'Fessing Up, Part 2

This is an addendum to my pathetic 'Fess Up from last week. Excellent and inspirational advice from mischief mari:

And speaking of house-cleaning: this afternoon I started clearing up some of the clutter in my tiny little corner of our home office. I came across some writing journals that I kept at the suggestion of a producer who snored through a very cruddy draft of my screenplay. One was a personal diary, really, of my thoughts on writing: my fears, my hopes, my frustrations. The other journal was more like a log of ideas - unique ideas or thoughts that I could put into the next draft. While I kept these two journals, I didn’t touch my screenplay. Initially, I felt even more lost because I was in such a hurry to finish my screenplay, make it into a movie and become ridiculously famous for it. But, you see, those thoughts have nothing to do with writing a good story; they’re all about the dreams of making it in Hollywood. The journals, however, saved me. I took time away from my story, confronted my writing anxieties, and found a few really wonderful ideas that I put into the next draft.

Eventually I got back to the screenplay and produced one of my best works ever. I held several readings with some really great actors and took some other steps toward making it into a film. My lawyer got the script to a few production companies including one headed by an A-list actor. Unfortunately, as often happens in the film industry, the project hit some snags that brought the whole production to a halt, and though I’m not sure whether I want to start this particular project up again, the journal exercise was one of the best things I could have possibly done for myself. I hope this suggestion might be helpful to other writers, no matter what form of writing they are pursuing.

I especially liked this, since I've spent a lot of my time the past few weeks cleaning, purging, and decluttering. I know the work will pay off, but it's frustrating to have little actual output (vis a vis writing) to show for it. This post made me feel a whole lot better. Thanks, MM!


Anonymous said...

This is very wise, this idea that you shouldn't hurry something, and also the idea that you can still make progress on a draft by thinking it over and making notes and keeping a journal. Thanks for the excerpt. xo, L

mari said...

Wah, thanks for the mention!

This really did help me. And I really did feel more lost when I first started the two-journal exercise. What I discovered, eventually, was how my thoughts converged after a while. It was a great way to get some time and distance from my writing without feeling guilty that I wasn't slaving away at another draft. cheers, m

snackywombat said...

this is really encouraging. it makes me realize how important it is to sift through not only ideas but what's holding me back from writing something. i was recently looking back at old journals and found a series of "worry lists" that I made. almost all of them included something about not writing enough.

litlove said...

I often have a clear up before sitting down to write (because any other chore looks good then, right?) but I've never come across anything remotely useful :( Still, I also appreciate the idea that it's the craft that counts, not the finishing line.

Squirrel said...

I find that I produce a lot more in a neat environment.

Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
---Gustave Flaubert

Andi said...

I've been purging and decluttering myself. It's really the only way I can clear the mental clutter as well. Maybe I'll finally have something to 'fess for tomorrow!

Writer Reading said...

I'm a little confused about where to post our Fess Ups every Friday. At the end of your post that day? At the sticky post? I don't see any fessing here yet today and it's late in the day. Where are all the fessers? I'm always the person who gets to the party late at the wrong address. Where is everybody?