A few days ago, I finished the first draft of my upcoming feature film. After sending it to my editor, a question finally came to mind: What now? If you are like me, you do not usually have a lot of time on your hand. When you write and direct your own scripts, you pretty much always have something you're working on. When you are not writing you are directing and when you are not directing you are writing. It's a never ending cycle. A fun but never ending one.
It's been one week now since I finished my first draft. One thing I like to do between draft is relax my mind and try to let my brain roam far away from the story I'm writing. I try to forget it. I think it's a great thing for writers to try to step away from the material for a week or two between drafts. Forget it as much as possible. Let yourself drift away from it. Of course you need to have the time line allowing it, but if you do, you should take the time off. It will help you come back with a set of fresh eyes for the material. Don't allow yourself to become so overwhelmed in the writing that you can no longer see what you created objectively.
One way to not become so engulfed is to find things to do between draft.
I find that watching movies is a great way to distract yourself. For the past weeks or probably months, you have been hammering on that keyboard non-stop. Maybe spilling ink or scratching led, if you are a screenwriter, watching movies might be a great thing for you to do in between drafts. Since you should be passionate about movies (PLEASE BE IF YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE WRITING THEM...) you should use all the time you can on watching movies. Watch old, new, blockbusters, indies, foreign, good, bad.... anything you can get your hands on. Don't watch the same sort of thing over and over.
If you write novels, watching movies can also be a good way for you to escape reality and touch on another sort of storytelling art form. Plus... Movies are fun! :-)
Reading books is also a great way to escape. It allows you to relax and take your mind away from what you have been writing. Be careful to not let your reading affect too much your writing when you get on your next draft... It's okay to be inspired but don't let a sudden style emerge from a novel and transform your screenplay... unless you are aware of it and accept it.
As writers, it's easy to sink into fast food, soda pop, chips and a sedentary lifestyle. I highly recommend writers to try to exercise regularly even through a busy schedule... But between draft is a great time to pick up a good habit. Run three times a week, lift weights, practice a sport, join a small competitive league, sign up to a gym, etc. If you can pick up a new habit at this time, it might be something that ends up stimulating your creativity once you start writing again. Multiple studies show that being physically active during creative work can stimulate your brain and increase the flow of ideas!
Here are just a few things you can do between your drafts. The most important thing is that you stay active and do things slightly constructive if possible. I would strongly advise against brain melters: Reality Television, Celebrity Gossip and such. Of course a little of that stuff is cool but don't over do it or you might see your creativity going way down!
Good luck on your next draft and enjoy the time off!!!! :-)