Once upon a time, there was a writer who dreamed of writing stories. So he/she decided to come up with this great idea: it was a brilliant idea, one that was already blowing his genius socks off, that he knew would blow everyone’s minds, make him beyond famous…that oscar statue with his monicker on it. The only problem was, every five minutes, his chair would toss him off. It was quite a jerky and uncomfortable chair, reminding him of that phone call he had to make, grocery shopping, that funny kid on youtube, frozen yogurt, his growling stomach, that other funny kid on youtube….
But he was a writer…and writers NEVER give up! So everyday he sat in that chair…and finally, one day the chair stopped moving. Suddenly, his story had become…interesting and taken a life of its own.
And so it is, with every scribe in the world.
‘Plastering your butt’ aka. butt-in-chair is more than an art. It’s the universe telling your overactive brain to not just look up at that gigantic mountain, but to grab those rocks and climb and keep climbing until you are at the very top…or atleast halfway (so you can stop and eat a sandwich).
The chair is our monkey mind, our distractions. And boy, is our world full of distractions. We all have different writing styles – some of us need a coffee shop, some like to watch TV, others like to sit in their rooms with doors shut and challenge our roaming fingers to make sense, type one word, one sentence, one paragraph…
Me? I sit and work in a room all day. Well, ok, maybe not all day – I take breaks, get the occasional yogurt, workout, stretch and pretend to be athletic, gain a few pounds, lose a few pounds..but hey, I do what works for me. Here are 10 things to try:
- Writing with music. (it doesn’t work for everyone and can also be a distraction, but used wisely, it can get you in the mood)
- Writing what interests you, excites you. I know there’s also the ‘writing what you know’ adage but ultimately the point is: it should excite you.
- Telling yourself that it’s all in your mind until it’s on paper (till then, it’s an imaginary pipe dream)
- Finding characters that excite you. Characters you love, even if they are nasty villainous cockroaches that everyone else wants to crush.
- Reading great stories and great screenplays ( a future post on where to find them)
- Telling yourself: ‘it’s a job!’ Because if you are here reading this blog, some tiny molecule in your body is saying, ‘I want to write..or atleast try’ Even if that job comprises of 72 hours a week, an hour or even five minutes a day.
- Imagining your movie as a trailer! Your movie!!
- Watching trailers – who says TV can’t make you productive?
- Watching movies – proceed with caution with this one, but movies ultimately are every screenwriter’s inspiration – so, if you are struggling but still have this innate writing desire that you want to express, I encourage you to go watch a movie…and put your own name up there..and imagine the future glories that could unfold…
So, how do you keep your keester down? Speaking of distractions: benefits (yes!) and pitfalls and how to avoid them (ongoing struggle!) that’s the topic of my next set of posts.