Posted by Jeanette McDuffie
I have a confession...I struggle with being creatively blocked. Often. It is a roadblock that is affecting my growth as a filmmaker. Ideas are cute, but execution is everything. I’m a natural born daydreamer. I love to be broad and limitless. However, if you want to be a working creative, you have to be disciplined in your craft. I used to feel like inspiration had to strike me. I wasted a lot of time thinking that I had to be in the mood to be brilliant and words would find me. Nope. To work as a creative you have to step towards the ideas. Honing in on what you aim to express requires increasing levels of focus and deep inner stillness. Accessing your creativity is like working a muscle.
I’ve learned that creation is a function of the present. It’s easy to get lost inside your head and try to strategize creating the perfect script, film, painting, song, or collection before you start. Those that finish realize that the project lives in the moment. Formation is a moment by moment process. You have to turn yourself over to the journey.
Since being blocked is a challenge for me, I decided to ask a few friends what works for them. Here’s the first in a series of their responses:
JOSEF SAWYER, Writer, Being Mary Jane
For me when I'm blocked it's always one thing. I'm blocked because I'm trying to write something and write something good.
The block comes because I'm not willing to write down a bad idea and work my way to a good one.
And being blocked isn't bad. A lot of times you have a flaw in your story design, something doesn't make sense, or your gut is telling you that's not the story you're trying to tell.
But I find once you do put something down, walk away from it for a couple of hours or a couple of days, once you come back and review it, you can work your way to a better idea.
Also now writing professionally, I think writers underestimate how many woman and man hours it takes to come up with even a bad to okay first draft.
I've sat around the table with 5 our 6 other writers with maybe 70 years writing experience in one room and been stuck on a story for weeks.... It's fucking harrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd.
But if you keep putting down bad ideas and rewriting them, eventually you're going to fail your way up to a better idea...
That's the only way writing is done, is to fail upward.