ProAm Tips #7
Uh… wait. I.. I KNOW I had something for this.
That’s a writer’s joke. Ha.
WARNING- This post is HIGHLY subjective. My opinions are my own, yours are yours. But here’s my two cents.
Writer’s block is an inability to think of the first word. And the second. And the third. And so on. It’s not a block of creativity. If you’re a writer, you’re creative. You don’t STOP being creative. You stop writing. You freeze at the keyboard. You can’t organize your thoughts. You can’t get your hands to make words.
For me, writer’s block stopped being an issue when I realized this truth. I’m still creative. I’m still making up worlds. People. Situations. It’s putting them on paper (or an LCD) that’s the issue. So here’s the truth-
All pumps need priming. (Shut up. Self-priming pumps still fit the definition). You need a little flow to gett he big flow going.
Writing is a purely physical act, whether you’re using a pen, a keyboard, a chalk, or a recorder. (I tried to dictate once… it was weird. I started to talk to myself. That wasn’t weird. The arguing was. I have issues. Shut up.)
You need to prime your pump (that sounded way dirtier than it is.) by introducing a little flow. So introduce a little flow. Get your hands moving. Keep your brain out of it. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Despite being a somewhat unoriginal sign of obsessive-compulsiveness (Kubrick demanded REAL typed pages, hundreds of them, for The Shining. And in the foreign language versions, he demanded hundreds of legitimate, foreign language pages. He was insane. But I bet those typists didn’t have trouble making the words move.) The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy sleeping dog. Now is the time for every good boy to come to the aid of his country.
Sit down, and start writing. Reread the last two pages of your manuscript if it helps you, but you don’t need it. Just start writing. Get your fingers moving. Get words coming out of you. Here’s a big secret:
THEY DON’T MATTER.
Just get them going. Get your mind right. Get your fingers moving. Get going. Write. Write. Write. You’re a writer, you need to write.
It doesn’t matter. Just write. I promise, if you just type, or scribble, or dictate long enough, you WILL find your happy place.
Yeah. That’s a personal guarantee. You WILL get there.
I make no prophecy of the time frame. But if you wander around thinking about why you can’t write, you’re NOT WRITING!
Writers write. You NEED it. You HAVE to do it. The glue in your chair, the hand on the instrument. You HAVE to do it. You fake it til you make it.
If you ever thought you could be a writer, if you ever put a pen, a keyboard, a chalk, or a recorder to use, if you ever wrote something creative, you’re a writer. It doesn’t stop. It doesn’t go away. You don’t just NOT be a writer. Ever.
It’s not that you can’t find the words. The words never went anywhere. They’re always out there.
SO IS THE JOY YOU FOUND AT USING THEM TO CREATE. You can’t give it up.
To quote someone awesome, “You’re hooked, Max! AND YOU KNOW IT!” (I love Fifi. Not every man can pull off a neck scarf and no shirt. Listen to the Fifi. And if you don’t know that reference, there’s nothing I can do for you.)
Sooner or later, you’ll come up with something, and you’ll stop faking it. It’s OKAY to delete your exercises after you find your groove. Sooner or later, you’ll discover that you can use the words again. Push ’em around. Rearrange ’em. Move them around until they make sense to you. They’ll show you the doorway back into creativity. They’ll lead you back to yourself.
To continue that tradition, here’s another great thespian in a horrible movie, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”