Tomorrow is the midpoint of winter known as Groundhog Day in the U.S. and Canada, and I want to re-watch one of my favorite movies, the quirky time-travelling romance of the same name, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.
Groundhog Day‘s plot is deceivingly simple: a brash, obnoxious TV weatherman alienates co-workers, old acquaintances and complete strangers while on location when he finds himself in a time loop and can’t escape the time-space confines of Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Early in the film, he hits on his beautiful producer, mostly to stab his cameraman in the back. But as Phil Connors repeats the same minor holiday, he slowly turns into a better person, and falls deeply in love with Rita.
Is there a better metaphor for re-writing? We’re often brash, obnoxious writers during our first drafts, looking for gold and digging up dirt on our characters. Our writing is clumsy, and we don’t know our setting or our characters very well. But as we go back over the same scenes over and over, we learn more and more about what the story is. We turn into better writers, and we turn the words on the page into something more meaningful. And best of all, what starts as a crush on an idea turns into a deep love for a mature story.
Six weeks until spring, folks, if the groundhog sees its shadow. And if it doesn’t it’ll only be a month and a half. What can you get done before spring?