Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Imaginary Stimulus

So, I've been trying to get into the habit of writing this year, and it hasn't happened yet. I haven't been good about setting aside time everyday, like Anne Lemott tells us, or even Martin Amis. I've gotten some time freed up now, but it seems to go to other endeavors (like blogging. Pfft, if only I were that diligent). I've been carrying a notebook, and that does help. I get a few funny jokes in there. I have thought of a few good ideas but none in solitude.

Which makes me wonder. Most of the good jokes/ideas I've ever come up with are in the presence of someone, be it during conversation and joking around or being inspired suddenly by a combination of words that set your mind a-wondering. When I wrote by myself in college, weed often played a role in getting my mind wandering and thinking. But then again, as Julian and Dr. Boozer could tell you, my screenplay sophomore year sucked horribly. I think what I take away from the experience is not that my ideas were so bad, but I just need to practice the craft itself.

The structure of school definitely helped. Being able to boast that I wrote 60 pages of a screenplay is one thing; reading it is another. The idea of turning in assignments, being forced to create, for better or worse, at least got me writing. Nabil and I came up with the idea of pitching each other ideas, and that in itself was a great exercise. Do we want to write any of those ideas? Not necessarily, but it's getting those areas of the brain lit up (if we ever had scans, I'm sure there would be some blah blah blah going on).

But there's a lesson in there. Discipline, practice, honing one's abilities. Having been good at school, you get used to being good at everything the first time around, because you can fake your way through the motions of a lot of things. Film papers are like this. You read one article, you can really wrap your head around the diction and lingo and write like a critic. I've been wanting to read screenplays of films I've admired for a while, but the problem is most of them are shooting scripts, lacking the rough quality of a piece of literature and containing camera movements. But then again, I've never bothered to read those either, so my objections are pointless.

Katie and I, along with some of her lovely family, are going to the beach on Thursday. I'm going to set aside some time (hopefully) and flesh out one idea I've had for a while now. And nothing too intensive, just thinking about some characters and coming up with some story ideas. But this brings me back to my original point: what can I really come up with on my own? I'm still trying to figure all of that out. I guess it's the fear of not having an immediate audience to judge whether your idea is good or not. When talking with friends, you can sense that approval, and you have the confidence to move forward with that idea. On your own, that's another story.

1 comment:

Becca said...

School really does spoil your ego, huh? It's easy to spit out a paper, but creative writing has always been a challenge. Props to you for tackling that!