The more I write, the more comfortable I become with writing lots, and lots, and los of drafts. I’m okay with the fact that what you start with is never what you finish with. And no matter how perfect that original idea seemed, you always come up with something better midway through the process. Working in a field as unpredictable as art, it’s actually quite incredible how predictable this one aspect of the process is. Yes, it’s unfortunate to write something hilarious at 10:00 AM and then return to it at midnight, only to find out that it’s no longer funny. But you learn to love the process, and all’s well that ends well.
It’s interesting, though, to go back and look at a project and see how much it changes with each iteration. To see how many extra plots and characters were written that never saw the light of day. The evolution of a piece of art is incredibly nonlinear. It’s not like you have a perfect ideal of a script in your mind, and you get steadily closer to it with every draft. It’s more like a series of random, seemingly-unconnected tangents that eventually lead you to a destination you’re happy with. But it’s fun to play connect-the-dots, because you usually end up using something from every draft. Sometimes you have a big breakthrough on a structural issue, other times you just have one line that you like enough to keep. But odds are, every tangent ends up represented in the finished product in some way.
Given that I’m also a college student about to graduate (don’t remind me), I’m not just trying to be a great writer. I’m also trying to figure out how to be a human in the real world. When I think about the life I want to live and the kind of person I want to be, the details are increasingly fuzzy. When I look back on the past decade of my life, I’ve had so many strange interests and obsessions. From poker to bodybuilding to long distance running to a multitude of different bands…every week I seem to have some new obsession that completely consumes my life. Then I’m on to something else, and I still don’t know who I’m going to end up being.
I’ve come to realize that just like a script, I’m writing drafts of my life. Every time I try something new, I’m getting one step closer to being a finished product. And even though this might not be the final version of myself, I’m sure I’ll keep something from it.
Student, Writer, Work in Progress