Dating and First Drafts

Sterling suggested a few months ago that I write a play about my experience in the Civil Service. I wrote an outline quickly and was pretty excited about the idea. After all that is the quintessential Ottawa experience. The Civil Service still remains the biggest employer in this town and it colours the fabric of the community as a whole. Everyone in this town knows someone who works for the Federal Gov’t whether it’s a friend, neighbour, or a family member; there are many stories to tell.

My experience with government, while far from unique, is interesting. I work casual/temp communications contracts for various government departments. Not being a “permanent” Or (as they say in gov’t speak) “indeterminate” gives me a different perspective on the whole thing.  The play will be written from this viewpoint and I feel confident that Ottawans will relate to it because a play about this institution is really a play about all of us. Well all of us who make our home in this government town.

I’ve finally moved beyond the outline stage and into writing the text.  I’m on  scene 1 page 2 at the moment. 🙂

However, I have decided to take a little break to pass along a valuable tip from Nadine (who has recently finished a draft of her latest script) that I think will be useful for all writers. Nadine says, don’t get caught up on perfecting a first draft. First drafts are never perfect but the sooner you get it done the sooner you can work on editing it and creating the second draft. Even if it’s ugly get it done. The next phase will be easier. This is excellent advice.

Writing a first draft is kind of like going on a first date. No matter how carefully you plan, or how much you like the individual, there are going to be moments of awkwardness, things you regret saying or at least wish you said differently, and surprises that may throw you off your game. All part of the process, enjoy it if you can (I’m not that enlightened yet) or at the very least push through it because that’s the only way to get to the good stuff.

Now back to the play, before it gets jealous!

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4 responses to “Dating and First Drafts

  1. To be fair, I’m but the messenger of that advice. I picked up that pearl of wisdom from Anne Lamott’s book “Bird By Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life”. It’s been echoed by many people, including the late Bill Cameron (my favourite CBC news anchor of all time!)

    Heeding that advice turned me from a dabbler into a writer. Now you’re a fellow playwright. Exciting! I have every confidence that you can do this. Whatever support I can give is yours.

  2. post-fab princess

    This sounds great Wayne! A really fab idea for a play.

  3. I’m glad you like the concept PFP and thanks for the encouragement!

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