Nobody said it was easy

I was extremely nervous to have my work (the famous 30 pages) read by someone else and to get comments on it, but that was what was going to happen this weekend. If you like to know how my writing is going, step in. If not, come back tomorrow for something else.

The course I am doing is for professionals and I have often wondered if I hadn’t been a bit too optimistic joining in. This weekend proved I might have been just that. I am also by far the least experienced writer in the class. Actually, I am not even sure I dare to call myself a writer at all. What was I thinking?

Yesterday my script got shot to pieces and everybody in class witnessed it. It was one of the toughest and most embarrassing things I have experienced, and it wasn’t fun I can tell you. When I walked out I so needed a visit to my Cafe, but as that wasn’t possible I ended in some overcrowded chain coffee shop. I can’t even remember which one. I was ready to throw my script away and never go back to that class again. A Milky Way tea later and some thinking calmed me down, and I came up with a couple of reasons why I wasn’t going to give up just yet.

  • I have been walking around with this story in my head for more than 2 years now, giving up reaching the first (major) hurdle is not my style.
  • A lot of the comments I got are repairable. And I can actually clearly see the problems myself, now that they have been pointed out to me.
  • There isn’t actually anything wrong with the story idea itself, I had just written it down in a clumsy and too predictable way. I will try to fix that. I also have to remember that this was a first draft.
  • I learned a hell of a lot from it. Both about writing but also in a personal way.
  • I don’t have any fancy ideas of being a hot shot screen writer, I am in it for the fun of writing. So why not stick around and learn even more.
  • Writing is difficult. Screen writing even more so. The only way to get better is to do it, fall flat on your face, crawl up and try again. And even though it was a nasty experience, we do have a great tutor.

So I went back to class today. We now have about 2 weeks to produce 20 pages more. And for me – to also fix the issues that need to be fixed. If I take this seriously that means that I have to dedicate quite some evenings and my coming weekends to writing. This also means that I have to hand in about 50 pages of script and go through this whole agonizing process of being shot at again, 3 weeks from now.
My aim is going to be to hear him say that the script has improved, even if it’s only by couple of words.

Nobody said it was easy.

8 thoughts to “Nobody said it was easy”

  1. Don’t forget that all these “writers” are on a course too! If they are that brilliant what are they doing on a course? Obviously their “professionalism” gives them ideas but they are all there to critiqued just like you.
    Keep it up and good luck!

  2. I know that. For them this course more works as a pressure to actually get things done. But true, everybody is learning from this. Some more than others :)

  3. If it was easy, everybody would be a writer. Don’t give up and show them what you’re made of. Making mistakes is part of the learning curve and as long as you’re not being laughed at it’s okay. You know the saying: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”
    We’re Dutch and we’re a proud people !!! Make us proud !!!

  4. Writing is probably the hardest thing to do. I suppose that I’m jaundiced as I find courses to be competitive and bitchy–I live in NY where everybody is going to be the next star

    Do it for yourself—and your aim to improve your script if only by a few words sounds great.

  5. @Pia – I know what you mean about courses being competitive, this one is not that bad in that aspect though. I don’t really care about how competitive the others students are as I am doing it because I love the writing process. My expectations are pretty realistic: I don’t expect anything at all but to learn.

    @Pedro – thank you :) I can’t promise anything but doing my best.

  6. Having your work critiqued is never easy – but I think you’ve got the right attitude. Keep at it – you’ll begin to be more critical as you write too which will improve your writing tremendously. I always think it’s better to have someone tell me what doesn’t work and how to improve it. It’s also good that you are with people who have lots of experience – you’ll pick up ideas from them and improve as a writer much faster than being in a debut writing class.

    We’re all here for you and think you rock!

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