Oh, sure. It’s all well and good when you first get the go-ahead, and even better when you type FADE OUT, but everything in between can be a solitary, interminably frustrating, dispiriting stretch – especially when the you hit THE WALL. I’m not so much talking about writers’ block, that narrative impasse that is ultimately more psychological than creative, but more a point in the process when you write yourself into a corner. You’ve been motoring along, everything has been falling into place, and then suddenly you realize…you are screwed. Your antagonist’s motivations are murky, your protagonist isn’t proactive enough, the pieces you assumed would fall into place haven’t, and that manic climax you envisioned unfurling to I’m Blue (da ba dee) remains confoundingly elusive.
There’s no figuring it out. Sometimes, it all comes together in mysterious fashion, like Stargate‘s Ripple Effect or Dark Matter‘s All The Time In the World, challenging scripts with complicated set-ups and pay-offs that magically came together when I sat down to write them – don’t ask me how. Other times, like on this latest script, I’m ready to throw in the towel. I love the characters and the scenes and the dialogue but they’re like disparate pieces of an unfathomable puzzle. And unlike the aforementioned other scripts that, while important, were not going to make or break things for me, THIS script could be the difference between a series green light and a giant missed opportunity.
And I have a little over a week to figure it out.
I remember someone once likening art to sculpting and the fact that one isn’t creating but actually freeing what’s inside. Somewhere in that block of granite is the perfect statue and it’s the sculptor’s job to chip away at it until they get as close as possible to perfection. So it is, I believe, with writing. There is an astoundingly fantastic version of this script. I just need to find it.
And time is running out.
25 thoughts on “Writing is a lonely, miserable business”
Put it down, step away, take a deep breath. Don’t doubt yourself. You are a talented, capable, creative person.
Breathe. Just breathe. (Count to four, inhale. Count to four, exhale.) Play some music in the background. Watch some (old) show. And fix one issue at a time.
Deep within you is the answer but first you need to eat something really spicy so it comes forth.
If there is anyone who can pull off a script like that, it’s you! I’m confident that you’ll work that magic that you’re talking about and it will all come together. No pressure, though! 🙂
Good luck man, rock it!! fingers of fury!!!
@Colleen Scott – yeah but what comes forth may not be what Joe wants….
I agree with 2cats… step away and breathe. I’m fortunate enough to have a house full of teenagers, video games, comic books, manga and your typical midlife crisis to give me more than enough distraction that helps!
Even in the darkest night, morning always comes.
Just because you fall doesn’t mean you can’t get up.
Your never alone and we all love your work I made sure to keep up and watch everything I could took time out to enjoy what you created.
When you can’t go through go around and can’t go around go right through. There is always a way.
X X X X X
I know this may sound crazy but how would have Season 6 gone? I wonder are the Furlings in Pegasus? What was that race in Daedalus variations what new ships we’d bring to bare? Plus what plans the Aschen have for us.
Apologies if this ends up appearing as a duplicate comment. When i attempted to post it earlier the internet had apparently cut out here the moment i hit post comment.
While I too am confident you have it within you to get through this, …
Taking into consideration you are running out of time, and simultaneously have your brain weighed down with other work projects, maybe? put the murky motivation of your protagonist out to your blog readers, via a metaphor of some sorts, and see what comes back.? While most of the responses are likely to be comical in nature it may, just perhaps, chip loose the right piece to see a clearer picture of your finished sculpture. ??
Well, nothing more to add about the writer’s state and the difficulty of producing a compelling piece. It’s all in your post. One can just wish you he best courage and strength to overcome it. We all know you can, we’ve seen it these past years in your shows.
OR, you can do what McGyver did with a Manimal steal an old script and rewrite it with new characters. ^^ that works, but it’s not pretty pretty. ^^
Well I believe in you; as do many more. Keep at it and all the best xx
I was lucky enough to have a boss who taught me the importance of what these guys are saying
I was up against a ‘concrete’ deadline, working on something quite complicated and time consuming. I was getting so hett up I could barely see straight. My boss walked in saw what was happening…. and sent me straight home!
I had a bath, walked the dog, ate, watched TV.
Next day I fired up and honestly got that job done in half the expected time!
Oh, and that ‘concrete’ deadline….? Yeah, right…
There’s an old saying
‘There’s always time for a reshoot’…
You’ll be fine 😁
You will find it… As you always do
When you get ‘writers block’ it is because you don’t want to write. In this situation, change the task. Clean the kitchen, vacuum the living room, take the sheets off your bed and put them in the washing machine!
The answers to your problems will come when you least expect it. It’s always so. You’ll be sitting there trying to patch parts up for hours and only polish it that little bit. Then you’ll be sitting having some coffee or something alike and suddenly have a revelation. It’s amazing how the mind works. Fantastic news that everything is moving along though.
That’s the point where I turn it over to a writer friend and ask them what I’m missing. I usually intuitively know the answer, but having someone else frame it in a different way helps me see it much more clearly. Good luck, Joe. You’ll get it figured out, I’m confident.
You nearly broke the internet yesterday with one post! Go out and try a new restaurant (or an old favorite), take the girls for a walk, relax and let the ideals flow!
ask yourself …. ‘What would cookie monster do’?
Chocolate and whisky are always the answer. Unless there’s rum. Then it is always chocolate and rum.
Time for a hot tub toddy,,,or bowl,,,your preference but,,,keep a recorder at hand…why do men void their bowels at the moment of death? ‘Cause you can’t get into heaven if you’re full of shit,,,(like donny…).
I have no doubt you will find the magic piece. You always do. You’ve got this!
I was quite amused by your May 19, 2012 blog entry about blogging … particularly with tip #3 you wrote “when blogging, always try to write something you know nothing about” … LOL
You weren’t referring to your own blog, were you? XD
Thank you for this piece. I don’t feel as lonely now. Back to my script 🙂
Gee, this is exactly how I’ve been feeling about my WIP! You, however, are brilliant and will soon find your way and turn out a marvelous script. Smooooooooooooooth sailing!
Fangirling from afar,
I understand this feeling very well. No matter how successful you are, it happens to you anyway.
I wish I had an easy answer to give you, but I do not.
It will come together for you soon!