Inherent Imprecision

I’m in the throes of revising a first-draft screenplay, and my buzz is officially harshed.

The first draft process had me in love with the world for months. I was not only on Cloud 9, but I had my head placed firmly in the clouds  above  Cloud 9.

While writing my first draft, I ate, slept, and drank creative catharsis. Every chunk of passive-voiced, clunky, on-the-nose verbiage was a respectable part of the process. 250 words was a small success, even at its worst output.

Times have changed.

I’m cringing on a regular basis these days, warm-cheeked as I read through dialogue worthy of a child’s puppet show. I’m regularly overwhelmed by the fixes I hope to implement, even as I tick them off my to-do list one by one. I progress through this second-draft rewrite with full rational knowledge that perfection is elusive. But let me tell you something: emotional idiocy often reigns supreme around here. Still I reach and reach for perfection, riding the waves of frustration and imposter-syndrome panic as if I didn’t know better.

It’s a new twist on linguistic philosophy regarding language’s inherent imprecision. I know what I want to say, what effect I want my words to have—and I think I know what I’m seeing on the screen of my imagination. But in execution, my words often fail to communicate precisely what is inside my head.

Well, it’s messy in there anyway. Perhaps it’s for the best.

With this second draft, I descended a cloud or two lower to the ground, and regained some sanity in the process. The more work I complete, the closer I get to the “as perfect as it will be” outcome. While first-draft-me was empowered by the euphoria of creative anarchy, rewrite-me gains power from obsessive persistence, unable to let something go until I’m happy… at least, happy enough to finally get some sleep.

As each fix gets ticked and the to-do list shrinks, I’m now beginning to believe it’s possible: a final polished spec script. As I near my revision’s completion, I anticipate this ultimate end product—as imperfect as it still may be—with growing excitement.

One might dare call it a buzz.

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