By the end of April I have a completed first draft. I admit, after Day 4 I didn’t really use the book. Honestly, I didn’t even realize that until just now. Weird. Once I got to page 60, I think I just needed to go go go. If I had to think about what I was supposed to be doing, it would have hindered me. And knowing that I would be rewriting it gave me the freedom to push through to the end. It was not easy. During the experience I went through a lot of emotions. The following is just a taste of the ups and downs.
Excited: I love deadlines. To know that I have to write a script in a month made me very excited because I knew that no matter what, I would write a full script in a month. No matter how crappy it is, it will be a full-length feature written by me.
Motivated: This wasn’t only a deadline for myself but for everyone in Writers Group. We kept a daily log of our pages for everyone to see and I’d always check to see where everyone else was and in turn, where I needed to be.
Frustrated: Just because I keep writing doesn’t mean any of it is good! How can I keep writing if I don’t even know my characters yet? I’m still getting to know them. How can I figure out my characters unless I have an ending? What’s the point of moving forward if I’m not prepared for it all?
Rejuvenated: Once a week, I’d have a Skype session with Dane about my progress. I would be lost, and he would say stop, let’s break it down, and figure it out. Every problem has a solution. Just keep going!
Empowered: I had an idea of what I wanted my script to be. I had an outline and all that, but sometimes as I was writing, I’d write a scene that I hadn’t planned and think, I actually really like this! Sometimes it was just a line, or a dumb joke. But I hadn’t planned it. It just happened. I just wrote it.
Giddy: I’m writing a screenplay! I know this first draft is going to need so so so much work, but the fact that I’m writing something that I believe will eventually be great, is amazing. Hey Lindsay, what have you been up to? Oh, I’m writing a screenplay. Giddy.
Angry: Why the fuck isn’t this all working itself out? I should have the answers by now. I should know how to put all the pieces together. This is so dumb. Oh, and Viki King? You suck. Who writes 30 pages in a day.
Scared: What if I write this thing and there’s no hope for it? What if I finish this draft and think, what a waste of time, this is the worst thing you’ve ever written. What if I know it can be better but I have absolutely no clue how to fix it?
Resigned: Why won’t my fingers keep typing? Because this is terrible.
Inspired: I’ve come so far, I’m almost done. But I’m not there yet, so I watch the movie that encouraged me in the first place – The Family Stone. It brings me back to what I wanted to do in the first place. It gives me back that feel I want for the movie.
Persistent: I’ve written this much. I know my ending is going to suck, but write it anyway. I will fix it in the rewrite.
Proud: Page 111 and my screenplay is finished! I did it! I actually did it!
Lindsay Stetson is a former collegiate field hockey player and sports journalist who is currently writing, producing and acting in the web anthology Conversations In Cars while working on feature spec scripts and her acting career. She’s on Twitter (but only technically) @LStet