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How do you stay objective about your material after reading and re-reading it so many times?

I got this question recently:

“I wrote my first screenplay and at first loved it. After reading it for the 900th time, I find it very boring. Is it normal for writers to experience this?”

Yes. This is quite normal. I experience this with every screenplay I write. What you’ll find though is after writing a few screenplays and reading them a few thousand times, you’ll start to be a better judge of what is actually good and what isn’t. It might not seem original or fresh anymore but you’ll have an intellectual understanding of what is working and what isn’t even if it is no longer interesting to you.

You should be getting notes from people on your material and this is a great way to tell if your instincts are right. If you start to feel like a scene isn’t working and other people are telling you the same thing, than that means it’s probably something you should look at and perhaps rewrite.

Also, I have found myself finishing first drafts and then letting the material sit for a while. Sometimes months, and sometimes years. Then you can go back to it with fresh eyes. My writing partner and I recently optioned a screenplay, and we felt exactly the same way you did, at first we loved the idea and everything about the script but by the end of the writing process we were ready to throw it all in the trash. It’s now optioned and the producers want us to do rewrites. It’s been well over a year since we finished the version we sent them so we’re now excited and ready to take another pass at this material. You might try and just put your material away for a few months, work on something else, and then go back to it after you’ve had time to get some distance from it.