Script Frenzy: A Euphoric Beginning...
Most writers have a tricky relationship with deadlines. Some take comfort in routine and restriction while others can’t fathom being forced to do something before they're ready. I sit somewhere awkwardly between the two.
In my university days, my work ethic was precarious. Some assignments would be finished weeks in advance, giving me ample time to fret over that comma or reference. On other occasions, essays would be frantically typed at silly o'clock in the morning, usually involving a lot of deeply uncomfortable panic and guilt. But despite my changeable approach, one thing remained consistent: the deadline.
Now that I’m out in the big bad world, it’s up to me to install similar deadlines in my writing life. These arbitrary deadlines are arguably even more important when you’re an unpublished writer, giving you the extra shove to get the writing done, even if it’s very much a vomit draft (a term I highly recommend you adopt, it makes that first draft much less doom-laden.)
So, that’s where NaNoWrimo and Script Frenzy come in handy. Each is designed to make you commit to a mental amount of writing in an equally mental timescale. 50,000 words in one month? Pfft, child’s play. 100 pages of script in 30 days? Come on, at least make it difficult for me. Okay, maybe not, but you get the idea.
Half of the battle which writers face daily is putting the excuses to one side and ignoring your inner critic, intent on convincing you to give up before you've even started. Let’s face it, your writing will be awful. That’s fine, it's meant to be like that to begin with. Even if you lock away your efforts and never look at them again, the principle of each programme means that you’ve managed to switch off that voice and write a sizeable, dare I say impressive, amount of writing in a short space of time. It loosens and flexes the writing muscles, getting you into a rhythm which is both addictive and inspiring. Every author has to start somewhere and you’ve got a world of rejections to look forward to before you will feel even remotely good about what you’ve written. Sorry.
I didn’t ‘win’ NaNoWrimo last year, but as my Mother might say, taking part really became the most valuable aspect. After months of working too many hours and getting little writing done, with a bit of focus and effort I’d suddenly managed to write 30,000 words in four weeks and I felt hugely proud of myself. Yes it was undoubtedly clunky, littered with a billion typos and the characters felt horribly flat, but the important point was that the file existed on my computer, ready to be finished, developed or played with. Hurrah!
So, we’re well into the first few weeks of Script Frenzy and naturally I've leapt on it like it’s New Year’s Eve and I’m clutching a glass of bubbly, earnestly slurring my resolutions. I’ll be honest, it didn’t start auspiciously. Okay, it didn’t start at all, but I do have a genuine excuse. A friend came to visit, taking up the first three days of the challenge. Now, I love writing but I’m not about to ignore a friend in favour of it. After a few days away I greeted my blank document with something approaching enthusiasm. By the end of a productive first week, I was simply happy to be anywhere near the expected page count. Now I’m deep into the second week and I’m actually ahead of target. I’m not sure what happened there, but if your fingers want to keep typing it's probably best to obey them.
Who knows if my luck will continue in the weeks to come, but it feels good to be setting myself a challenge again, breaking away from the routine and watching that page count rise. So, why not join me and see where Script Frenzy takes you? Ah, beginners euphoria, if only you could bottle the stuff.