No, gutter-brains, I'm talking about starting a first draft. At a guess I'd say it's been five or six months since I last began a new TV script. That was TAKING LIBERTIES, the TV drama pilot I developed under the mentorship of Adrian Mead. Since then I've been rewriting that project or giving my short script DANNY'S TOYS the occasional polish. The rest of my time's been devoted to paying gigs - journalism for DeathRay Magazine and the Judge Dredd Megazine, scripts for the Phantom comic published by Egmont Sweden, research for an Inspector Morse TV documentary, running workshops on creating comics and writing novels, plus a bunch of other bits and bobs.
Yesterday I broke ground on a new script. I've been prepping FAMILIES AT WAR for what feels like forever, so it was a relief to finally get started. Of course, I procrastinated all damned day before opening a new document in final draft and actually typing any words. So long as any project is still in prep, or being researched, or undergoing contemplation, it's still perfect. The moment you actually commit to typing anything, perfection gets diminished. You've sullied the brilliant story in your head with the pish that appears on your computer screen.
Get used to it. Like a lot of writers, I suffer from Good Pupil Syndrome, a craven need for approval and recognition. I want my first draft to be perfect, for people around the world to acclaim it as the work of genius I want it to be. Reality is somehow always less satisfying. There's a reason Shitty First Drafts are called Shitty First Drafts. Only freaks hit a home run at the first attempt. Us mere mortals have to grind out that Shitty First Draft, recognise the many flaws in it and move on to the Hopefully Less Shitty Second Draft.
So that's where I'll be the next few days, visiting the land of the Shitty First Draft. The weather is terrible, the food sucks and dissatisfaction's guaranteed. Wish me luck, I'm going in.