My screenwriting buddy just blasted through his first draft... why am I still struggling?
Writing is one of the strangest undertakings. We are seduced by a story idea in our head and practically driven crazy until we succumb and begin to put it on paper.
And then, the real torture begins. We write a scene or two, or even a whole first act. Inevitably we begin to second-guess ourselves as we soldier on through the next tough scene sequence. The main character’s name isn’t strong enough. The villain isn’t evil enough. The opening scene isn’t fresh enough. The scene transitions aren’t smooth enough, and so on, and so on, and so on.
Some of these comments are likely accurate. Your main character does have a stupid name at the moment. And maybe those scene transitions really do need work. But guess what? – not now! Your only job in the first draft is to FINISH. Repeat this to yourself over and over again when that little inner critic would have you go back and putter with the first act. Resist the temptation and keep moving forward; that’s the only way to finish your first draft.
But, don’t lock up that inner critic and throw away the key. Every dog has its day. But you need to throw him or her a bone. One of the best gimmicks you can implement is to position a clipboard and pen next to your computer. Every single time your inner critic even whispers a suggestion – ‘You need more adjectives.’ Or, ‘Your opening scene is stagnant’ – mollify your inner critic by writing the suggestion down on the clipboard right next to the keyboard.
Voila, your inner critic ‘feels’ heard… and agrees to leave you alone for a while so you can actually write. Plus, by the time you type ‘The End’ on the last page of your manuscript, you also end up with a dandy blueprint for your first rewrite.
I hope this helps. And I do wish you good luck with your writing.