My friend, Adam or as he is known in the art world, Adco, has a show tonight (Quixote Studios in West Hollywood). Can't wait! We had a conversation recently where I said something - I don't know what now but it had to do with believing in one's self - and he told me about an article he read where the artist Marilyn Minter was asked what she would have advised her younger self:
"Don’t disregard your gifts. The art world is going to challenge you enough, don’t make it any harder on yourself; stick with your strengths. If something comes easily to you, don’t dismiss it, explore and expand on it rather than trying to force it into the prevailing zeitgeist." -Marilyn Minter
We see finished pieces of art, writing - we hear music on the radio, on the stage, and we are astounded by greatness. We stand awestruck at the museum and see the sculpture or we read the writing and get chills. The finished piece. It all seems so seamless. So smart. So exactly right. Perfection. How it inspires us but also at times, arrests us. Getting to the finish line and not being intimidated by the finished works of our idols is our battle and half of that battle is won by appreciating what we already come to the table with on any given day.
Just because something seems easy or natural to you doesn’t mean it is weak—listen to your inner voice. -Marilyn Minter
Please, appreciate your gifts. Utilize them. Write down what your strengths are and put it where you can see it. Do use what you've got. Relish in it. Own it. Celebrate it. Improve upon it! If you don't, the world might be hard-pressed to notice what you want to say while you struggle to be a square peg wedging yourself into a round hole. It's one thing to challenge ourselves and stretch creatively. It's another to ignore what we came into the world with.
Why discount what you can do simply because you can do it? That doesn't make much sense.
I suppose that's why they call it a sin. Too Catholic for my taste but it would be a shame, for sure not to let the world see that which makes you strong.
Bestow your gifts!
This is mainly for script writers but you know, if it helps anyone else, go for it. By the way, I know the prevailing wisdom in blogging is to write and write without giving away the tip you’ve teased about until like the fourth paragraph in and then just marginally. There’s obviously a decent strategy there and nothing against that style but because that bugs me when I’m on the receiving end, I’m not going to do that here.
So I have found when I cast a character, it helps when I’m writing whether while breaking the story or in the script. But that’s a no-brainer. Many of us do that when we’re writing. But my cast is like the New York Times Book Review question of If you could invite any writer to dinner, dead or alive, who would be at your table? (my answers change so frequently it’s ridiculous and yes, I answer it. The Proust Questionnaire in Vanity Fair is my favorite. Today, my least favorite quality in a woman is jealousy, just FYI). Anyway…
My suggestion is to ask you that same question but the table is your screenplay so…
Who’s going to be in your movie, dead or alive?
In a recent thing I was working on, I said to my partner, Well, he’s like Dom Delouise, circa when he and Burt Reynolds were making movies. In another project (solo) I was like John Candy. Definitely John Candy. Late 80’s. I don’t just love chubby geniuses, or do I? You could do a hell of a lot worse.
Point is, let your imagination run wild. Despite all cynicism and realism about “this business” and “It’s so hard to sell anything…” blah blah blah meh, this makes it real in the moment I’m writing - colorful and vibrant and it honors all the greats, current or past, who’ve inspired me and well, you know, simply put, it’s fucking fun.
Just a teensy trick that’s really joyous and why the hell not? Too often people complain to me about writing. How it’s painful, arduous, so blank-page-angsty. Etcetera. Etcetera. So make it a little less painful. There are things to do. I got a whole bag of tricks to
I mainly write scripts but sometimes I don't want to do an outline and feel unprepared to write a scene. I like knowing exactly what's supposed to happen in a scene before I dig in. To avoid stagnation, my methods as to how to keep moving forward vary. One thing that works when I want to feel the story more and get in there more is I choose a different form to write my story. So if for example you are a novelist but are having a hard time with a scene, you could write it out script form, as if it were a movie. Just a scene - not the whole bloody thing. And if you're a script writer, write it out like a short a story. So for example, Episode One is a short story, Episode Two is the second one, and so on. In one screenwriting course before I wrote my script, the teacher had us write the movie trailer. It was a great idea, fun, and I realized I had more of a story than I initially thought. It motivated me and we can all use a little extra motivation.
So go into a new form for a beat just to set fire to your ideas, your characters and you might see your world even more realistically. There's the potential to notice nuances you wouldn't have seen otherwise. Might work for a beat in terms of getting your characters down, your story down, and it could help you get closer to the essence of your idea. And it's fun.
Just a tip. Hope it helps! Good writing to you!
p.s. GO OPRAH! Talk about motivation. Jeez Louise!
Is it lame to do New Year's Resolutions? Sure, you can think that. You can talk your way out of every avenue towards motivation if you want to. But I totally believe in setting intentions.
And while the definition of resolve is to firmly define a course of action, it doesn't mean you can't digress in the future about that plan. Even the end game can change as long as the goal is triumph over inaction.
Today I have set my intentions in terms of my writing. I know what I want done by March. I know what I want done by June. And I know what I want done by September. Does that mean I'll not have other ideas? What if I don't achieve my goals? Are these plans realistic?
Gotta go back to Who gives a shit? Really. I'm setting myself up to win because I am consciously looking at my life, my schedule and my desire to create and express and I'm going with it. That's all it takes. I am resolved. If I get to these goals differently than I today imagine I should get to them, that's fine. Doesn't matter. What I do know is I want to achieve and accomplish finished pieces of writing this year and therefore it will happen.
That's why I like New Years Resolutions. You get clear about what you want and the resolutions are votes of faith in yourself you can be all that you can be (no army inference intended).
If I believe this for me, I certainly believe it for you, too. One tip that might be helpful, find a buddy to check in with. Set up a way to check in on a regular schedule about one writing goal and all the little daily and/or weekly goals that are part and parcel towards getting you to that finish line. A trudging buddy is a great way to keep you accountable, have an audience who gets it, and that person is a trusted comrade in arms who is on board and wants you to gloat when you have small and big wins.
WHICH YOU WILL!
I'm excited about this year's possibilities when it comes to writing for me and for you. When it comes to everything else like politics and junk? I can't say. But as for writing, a lot is achievable, the finish line exists and if we're resolved to get to it, then we can get to it.
Writer, Writing Coach, Writer Supporter.