In the movie version of Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin plays a sales manager who pays a visit to a dumpy sales office to give a pep speech before releasing the Glengarry leads. He walks up to the blackboard and he writes the following words: Always Be Writing.
Well, in Mamet’s version, he writes “Always Be Closing,” but this is my version of events and I say it’s “Always Be Writing.” This is going to be my new mantra not just for 2013, but for the rest of my coherent life.
You see, writers have writing muscles that need to be exercised on a daily basis. If not, than it turns to fat. Just like real muscles. I know it sounds hard to always be writing, so I’m going to share with you my steps on how to do this. Here’s my scenario: I mulling over a big rewrite of a play. It involves drastic changes, which will surely involve a page one rewrite. How can I possibly surmount this seemingly insurmountable process?
The trick is to shift the odds in your favor by reducing the chance of failure. It’s like going for that five mile run, or doing that crazy P90X workout. Sure, you could jump right into it full speed, but chances are your body is not equipped to handle that. The trick to starting that 5 mile run or that crazy 90 minute workout is to ease into it. I’ll say it again: EASE INTO IT.
If you do this, you lessen the risk the of not only failure, but of serious physical injury. The same can be said of writing. Ease into it, and you’ll have a better chance of tackling that page one rewrite. Why do you think I’m writing this blog post? By writing it, I’m warming up my writing muscles, which will give me energy and motivation to turn to my big rewrite next.
And here’s a bonus tip for handling big rewrites: Break it down into smaller chunks and turn them into actionable tasks. I’ll save that for a future blog post. Okay, now stop reading this and go write!