Happy Friday and Happy Fall!
I associate this time of year with going back to school, and always loved getting back into a routine. The structure makes me more productive.
Although I write every day, now that fall’s here, I want to up the ante: I want to control being able to be creative whenever I write. But sitting at my desk at 9:00 AM waiting for that jolt of inspiration to hit me, will not produce results. It is up to me to create a regular space and have tricks to get myself going. So when I first sit down to work, I check in to see how I feel.
If I’m not feeling inspired, I just write that down. “I’m just not inspired today.” It’s much better than staring at the blank page and feeling the blood pool between my ears!
Then I ask myself, “So what would it take to get me inspired?“ I find that this question generally unlocks my creativity.
By writing out possible answers to this question, using a timer set for 10 minutes, I find myself moving effortlessly into whatever project I was supposed to be inspired about.
Try it! If this technique does not work for you, and you’re still sitting at your desk feeling dull, try this:
Sometimes what’s blocking your creativity is that you’re angry or upset. The cure is to express these feelings on paper. There’s a bonus here, you’ll find great scene material.
Here’s an old homily from my dear, departed friend Gene Gendlin , “It’s OK to kill someone, as long as they’re not in the room!” And it’s also OK to express hurts, betrayal and disappointment.
By letting your emotions rip on paper, you will often find that later when you’re trying to write a scene and find the right emotions you inadvertently pre-nailed it in your warm-up writing!
Another way to use this technique is when you’re working on a scene and you don’t actually know how your characters are going to respond. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and writing in the first person express what’s bothering one character and then repeat the process for the other. It’s amazing how when you combine an emotion you actually feel with the actions that your character has to perform, the work has so much power and authenticity.
To recap: Use these techniques to control your creativity and keep on track, whether you need general inspiration or to get deeper into your characters.
Congratulations to Lara Slife! Her film Born to Lead: The Sal Aunese Story is airing today on the CBS Sports Network. Lara and I first met when she participated in my Writing the Half Hour Pilot class through NYWIFT. I wish her the best!