Writing for Gold (and other Olympic clichés)
As a screenwriter, you are an athlete.
Sure, the only things in motion are your fingers and your mind, and perspiration only gathers at your temples, but similarities can found between the disciplines.
Strength / Stamina
Pushing on and getting it done. Not just to crack that daily word count, but to see an idea through execution, to break it down and rebuild it over multiple drafts, and then to market your script/self with enough grit and determination to accept and learn from constructive criticism and rejection.
Though the writing process cannot be rushed, deadlines must be met. Seasonal features need to be marketed at the right time. Competition/festival dates will not be delayed for you, and for those in production or working on short films, an entire crew may be waiting for the next rewrite. Targets should be in page numbers, not words.
David Annand’s Writers in the Park
(Cr: Thomas Nugent)
Quickfire scripts sent to a hundred readers might look good for the stats, but getting it right on the one occasion that matters is a truly Olympic trait. Even after a story has been put through its paces in the edit room, it is always worth stepping away for a period of time in order to be able to revisit your latest version with a clear head.
Just like all muscles, the brain gets tired and requires regular rest, as well as a variation on the usual stimuli. Crunching page numbers when not all the synapses are firing will not only lengthen your recovery time, but also put your script into a position that requires further attention at a later date.
Give yourself a break once in a while.
After all, you’re a screenwriter, not an athlete…