Sunday, September 24, 2006

This Exciting Life

I wish I could whip up some exciting new factoid to that would rivet readers to their chairs, but the truth is, when you're working on multiple deadlines, you're basically... working. When I was first starting out (long before I was making an actual living at this racket), I ran into any number of people who also wanted to be writers, but who seemed to spend a lot of time doing anything BUT writing. They probably had a lot more fun than stick-in-the-mud Mark, who usually spent his weekends polishing up a script for some fly-by-night producer or working on a spec. And, by the way, that's absolutely fine, there's nothing wrong with having fun. But most of these guys weren't really writers...

I attended a large rally for the Writer's Guild Of America last week, over a thousand strong, and the first thing you notice is most truly working writers have little in the way of a tan. Because to get things written, you generally have to sit down and write them. Usually inside a room, since it's tough to see a computer screen on the beach in Maui. (Though I'm sure it's possible, and I'm willing to try!) I have found no magic formula or secret trick to make any of this easier; it's all about face time in front of a computer, working out the story, outlining, figuring out the theme, playing with the language, mulling what makes one line interesting while another is less so, trying to understand the characters... it's about DOING it.

I'm fascinated by the idea of writing partners, because there must be times when stuff really DOES get written without you. And I've actually tried co-writing a few times, sometimes because I wanted to try a new way of working, sometimes because the project was assigned that way. But I've discovered over time that I'm a pretty selfish bastard; the first draft of any project is the only time I get to play in that particular world, and I'd rather not share that with anyone else.

So that's what's been going on in my little corner of Heaven the last week or so... I'm just tryin' to get it down on paper...

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