Good morning, friends.
Today you will write 1000 words. They do not have to be perfect words and they do not have to change anyone's life. Just that they even exist is enough.
Yesterday I wrote what we in the biz like to call "a pile of turds." My back was bothering me, the news was distracting, there was a thunderstorm for an hour, so my dog was barking at the sky. I could not shift into gear, but I figured I just needed to get something down. "I can fix it later" has been my first draft mantra for years now.
I think a common holdup for writers is wanting to make their first draft flawless, when the reality is all books are at least a little imperfect until they get through the copy-editing stage. (And if you really want to get into it, nothing is perfect in this life. But it’s probably too early in the morning for an existential crisis.) I admire those who can spit out a refined first draft. As for me, I count on my second or third draft to really sing. My first draft is the place where I dump the raw material. But here’s the good news: it it's also where a lot of honest feelings and original ideas show up, too.
Today I asked the screenwriter of the namesake of this project – "500 Days of Summer" – for his thoughts on productivity. (If you are not entertained that I thought to ask him then we cannot be friends.) Michael H. Weber also wrote the screenplays for many other films like “The Fault in Our Stars,” which made you cry, and “The Disaster Artist,” for which he received a goddamn Academy Award nomination.
"Here's something you probably already know: it's too easy to avoid writing.
So my advice is to be hard on yourself about finding the time to write - extremely hard - but then be kind to yourself after that. Don't worry about quality. Just put the time in, day after day. Make writing more important than other things in your life. Because anyone can write when they feel like it, when they have a good idea, when they're not sick or hungover or tired. I recommend writing when you don't feel like it, when you have no good ideas, when you couldn't be more busy and have a hundred reasons not to write. Turn writing into something you have to do.
My self-esteem is tied to my productivity. If I don't write I don't feel good about myself. I'm no longer scared to write poorly because the worst feeling is not writing at all. "