on vacation… brain: disengaged…multiple projects

At present, am in Boston, just having woken after a killer dinner at a restaurant called Metropolitan. Not too expensive, good house red, and the best food I’ve had in a long time. After a week in New York, or thereabouts, this was the best meal since leaving home. Or, really the best meal since I don’t know when since I don’t eat like this when I’m NOT on vacation.

Haven’t seen a movie.
Haven’t read a screenplay.
Haven’t written anything about screenplays or anything else.
Have hardly read anything either.

Read a Hardy Boys book last night before going to bed, one I’d cadged from my host’s son. So it’s been a fairly brain-less way to spend time.

Did do some work on an outline that I sent to a producer in Los Angeles. Waiting for his notes. I have found that the longer I take to get something done, the longer it gets to gestate, and the better the end result seems to be. That’s hard to do when you’re writing for money, but easy to do when you’re working at home.

My one thought for writers (at this point in my day, anyway) is to have two projects going at once. One on the desk and one in the drawer. Of course, silly me, that produces an image of someone writing on foolscap with a quill pen. Anyone reading this probably has one on the desktop and one in some file buried deep in their computer.

This idea, which takes place in Guatemala, has been stewing between me and the producer for months and months. Not #1 priority for either of us, but someone always has it, is reading it to get notes, or is working on a rewrite pursuant to taking it out there and pitching it. But it sits for a while between drafts and it seems to get a little better each time. Of course, it helps to have a producer who gives good notes!

But the sitting is good.
So my suggestion for you, as I wait for my brain to clear on this early Boston a.m., is that you always have multiple projects going. Have the script or story you’re working on, and when that draft is done, put it on the shelf and pull the old one off the shelf and work on it for a go-round.
What’s amazing is how something you thought was magnificent when you shelve it for a while, becomes not-so-swell when you take it down a week or two months later… mistakes show up, the bad paint job becomes evident, cracks in the welding are obvious… etc. And you can rewrite it, instead of thinking “Hey, this is great. I’m a genius, I’ll send this out to agents now…”

The longer it takes for something to be born, the better chance you have at finding out what’s wrong with it. Because, as you know, you only get one chance at someone who will read your script, so you have to give them your best work.

Take your time.
No one is in a rush to read what you have written.
Don’t be in a hurry to get it to them.

Now, time for me to wander downstairs to the kitchen and make coffee.
My host knows my addiction to half and half, so I know it’s already in the fridge.


1 Comment

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One response to “on vacation… brain: disengaged…multiple projects

  1. Pat

    A little off subject but if time allows and you’re up for something a bit quirky. Since you’re in Boston, there is bar directly across the street from where Sam Adams is buried where you can look at his grave while drinking a Sam Adams. Only place in the world where one can do that. Could be an idea stimulus. If nothing else could be a cold beer on a hot day.

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