First off…a theme I notice in a lot of screenwriting blogs: the ever-present apology for long and unannounced breaks in posting.
Those of you familiar with this blog know that’s also the case in OLUniverse.
I can’t tell you why it happens to other writers, but I can tell you why it happens to me. And I am guessing their stories occupy the same zone as mine. When I am working on a new draft of a script it’s all-encompassing.
Okay…that looks lame now that it’s out there in black & white. But it is what it is.
A while back, I wrote about the toll getting the last draft of INCARNATION took on Casa (and Office) True. What I am talking about here is basically an extension of that. The "zone" has a formidable gravitational force. Once I am pulled into/back into orbit of the process it’s nearly impossible to break it. That plays hell on the rest of everything in my life while I’m stuck there.
The blog, however, is victim to something of a double-whammy. It’s on the outside of the zone, so it gets ignored. It’s also–you know–more writing. After a several-hours stretch toiling around Planet Movie Script, I’m exhausted. Physically. Creatively. Wordally.
About the only thing I’m good for then is planting my ass in front of the tube and letting the latest episode of PROJECT RUNWAY or FAMILY GUY wash over me. Yeah…it’s that bad.
So bear with me. And bear with my other brethren (and sisteren). Because we can’t help ourselves.
Hey…when we’re not blogging, you can be reasonably assured we’re being at least somewhat productive on story/script front. …Or at least memorizing lots of clever and pithy "Stewies-isms", so we can entertain you at cocktail parties.
Okay…but that’s 296 words that have very little to do with either the title of this post or the reason I sat down to write it in the first place.
Oy, True. Oy…
The last 4-5 weeks have been interesting ones for me.
Though the INCARNATION reading went very well, it also illuminated some significant…er…opportunities to improve the script. Excitement by the various Hollywood players who want to get involved remained/remains high–and, in fact, some newcomers have poked up their heads. The consensus around the playground, however, was that a new draft was in the cards.
That means work for me. In this case, I knew it meant a lot of work.
And here’s the rub…it’s not that there was so much wrong with the script. On the contrary, the script was mostly right. It’s a relatively easy task, though, to diagnose problems in early drafts. In those case, the problems are usually of the "low hanging fruit" variety. Upon reading the thing, you’re all "Holy mother of Jesus in the sky! How did I miss that!?!"
Badda bing, badda boom. More often than not, the solution is right there in your face. It’s hard to miss. For me, the rotating orange lights and claxons are dead giveaways. Done and done. Fixed.
The later-draft problems are buggers. They’re deep. They’re hidden.
Most of the time, the only clue you get that you’ve come upon one is a vague tingling of your Spidey-sense. And even when you uncover it, finding the solution is a matter unto itself.
All that adds up to Bill trying his damnedest to juggle life and rewrite. Trying to not break the former, and trying to move the latter to a new and dazzling level.
For all intents and purposes, said process on said draft was put to bed on Tuesday evening.
And here’s the rubbier rub. The point I really wanted to illuminate today.
Why is it when I am in the middle of the writing process and I am really jazzing on the writing, when I am putting hours and hours and days and days into it, when I am sure that I am challenging myself and not settling for anything other than an A+ result, do I think the shit sucks so badly when I finally read it?!?
Why do I feel like I wasted my time? Like I can already see other people rolling there eyes when they read the thing? Like the more I write, the worse I get?
Why do I wish I woulda just said no? Just not started down the path in the first place.
Why do I have writer’s remorse?
I mean, crap! I STILL feel it with RUNAWAY. And it got great reviews! And most everyone that comments on the movie points to the writing as one of its strong suits.
Yet, as recent as June, during the LA screening, I was cringing most of the time as I watched it.
Whatever. I mean, I know the answer–or answers. Well, some of them. You know…what’s behind it all.
What I wanna know today, though, is why it happens in the first place. I spend a lot of time and energy creating and refining this stuff. Isn’t it possible that at some point I am allowed to actually enjoy it?
There’s gotta be a pill for that. Right?
2 thoughts on “Writer’s Remorse”
Rewrites. Yes they suck. But you are forgetting the most important thing: appreciation. That’s what you and Dean taught us all about. Instead of despising the rewrite, my partner and I have learned to appreciate it. We’ve decided to own that when we’re writing — it’s shit. We actually term it “puking” on paper. We completely enjoy rereading and laughing our asses off about how bad it is. Of course, as it becomes closer and closer to finalized, it’s not as much fun, but we love tweaking every last line to make it perfect. So I just wanted to let you know there is an alternate way to view your rewrite…and you could be having fun with it. If you don’t want to be upset, don’t read it again…or decide to read it again and laugh and APPRECIATE it. The thing that surprises me is how many writers don’t understand the need to rewrite. They’re like, “This is perfect,” and I’m like, “WHAT?!?” never!!!
Ahem…look at me. Caught NOT practicing what I preach. Point well taken, my friend. Point well taken.
I promise to read my next pass with an appreciative eye.