How many drafts does it take?

How many drafts are you willing to write to get a successful outcome? Would you be willing to slog through, say, 50 drafts???

That’s how many drafts it took David Seidler, the screenwriter of The King’s Speech, to gain 12 Oscar nominations for his inspiring film about how King George VI overcame his crippling stammer. I found great hope in this nearly perfect movie on three counts.

First: 50 drafts of the screenplay! And I’m complaining about multiple drafts of any document? Thank you, Mr. Seidler, for reminding us that good writing products require rewriting. And feedback. And rewriting.

Second, Seidler achieved more success with this movie than any other endeavor in his 73 years. As he said in a recent Newsweek article, “I’m very happy now, in retrospect, that this kind of success didn’t happen to me early on. It can really bend your head. I would have become very pompous.” In a time when young programmers and inventors make millions, it’s encouraging to know that success may be lurking for those of us who are, ahem, older than the norm.

Third, Seidler used his own experience of being a stutterer in his youth to grace the script with reality. He depicts the real story of how Lionel Logue coached the king-to-be into almost normal speech by confronting the psychological causes of his stuttering. This successful outcome inspires me to believe that I can overcome my own handicaps.

After this trifecta of hopefulness, I am also hoping for an Oscar award’s sweep for The King’s Speech.

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