There are times when writing is difficult. I’m not talking about writer’s block, but the issue of time. Time is a struggle for me. Between working to pay the bills and working to make film there is sometimes little time to make words into sentences, and those sentences into a story. So what do I do, not write at all?
I turn my attention to making something old into something new. I do a polish on an old script. Does that sound like a writing cop-out? It might but not really. The more we write, the better we get. I believe I’m a better writer today than I was when I wrote some of my screenplays three or four years ago. Why not update the script with my shiny new skills and make it something I feel like I can stand behind today.
I recently did that with a feature script and now I’m organizing, with an actor friend, a script reading for a local director/producer. The script still resonates and it was worth taking another look at. I love this particular script, and I’m excited to share the script and the evening with some highly talented people.
I also cleaned up a short screenplay that I have always loved but not done much with. It just made the official selection list at the first festival I entered it in. It seems I might need to enter Masquerade in a few more events. That’s the bonus of looking back at your old portfolio. You don’t know what you have until you look at it with fresh eyes.
Life doesn’t need to feel like it’s closing in on your writing time. You can keep honing those skills by polishing an old story into a shiny new and exciting vehicle. It takes less time, it stretches your writing muscles and helps your story analysis skills stay sharp.
Don’t give in to the time crunch, or give up on feeling productive. A script is never really done until the cameras roll, so feel free to play on an old canvas. You’ll be surprised at how much sharper you feel, and how much better that old script can be.