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Editing projects piling up on me

The most effective way of producing writing for me has always been the "vomit draft" method-- or, if you prefer a less disgusting description, the process by which you just make yourself write some garbage, no matter how badly it's coming out, until you have some semblance of a beginning, middle, and end such that you can by some measure call the draft "complete." I discovered this method in grad school, and it revolutionized the way I worked. Up to that point I was writing constantly, producing volumes, without ever actually finishing anything. I would try to edit as I go and end up spending forever tweaking individual sentences, or not actually writing things until I was certain I "knew what I wanted to do with them"-- which meant nothing ever actually got drafted. Now, whenever I have a project I want to work on, I make as detailed an outline as I can so I have a roadmap, then I just puke something out, and then go back and edit it after it's complete. I recommend this method to my students, or anyone struggling to write things, because you can fix something that's on the page-- you can improve a piece that doesn't even exist.

Lately though I've got a couple of "first drafted" projects laying around, technically complete but still in a state of garbageitude, waiting to be edited. As tough as I find drafting, I find editing to be even harder-- WAH WRITING IS HARD YOU GUYZ. Usually I push through the editing process fairly immediately, due to the fear of losing momentum, but I do find taking a short break from the piece can be helpful to looking at it with a more critical eye to improvement. However, I have to balance that, as I do lose momentum if I wait too long, or I rush it and don't always do the best job.

Right now I have two "technically complete" pieces laying around in first draft form, which is unusual for me. The first is my "Frasier" spinoff pilot, as yet unnamed, which I never dove into editing because something more pressing came up, though I currently can't remember what it was. That one has good bones but is pretty much a mess and will need a lot of fixing. I came up with a lot of things I wanted to do with it, but it's been long enough I'm a bit worried I won't be able to actually remember what they all are. I took some notes, but I'm not certain they're enough. This is hardly a pressing project, as there's nothing I can do with it, but I liked the concept and I'm going to fix it up at some point.

The second is a short story which I banged out over the last few weeks, mostly to get in a little practice as to writing prose. I find prose to be incredibly challenging, probably due to the fact that I've done so little study or practice of it in the last five to ten years while I've focused on drama. This will likely need a TON of work, again due to my inability. When I finished I wanted to take a nice break from it, and fortunately I have no preconceived notions of what it will need to improve, so I'm not worried about forgetting anything. However it will definitely need work before I show it to anyone, and the difficulty of that may make me avoidant over it. I will have to steel myself to get through, given that I struggle to believe my prose has the potential to not suck.

Posts from This Journal by “writing” Tag

About Me

My name is Phoebe. I'm Boston area theater professional and English professor focused in writing, acting, directing, and modeling. I'm known for having lots of interests, lots of opinions about those interests, and a very high estimation of the value thereof. This blog is for talking about whatever's on my mind, from my daily life to my activities to musing on any number of abstract topics. Thanks for taking the time to read.

My productions:

Upcoming Productions:

MRS. HAWKING part 2 and 3

at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016

presented by The Chameleon's Dish

Vivat Regina
by Phoebe Roberts

at 2PM


Base Instruments
by Phoebe Roberts

at 6PM

Saturday, May 13th 2017
at 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA

Other Achievements:

"The Tailor at Loring's End" screenplay
Quarter Finalist in the Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Competition 2013

"Adonis" screenplay
Top Ten Percent in the Bluecat Screenwriting Contest 2015

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April 2017


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