British Comedy Guide

Writing Discipline

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anksta

  • Sunday 23rd June 2013, 3:41pm
  • London, England
  • 1 posts

Alright guys, I've been a member here for a while I think but only making my first post now.

Been writing for a few years now, got a bit of progress with the BBC and had some encouraging feedback etc but lately I'm finding my discipline and desire to put pen to paper is beginning to wane, it's not a writer's block so much as writer's ambivalence, does anyone else get this?

I'm hoping that this is just a phase and it will pass and I can go back to being the anxiety ridden creature I was just a few short happy months ago, scribbling notes at 3am and sacrificing any semblance of a personal life to sit at my computer for 8 hours on a summer Saturday.

I think it's because the last time I was overwhelmed by the need for immediate progress on something, I tried really hard to get somewhere with a short film script that I've had for about a year or so which I've had read before at the LCW that went really well.

After a few days of verging on panic I got in touch with these guys at a production company who said they'd be up for making it and would let me direct and all sorts of other good stuff that proper made me chuffed, I then used that to comfort myself as a definitive sign of progress.

But as that waned and I've had a handful of very ambivalent emails from the guys pushing back a potential meeting (which I know will only be a meeting to discuss having a meeting) to at least next month, my patience is thinning and with that, my desire to write.

Anyone else have trouble with this sort of thing? Just losing interest in stuff, does it come back?

I've never been one for 'writing 1000 words a day' or any of that sort of firm discipline as I think you end up in a guilt cycle doing that, writing 1200 words of tripe after missing 3 days and using that as justification not to do any more for another 3 days but I'm going to try and start doing one productive thing with my writing a day whether it's posting on here or reading one of my other scripts or finding competitions to enter, all that good stuff.

Who can help me out?

Cheers

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Lazzard

  • Sunday 23rd June 2013, 4:39pm [Edited]
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,770 posts

First, make sure you have enough projects on the go - ideally at different stages of development.
Be disciplined with how you 'manage' your projects.
Filing cabinets, hard-drive, notebooks - whatever - get it in order and know where stuff is.
The vey act of sorting things out can get you motivated.
Don't be scared of working on more than one thing at a time - that way you can do the kind of work you want that session i.e. planning, research, pages, re-writes, edits - whatever.
Switching between vastly different projects is good for the brain and the cross-fertilisation can rub off on both pieces.
Write out of order - if there's a scene you really want to write, but you have a load of heavy lifting/ exposition type stuff to wade through first, sod it, write the fun bit.
It's a lot easier to connect the fun bits afterwards (nod to Joss Whedon for that one).
An old chestnut is stop writing when you know what you're going to do next - not when you're stuck.
Never be dreading the next days work.
But you should do something everyday that pertains to writing.
That might just mean browsing the writers blogs or designing a poster for your would-be project.
And revel in the fact that you can do something a lot of people can't.

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Teddy Paddalack

  • Sunday 23rd June 2013, 5:44pm [Edited]
  • Everton, England
  • 3,190 posts

Great reply as per usual Mr Lazzard, it prompted me to lift my head and do a few sketches today.

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George Kaplan

  • Sunday 23rd June 2013, 9:22pm
  • England
  • 4,716 posts

Excellent practical tips from the Laz.

As regards motivation, I think I got huge benefits when I started out from doing classes and workshops, and attending events/conferences, though they were much much cheaper then.

As well as writing courses/workshops, I took loads of acting classes even though I had no intention at all ever of being an actor. It was purely to help with my writing.

Meeting people face-to-face on a regular basis who have similar interests and goals helps emotionally and psychologically, I reckon.

The mainly young actors all had their individual goals too - short and long term. Getting into a top drama school for instance, or setting up their own Fringe companies and putting on productions. So it was fun to watch their progress.

The second acting course I took also directly lead to an opportunity to write a play for the group, which we then took up to the Edinburgh Fringe. I probably learnt the most I ever have from that first experience. And that then spurred me on.

Also, I wouldn't get too hung up about the film co who have cooled down to some extent. Could be for any number of reasons. And it happens all the time, so you need to be able to not let it knock you back too much.

On the plus side, these days it shouldn't be too hard to make a short yourself.

Again, I took film and video classes later on, and on my video course I made a documentary that gave me a platform to apply for and get local funding to make my next piece.

Above all, you make contacts/friends who can really endure.

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evaBS

  • Tuesday 25th June 2013, 1:27pm
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 7 posts

This is a very relevant situation. And you will experience similar things over and over again. We human beings are motivated by others, and we can't escape that. Assholes in film are common, actually finding good people is more than half of it. So you had a bad experience, and now you have to find some new people to work with, because everything is about trust. And you can't trust these people, but you are likely worried because leaving means starting all over.

From my experience that is what it is all about. Ambivalence and second agendas are poison to any creative process. So finding people you enjoy working for or with will give you all the motivation back. No shortcuts there.

Sorry for my funny English, I am a foreigner to explain the reason.

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Jakob Jensen

  • Tuesday 25th June 2013, 9:55pm
  • Denmark
  • 201 posts

some great tips here.

-Work mainly on writings you find interesting or fun.
-Build a network of people in writing. Being around writers keeps you involved in writing.
-write something everyday.

good luck

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Chappers

  • Tuesday 25th June 2013, 10:00pm
  • Surreyish., England
  • 31,247 posts

Also good to have a writing partner as you motivate each other and don't want to let the other one down - unless you're trying to write with Charley.

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Holders80

  • Wednesday 26th June 2013, 2:52pm
  • Leeds, England
  • 16 posts

Great advice from Lazzers there. I find that I go through this kind of thing. I try to make sure I have a few things on the go at any one time as I have a short concentration span and seem to be full of enthusiasm for something and then it goes. I think it's a bit of self-destruction too. I kind of have in the back of my head the fear of failing and by not doing it in the first place I'm proving myself right.
But I can recognise this and work through it, by just writing anything, even a blog post. I also know that I need a deadline so I enter competitions etc.