Friday, May 18, 2012

Dealing with the Dreaded Writer's Block

I saw a witty quote on Twitter a couple of days ago that went along the lines of:

“Writer’s block – when your imaginary friends aren’t talking to you.”

It made me laugh because there is some truth to that. Now, I have been writing, just not the thing I should be namely a low budget thriller feature script. This is strange to me as there is a detailed Beat Sheet that was battered back and forth between myself and the director as well as discussed at some length before I even opened a new Final Draft file. I have written the opening and had intended doing a “vomit draft” to get everything down before refining it with the director’s feedback. Ain’t been happening - long stretches of nothing, nada, nix, zilch. Don’t know why. I suspect it’s because the story has been germinating in the dark recesses of my brain somewhere… until I can hear all those imaginary new friends talking to me.

In the meantime I have been reading a lot of local scripts from shorts to a feature and even a television pilot. Giving notes and feedback, written and in person; taking plenty of meetings and generally been creative in terms of brainstorming ideas and discussing storytelling. I also unexpectedly met a young, enthusiastic writer and have taken on a de facto mentor role which I’m really enjoying. Her energy, passion and eagerness to learn is quite infectious.

This brew appears to have kick-started my own urge to start working on the feature again. I’m sure other writers might understand this – there is a nagging sensation at the back of my mind where ill-formed but recognisable glimpses of the film I wish to write are intruding with increasing regularity. It’s hard to explain but I love that sensation. It means I’m ready to write.

Computer optional :-)
But here’s the thing – normally I would be tapping away on my netbook but not this time. This time it wants to come out the old-fashioned way, in longhand with pen and paper. So there are new scenes appearing, scrawled on the back of the printed pages already in Final Draft; in notepads; and basically on whatever is available. What do I care, as long as it’s leaving my imagination and taking shape in words! I actually like writing this way – being very creative as it pours out then more analytical as you type it up and play with it a little.

The moral of the story? For me, it’s to keep being creative even if you’re not writing. Surround yourself with creative people. Let the passion for their stories reignite yours. Keep thinking story and reading scripts and brainstorming ideas. Sooner or later those ‘imaginary friends’ will want to come out to play. 

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