Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

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  • Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

    File this one under FWIW.

    So I had dinner with this interesting couple last night. Both painters.

    She teaches sometimes.

    One thing she said that I am very much mulling over is that she tells her students they cannot, must not love their work -- the goal is to respect it.

    Loving it creates a form of proximity that prevents you from seeing the flaws. Like being in love-love with someone, it's a distorting spell or fog.

    The comment had an instantaneous effect on me, because while the cultivation of a shrewd inner audience is arguably my writing priority #1, I still get high when the work is going well -- and never really put the brakes on it because, well, it's fun to feel giddy when the work is going well, right? Given all the hours/decades/karmic cycles of teeth-gnashing, why not celebrate the breakthroughs?

    But this feels like one of those distinctions that separate the men/women from the boys/girls. Something to do with recognizing, and accepting, the fact that you are not the work, and the work isn't you. Irrational exuberance is just that.

    Still mulling, but right now I think I'm in that odd, bittersweet place where we suddenly realize it's time to leave a love behind, because we must. Very odd business, growing up. Sh*t just never ends.

  • #2
    Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

    Or, and perhaps one can file this under overthinking it, but love is for the first draft, and respect is for all the drafts after.

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    • #3
      Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

      Or just be objective and do away with any kind of filing system.

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      • #4
        Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

        Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
        Or just be objective and do away with any kind of filing system.
        Fine. I'll throw it on the floor in the corner with the rest of the scattered, unordered pieces of paper I call my script.
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        • #5
          Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

          Originally posted by winter dreams View Post
          Or, and perhaps one can file this under overthinking it, but love is for the first draft, and respect is for all the drafts after.
          +1

          Love is for the idea, the first iteration.

          Respect is making changes to improve the story, flipping, reversing scenes, beats. Respect is removing the extraneous. Respect is trimming down those gorgeous descriptions, and action lines to their bare essentials, knowing what to cut. Respect is for subtext in dialogue. Respect is, as possible, fleshing out characters who need that oomph to make them more than existing to serve the plot.
          #writinginaStarbucks #re-thinkingmyexistence #notanotherweaklogline #thinkingwhatwouldWilldo

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          • #6
            Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

            Originally posted by winter dreams View Post
            Or, and perhaps one can file this under overthinking it, but love is for the first draft, and respect is for all the drafts after.

            Oh yeah. Overthinking is a penchant of mine, so I'm more or less on the alert for it, but it may be disguised as something else when it comes to writing. I'm definitely infatuated with the mystery of the whole thing and I think that gets translated into over-investment in the work. I think that's the aspect of it all that I'm walking away from.

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            • #7
              Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

              Sorry, didn't mean to imply that you were over thinking, only myself as that is also a tendency of mine.

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              • #8
                Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

                Originally posted by winter dreams View Post
                Sorry, didn't mean to imply that you were over thinking, only myself as that is also a tendency of mine.
                Imply away -- you're emphatically not wrong. I'm at peace with my penchant for examining things from all (often too many) sides. Not sure I'd have it any other way -- at its best it creates a richness of thought -- but it can lead to distortions, which, in hindsight, seem predictable.

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                • #9
                  Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

                  Love your idea, respect your execution.

                  Or don't. Who cares...
                  On Twitter @DeadManSkipping

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                  • #10
                    Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

                    I love writing and hate what I've written.
                    Script Revolution - A free to use script hosting website that offers screenwriters a platform to promote their scripts and a way for filmmakers to search through them.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

                      Respecting it requires objectivity. I think that's what the artist is talking about. It is hard to be effectively objective about your own work.
                      Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

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                      • #12
                        Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

                        Originally posted by sc111 View Post
                        Respecting it requires objectivity. I think that's what the artist is talking about. It is hard to be effectively objective about your own work.
                        I just think the woman in question made a pretentious mountain (and soundbite) out of a straight forward molehill. Which is great if she makes fortune cookies but otherwise just sounds all fur coat and no knickers.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

                          Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                          I just think the woman in question made a pretentious mountain (and soundbite) out of a straight forward molehill. Which is great if she makes fortune cookies but otherwise just sounds all fur coat and no knickers.
                          I disagree. I frequently fall in love with my work. Everyone loves the smell of their own ****. It's the whole "kill your darlings" thing Faulkner was talking about - the things you love most in the script as a writer are likely the worst parts to a reader.

                          I have to not love what I write because the story is bigger than me. The ego can't get in the way of the collective unconscious. I am learning to respect the story. Especially when the story tells me what it wants to be. If I love it, I can't listen to it. Sometimes I have to leave the script in order to no longer love it.

                          Having said that, I love all the scripts I've written, but I don't respect any of them as good enough. So that's my problem.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

                            You're not disagreeing with anything I said, though.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Loving Your Work vs. Respecting It

                              Originally posted by sc111 View Post
                              Respecting it requires objectivity. I think that's what the artist is talking about. It is hard to be effectively objective about your own work.
                              Totally, but -- for yours truly, at least -- the distinction she made is next-level stuff.

                              Let me put it this way: I try to be as objective as possible when I'm writing. I have no problem throwing stuff out if I think it doesn't work, or if other people point that out for me.

                              So then I throw out the bad writing, and come up with something better, and really dig the way things are going -- and my satisfaction starts to drift over into the love zone. I get smitten with it on a more pervasive or macro level. All while still trying to to identify stuff that's not working, etc.

                              The upshot, for me, is that I think I've been operating under the assumption that with every (hopefully) improving draft I'm bringing the script to that quality threshold where I can fall in love with it. "OK, now you're worthy." Like I've been working towards and waiting for that moment.

                              But loving a work is reserved for the audience alone. I can't participate in it. The appropriate, best-case-scenario goal for an artist vis-a-vis their own work is (begrudging?) respect. That's a distinction I've never grasped before, but again, for me it's a big one. And tough, too, because it means turning down the buzz when stuff starts to come together. We're like bartenders trying to get our barfly audience totally, 100% hammered, but we can never touch the stuff.

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