Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Writing with Confidence

My friend (S.) was worrying me. He was dating and wildly infatuated with another man (T.) who lived nearby and he suspected that T. was seeing other men. If he called T. after work or in the early evening and T. wasn’t home, he would camp out across the street from T.’s house to see T. come home and if he came home alone.

Two things struck me about my friend. First: He was out of control. He was stalking T. often and losing sleep. And second: He was investing all this time and energy to see what he did not want to see! That struck me as totally crazy— to work so hard to find a reason to be mad at the person with whom he was so infatuated.

S. was working at cross-purposes to his objective and my friends have made me realize that have I been doing the same thing: Obsess about the past that causes me so much pain. Stupid!
And speaking of obsessing…. That’s exactly what I have always done with my creative projects. They would overtake me. So when my play closed this past April and I started telling friends that I was not talking on any new projects, they all said essentially the same thing: “Just wait, one will emerge, you can’t live without a project.”

Now it seems to me that what they were really saying was, “You need an obsession.” Yet soon, I will have passed a year without having a major project. Or so I have been saying.

In fact. I have had a project. I have made oblique references to it here on this blog. But I am not obsessing about it, I am not even discussing it here on my blog as I usually do with my projects.

In the past, I would declare an objective. I’d say, “I am going to write a play about this and it is going to be produced here and then.” By announcing the plan, I put pressure on myself to deliver . I did this all my life and it worked excellently as a disciplinary methodology. I am the polar opposite of a procrastinator.

Now, though, I am engaged in the process — not the outcome. And I am rewarded every day by the satisfaction I derive. I am confident (and not surprised) that I am learning more about writing than ever before. I also suspect I am writing better than ever before. I have passed a threshold and I know it. 

The difference is the confidence that has come from selling the screenplay for Uncle Gus’ Monkey to Convergent. It was both my first experience with speculative writing and my greatest source of pride and success. Hence the confidence.

What I like best about my writing now is that I have taken a BIG step is away from autobiography. I am venturing farther into fiction than ever before and it excites me even though no one may ever see or hear it.

When my play closed in April I thought: “Holy shit I go to a lot of effort to get attention.” Those words, said to myself, changed the course of my life for the better. The proof of the pudding is this current project and my approach to it.

To celebrate: Another photo dump of lovely images that ignite my imagination.

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