The joy of writing

I’ve just finished writing a first draft of the six episodes that will (hopefully) constitute Season 3 of Starting From … Now! Our intention is to make Season 3 but there are a number of factors that we have to address first. However, if there are no scripts, then it’s highly unlikely it will go ahead. So, today I finished the first draft of all six episodes.

Every time I finish a draft of anything I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written. This has nothing to do with the quality of the writing but, instead, with the sheer relief of finishing. When I go back in a couple days, or a week or two in the case of a longer form project, it becomes apparent that this certainly isn’t the best thing I’ve ever written and will, in fact, need a lot of work before it sees the light of day.

But, the first draft is done. I know I’ve said that already but it’s a relief and, in some small way, an achievement. Writing is hard. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it or how much you think you know, every time you sit down to write a script you’re starting from scratch. Even with this project, where we’ve already made two seasons, you still need to find the story. You still need to listen to the characters and find out where they’re going. This isn’t easy and it takes a lot of work and a lot of time.

And it’s not just the time you spend sitting at your desk. It’s all the time. When I’m writing, the story and the characters are always there. They might not be at the forefront of my consciousness that whole time but, in one way or another, they’re with me, percolating away in some dark recess of my mind. It’s exciting, it’s invigorating, but, at the same time, it’s exhausting, and very anti-social. If I’ve been lucky enough to spend the day at my desk working on a script it’s really difficult to then step out of that world. I’ll often find myself in a social situation where I’m staring at someone, supposedly listening to them, but not hearing a word they’re saying. My partner is used to it now. She just ignores me.

That’s why getting that first draft onto the page is such a relief. Things become a little less tenuous. You now have something concrete to work with which, in some ways, creates problems of its own. It’s only once the story reaches the page that you start to see the holes. When it’s in your mind, it sounds great. You can’t really see what’s wrong with it. That’s why this is a first draft. It’s done, as I’m sure I’ve already told you, but the job’s not finished. There’s still a long way to go.

By Julie Kalceff