Let Your Work Cool

Let your work BE cool, sure… but also…

“When the Lord finished the world, he pronounced it good. That is what I said about my first work, too. But Time, I tell you, Time takes the confidence out of these incautious opinions. It is more than likely that He thinks about the world, now, pretty much as I think about The Innocents Abroad. The fact is, there is a trifle too much water in both.”

Mark Twain

He knew what he was about, that Twain fellow.

It’s a good idea, if you can stomach it, to write two things at once. Not necessarily two at the same time during a work day, although I do that if I have huge chunks of time to devote to writing… but, work on Project A and in the back of your mind, have Project B on deck.

Like Twain, I fall for the sin of loving my stuff. I finish it and think it’s swell. Like this thing I’m working on now… I love writing it and love reading it and can’t wait to go back to writing it because it’s so fun to do. And I can’t WAIT to try to sell it.

Death on the proverbial cracker.

I know myself by now. When I get a first pass done, just like Mr. Twain, I’ll put it away to let it cool. So I can forget about it, so the crud will begin to ooze through the cracks and eventually I’ll take off my rose colored glasses and see the flaws.

I have to let it cool down. That’s why a second project is such a great idea. Something to take your mind off your excitement over Project A… Shove A in a drawer, all shiny and clean… work on B, and when I get Project B in the can, I’ll drag A out of its now ooze-filled drawer, all nasty and filled with obvious flaws.

I can’t rewrite when it’s fresh. I have to put it away. Pull it out of the drawer, after Time has passed, the shine will have gone off and I’ll see my rampant mistakes. Like Twain, or Hemingway, or anybody, then I can get down to the serious work of “hey this isn’t as great as I thought, I better go to work on it with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch.”

And then it gets better. But woe unto me if I do not have a cooling off process.


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Filed under Screenwriting, Writing Process

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