Welcome Aboard

Welcome to my first blog.
I'm excited you've come along for the ride with me, as I blog my thoughts and adventures on the way to being a published writer. Take a look around, post a comment or two, and enjoy!

04 March, 2011

My Voice is Gone

Don't be alarmed. It's not my writing voice that's gone, but my actual physical voice. Don't you just love spring-the birds are chirping, the trees are budding (mmmn smell those buds on my lemon tree), and the OAK POLLEN is out for blood. Yep, I am a seasonal allergy suffer. My sinuses are at war and my tonsils are the first casualty. I'm home today on bed rest per doctor's orders. Antibiotics and sleepy allergy meds kicking in.

Although my voice is gone and I feel yucky I cannot pass up this time to work on my writing. Now granted it's 1pm and I've only been awake a total of three hours so far today but I can make use of the non-sleepy, non-drowsy hours in between my allergy meds (4 hour pills), and my sleep time.

I was reading on SCRIPT SHARK'S facebook page, the comments posted to this question- "how long does it take for you to write a rough draft?"

I was surprised by how many people responded that it takes them years to write a rough draft of a script. Bearing in mind a script for a feature film is 90-120 pages.
Now I am not here to judge them. I'm happy they are writing. But I do want to address the notion of a rough draft. Because two to twelve years (yes 12), is too long to spend on a ROUGH DRAFT.

Rough Draft (my definition) something that is done with the understanding that changes will be made upon completion.

When I first started writing (many moons ago) I would use a spiral notebook or loose leaf paper in a binder. I still start all my writing projects in either a spiral notebook or a binder. I NEVER start a project looking at the blank computer screen.
Why?
To me if I start my project on the computer I feel like it has to be perfect the first time, and I find myself going back and editing, and re-editing, and it stalls out.

Writing on paper first (with my wonderful gel pens), gives me the freedom to write anything I want. I also write notes to myself in the margins, circle items, and will put mini sticky notes in key places. Now I know some of you will tell me, "but Desiree, you can do all that with Microsoft word, or the latest technology program for writers." True, and I am happy for those of you who chose to go that route. But I think of my writing like an artist.

And because I am a watercolor painter, I do like the feel of the ink flowing on the paper. I like to see the different colored gel pens crying out their symphony of shades.
Once I feel comfortable with what I write I will do one of two things: I will continue to hand write it and type it in later, or I will switch completely over to the computer. It depends on what kind of deadline I've given myself.

And that is another area some people don't get. You have to give yourself a deadline. Especially if you are like me and you don't have a publisher (yet) expecting a product at a certain time.
I think the best thing for those people who take so long to write a ROUGH DRAFT of a 90 page screenplay to do is:

1. Don't over think it. A rough draft is simply that-something to go back and refine, like clay from the potter's wheel. It may look like a water pitcher, but you know at the table you are going to take your knife and whittle away this section, or that piece; stain it and bake it.
2. Give yourself a deadline.
3. Get organized. If you are writing and you're not sure about something-flag it, sticky note it (yes I have sticky notes on my laptop), and keep moving. You can research and put it in during your edit.
4. Set for yourself a minimum page or word count and don't go to bed or do anything else until that is accomplished (within reason).
5. Don't compare yourself to other writers. Do what you feel is appropriate for you. When it's no longer fun it's called work. I like my writing to stay fun. You may not be a 10 page a day writer in the beginning, or ever. As long as you can turn off the laptop, or close your notebook with a smile and feeling of accomplishment-it's all good.
6. Is this a career or a hobby to you? Be honest. That admission alone will affect all that you do.

So let me give you an example.
If you are an aspiring screenwriter (please pick up Movie Magic or Final Draft), you can start by writing two pages per day. In 45 days you will have a rough draft of a feature film completed.
If you are an aspiring novelist, you can start by writing two hundred fifty words a day. In 280 days, or less than a year, you will have a completed rough draft of a novel.

When I'm writing I will do ten pages a day minimum on a screenplay, and 500-1200 words a day on a novel. I silence my inner critic, and remind myself it's just a rough draft.
REMEMBER-you are not me. You do what is comfortable for you.
I like deadlines, they drive my inner being. That's the reason for the high word and page count for me. Find your comfort, or groove zone and just go with it.

Don't look back, (don't pause and edit what you just wrote/typed) that way leads to a madness you will not escape and you will never finish.

Does that mean anyone can write? God created us to love Him and His creations. Artists just express their love of His creation and the Creator in their painting, music, dance, and yes-writing.

My opinion-you won't know until you try.

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