IS THERE SUCH THING AS WRITER'S REMORSE?
Ever read one of your finished scripts and hate it? Maybe you sat there and wished you would’ve changed several elements of the story? Wish you would’ve written something entirely different? Can a writer have remorse for something they have written? I have felt something like this lately and wanted to explore the feeling further.
Over the last few days, something very peculiar has happened to me. I began having second thoughts and doubts. Second thoughts on making my film, What About Molly?, and doubts on the script itself. It’s NOT that I don’t want to make the film and it’s NOT that I don’t think I can (I know I have the ability). All of my doubt is coming from the script itself and the thoughts spurred from two very specific events.
As auditions come trickling in for What About Molly?, I am experiencing a myriad of feelings and emotion. On one hand, I love seeing actors bring their own unique twists to the characters I created and love to see those characters come to life. However, on the other hand, I am struggling with one character in particular.
I am struggling with the character of Bernard. Just to be clear, it’s NOT any of the auditions and it’s NOT anything, any of the actors have done. Everyone has in fact been spectacular and I love seeing the creativity. What I am struggling to love, is the character himself.
As I see the auditions, I can’t help but cringe at the character and the dialogue written. In fact, I hate it more and more, with each audition I watch. I feel as though I went the wrong direction with the character. I set out to create someone unique and funny, but may have missed the mark.
So what is one to do? Do I ride this out and just decide, it is what it is? Or do I make changes to the story by rewriting the character entirely. I’m honestly not sure. Maybe, I’m blowing this all out of proportion and the character is just fine? Maybe, I’m in panic mode and for no apparent reason once so ever? I’m not really sure.
Along with the auditions, I’ve been simultaneously working on creating my writing seminar. This has spurred several other emotions, mostly good but also some bad.
In creating the seminar, I’ve really had to break down my process to its bare bones. I’ve had to slow down and really think about each step individually. In doing so, I have been forced to really analyze the purpose of each step. In doing so, thoughts have crept up.
In the seminar, I am outlining a new idea from beginning to end. In doing so, I am explaining each step I take, why I take it and why it’s important. In doing so, I can’t help but think about What About Molly?. Did I follow all of these steps entirely? Could I have written a better script? Did I really explore this idea and flesh it out entirely? Am I having writer's remorse?
I think I am having some sort of writer’s remorse and it’s stemming from one single thought. I could’ve done this better.
Obviously I could do it better. Every script I write, I will improve more and more. That’s called growth. That’s what’s expected. The problem then comes from this next question. If I can do it better, is there any reason or point in filming what I’ve created? Should I simply move onto the next project?
After much thought on these questions, I’ve determined it’s best to continue forward.
I think it’s natural to have doubts, thoughts and feelings. We’re all human and have our own insecurities. But there is one thing we need to keep in mind when these thoughts creep up. It’s all part of the process. We write, we rewrite, we learn, we grow and we move on. It’s all part of the journey and what you write today will not be as good as what you write 10 years from now, it’s expected.
If we want to progress, action is everything. Don’t have remorse for the work we’ve completed. At some point, let the story be what it is and just accept that you will do things differently on the next one. But, DON’T let this stop you from moving forward. Remember, action is everything. Without action, we have nothing. We will just be another person talking about what we’re going to do, without really doing anything. We don’t want to be that person.
So, go off and write. Put your heart and soul in each project, write THE END and move on. Let your stories be what they are and get better with the next one. Don’t have remorse for your work, have pride and admiration for it. You sat down and did the damn thing. You should be proud no matter the result.