“How long does it take you to write a draft of play?” she asked. Such an interesting question!
How long does it take to create something?
If I take a look at the play I’m currently working on, A Killing at the Cottage (AKATC), it took me 8 hours of writing to complete the first draft. Those eight hours were spread over three days and there was a fair amount of mental cajoling and encouragement to keep going. So the actual amount of time spent trying to write was more like 16 hours. But…
Before I got to the actual writing, I did some outlining and research. Not a lot, but some. Add another few hours. But…
Before I got to the planning, I had to get to the idea. I started writing the first draft on November 10. I only got the idea for AKATC on November 6. I was going to work on a different play. And I was going to start working on that other play in August. Then I was going to start working on it in September. And then I was going to start working on it in October. By the beginning of November, I knew that I had run out of steam to work on that other play right now, so I needed a new idea.
Resistance was kicking my ass during that whole time. In the morning, I would plan to write but by evening the TV beckoned and I complied. I thought I should just start writing, but Resistance told me that I needed to do research. Resistance also whispered in my ear about how stupid the idea was.
I spent three and a half months trying to write. Wanting to write. Feeling like a loser for not writing. The only reason I started writing was that I had a hard deadline so I HAD to write!
It’s easy to track the time when you are actively working on a project, but so much of the work happens below the surface. It percolates when you’re on your way to work, when you’re cooking dinner, when you’re waiting in line, and so on.
So, how long did it take me to write that draft? I think it took me four months. But I have no idea for sure. It takes as long as it takes, I guess. Each project is different and there is no hard and fast rules. That’s why it’s important to establish a practice of doing the work. If you have a routine of regularly working on a project, it doesn’t matter how long it takes. You work on it consistently and you’ll get it done.
© 2019 Peter Gruner