Treading through your first draft

The first draft can be the most fun and the most grueling all at the same time.

I outlined. I researched. I inspected. I dug. I took notes and outlined some more. Thirty pages in — I’m hitting walls. Staring into thin air. I am stuck.

What now? Where do I go from here? Where did I go wrong?

The easy answer is pre-writing.  That’s where it went wrong. That’s where it always goes wrong.  I still haven’t learned.

There’s always those moments when you’re pre-writing, when you go, “how much more preparation can I do?” — I get this idea that I can just write to fill in the holes that pre-writing hasn’t. Sometimes this works.

Welp, it’s too late now. Here I am, trying to get to that last page, staring at my computer screen, with a blinking cursor and no idea how the next scene will play out.

It’s like going camping without preparation for rain. “Eh, the weather will be fine, what’s the chances it’s going to rain?”

When it rains, you want to go home. Your whole trip is fucked. Whatever you do — DO NOT GO HOME. DO NOT GO BACK. Keep writing.

TREAD THROUGH. Keep filling those holes. Get to the last scene. Finish and make it to that last day of the trip. You won’t regret it.

Once you get there the rain will be gone. You’ll have your first draft done. Take a week off and come back with rain gear. Come back with fresh ideas and momentum to craft and mold the pile of shit you just spent two/three weeks writing. Don’t hang your head.

What I have learned from this process of treading, is that when I go back to rewrite, I find that I have created something different, often better than what I had first intended to write. This is a good thing. Sometimes the most creative moments in my script came from literally, making things up as I went.

First lesson is to always make sure your script if fully outlined and ready to be written. The second lesson is to trust your instinct and always press forward.

Always be writing

-REH

2 thoughts on “Treading through your first draft

  1. charleschuckberry November 29, 2012 / 6:40 pm

    Thanks for the tips. We both have a lot in common. Writing has not been easy for me either.

  2. writingitout87 December 2, 2012 / 1:03 pm

    Good article. As they say, writing is rewriting.

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