Writing Lessons Learned


Over the last two months I learned some valuable lessons about writing. I had been dormant on my blog and my writing. There have been various reasons, some of it was finding the passion to write. It has been dead. I felt very depressed about it. I decided to force myself through it and become a much more disciplined writer.


I have considered myself a binge writer. I can go for months at a time and write quite as much as I want. It seems effective, but it leaves me tired and takes its toll on other aspects of my life. I am now setting some parameters for myself that will help me be a more effective writing. From this process I have already started to learn some lessons. These are the Writing Lessons I have learned in the last twenty four hours.

DISCIPLINE:


1: Discipline yourself. I Set aside two hours in the day to write. I haven’t decided what works best. I know some people have particular times when they feel they can get the most done. I am going to explore that. My plan is to write the first two hours after my daily routine, then put the writing aside and get on with the rest of the tasks that I need to complete for the day.

REREAD YOUR WORK UNTIL YOUR BORED

2: Reread your work until you are bored with it. There’s an advantage to reading your script so much that you become bored with it. The advantage is that you become a more objective writer. It also helps you rediscover the passion.

USE AN EXERCISE TO FIND THE PASSION

Businessman using weights at his desk

3: If you’ve lost that passion use a writing exercise to rediscover your passion. To force myself to find that passion to write, I decided to reformat my scripts. They were not in the proper format and I needed to do that anyway if I ever wanted to get them published. After I reformatted my plays, I set about to reformat Derby Double. I hadn’t read this script in a long time. To my horror I discovered two drafts missing from my computer. I had a printed draft so I had to take that and put it into my computer. As I was doing that, I realized that this version of the script was fair. There were a lot of holes in the storyline and once reformatted, I discovered something absolutely horrific. It was well over 200 pages long. I’ve always considered this script to be an epic. An epic is a longer than 120 pages, but it certainly shouldn’t be five hours. Since this is part one of a trilogy I plan to write, I now know there is going to be a lot of cutting involved.

NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR BEST STUFF.

4: Never fall in love with your best stuff. Here’s an example of what I mean. I have a bad habit, I overwrite. When my juices are flowing, the ideas come at me fast and furious. I put too much into a scene. At rewrite time it becomes a chore to cut. In some cases it becomes torture, especially if I think I have written this really great bit in the scene. Here’s one of the biggest lessons I have learned about writing. Never fall in love with something you think is needed or great. It may not be. I am now in the process of going back to basics. I am going through each scene and reworking them one scene at a time. I plan on rewriting these scenes more than once, before I move onto the next. This will allow me to cut and tighten and fill in any holes in the story. Today was the first day and I found myself cutting some of Seamus O’Brien’s narrative. Some of the narrative I hated to part with, because it was beautifully written dialogue. I did the same thing with Hannah. I dropped some action I didn’t feel was needed or slowed the scene down. I went through a printed edit of the scene today and did more cutting. I found another bit between Hannah and her parents as she is giving her speech, that I loved, but it slowed the script down and I dumped it.

These most recent tips I have learned about script writing appear to be working. I have found that I have started to breathe new life into the passion I have for writing. I have discovered a new objectivity and most of all I am learning to cut. Now if I can overcome this overwriting problem, writing would be easier. I do have a solution for that and I plan on learning how to do that next.

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