally understandable why a writer would gripe about having to sit down and write. This is hard work. It takes a long time to learn how to not just do it right, but to do it well.

Hopefully once you get the hang of it, you start to see it less like work and more like an opportunity. One where you can really let yourself enjoy doing it.

Sometimes a writer will operate under the mindset of “I HAVE TO GET THIS DONE!”. While that can definitely be the case when working with a deadline, if you’re free to work at your own pace, the lack of stress and self-imposed pressure is practically liberating.

When I’m working on pages, I set a goal of completing at least three pages a day. If that’s all I get done, so be it. If I manage more, that’s great. I get done as much as I allow myself to. Removing the pressure part of the equation helps me feel more relaxed, which in turn helps me with the writing.

More than a few times during this rewrite I’d think “what’s something different that could happen here, AND that would also be funny?” and be able to come up with something. Hard to say if I would have able to do so if I was stressing myself out over the writing. And regarding the jokes, whether or not they pay off – well, that’s another issue.

This was something else that came from enjoying the writing: I think the jokes are a little stronger than in previous efforts. A lot of those were more just snarky comments, but this feels different – in a positive way.

A few sets of reader notes for this script have already come in, and once the rest of them do, it’s a foregone conclusion that I’ll embark on another draft.

And I suspect that one will be just as enjoyable to write, which means I’ll probably be practically euphoric once it’s done.

Actually, Zippy, I am

zippy
Zippy the Pinhead c/o Bill Griffith

Although the numerical output isn’t as high as I’d like it to be, the daily churning-out of pages for the current project continues. I’m hoping to ramp things up over the next few days and beat my self-imposed deadline of having a completed draft by December 31st.

There are a few factors in play regarding getting this done:

-I’ve got a solid outline to work with. This took a long time to put together and fine-tune, but it’s been a very helpful foundation for keeping both me and the story on track.

-Taking that one step further, sometimes I’ll describe a scene in the simplest of terms; maybe one or two sentences (which can be quite a challenge when you need more detail to make that scene into at least more than a page). A lot of the time, this means I’ll have to come up with something right then and there to flesh it out, and after years of working on this, it’s just gotten easier to actually do that. Fortunately, a majority of my initial ideas seem to work out the best.

-And what may be the most important in helping me continuously move forward – it’s fun. I’m just really enjoying doing it. It’s a genre of which I’ve proven to be somewhat adept. While it may not be the most original concept, I’m able to have a little fun messing with some of the tropes that come with the territory. I’ve got free reign to write whatever scenario I want that works within the context of the story. It’s quite liberating.

All of this combined makes for daily writing sessions that seem to zoom by. I’ll hammer out a scene or page, oblivious to the passing of time. Before I know it, it’s later than I expected, I’ve inched forward in the script, which chips away at the number of scenes still left to do. A very nice scenario indeed.

Dorothy Parker said “I hate writing, I love having written.” I don’t mind admitting I love the writing part too. Sure, sometimes it’s tough, but it’s the only way to get to “having written”.

And if you’re not enjoying writing in the first place, then why do it at all?