I hit a wall, creatively speaking that is. I lost my mojo, my confidence, the ability to write coherent sentences. I suddenly found more insight from internet trolls than my own words. For the past two weeks I sat and stared at my computer screen, notebook, or the sky waiting for inspiration to strike. Words were elusive. Ideas were shot down before they took off and I descended deep into the cone of shame.
I couldn’t even write blog posts.
The thing about writing, creative pursuits, or hell, life in general is the moment confidence cracks the whole wall crumbles. I couldn’t write, because I didn’t think I could write. Not a fun place to be.
Last night I was in a funk. It was date night, so that made the first hour lots of fun for my husband. It must be horrible to watch someone being sucked into a vortex of shame, and every line he threw to pull me out, I threw back
At his head.
And then he said, “Why don’t you work on something different?”
My lips quivered with a retort, like I haven’t thought of that. But wait. I haven’t.
He’s on to something.
I keep trying to rework the stories I had. But what if I tried something different. I don’t remember if he joked about it, or what, but the idea of a screenplay latched on to my brain like a parasite of hope.
A screenplay. Huh?
I could write a screenplay. I love dialog, it makes me feel productive, and I don’t have to worry about pesky grammar, showing vs telling, or how to portray emotions on the face without telling the reader what the heck is on a person’s face.
Scripts you can just write what the character does in parentheses. No need to wax poetic. If the character eats a sandwich you get to write “Ed eats a sandwich”
My brain no longer got stuck on where to put the stupid commas. Or how to punctuate the dialog tag. Or what the character was thinking while he ate the sandwich. All I had to do was open my head and dig out the story. Screenwriting pulled me out of the whirlpool of doubt I found myself in.
I can write a story. I can write dialog. This allows me to put them together without worrying about the tiny details that plague a writer’s mind.
I’m not saying I am now trying to write movies. But, getting out of my fiction head for a while allowed me to see I know how to tell a story. A screenplay is an awesome outline for a book without being dragged down by all the things that throw me into a whirlwind of shame. Whirlwind, whirlpool, vortex- see how bad it was?
Don’t stop doing something because you think you can’t at that moment. Step outside your head and change the venue. For a day, week or month, get out of the rut with something new. It will provide the perspective, space, and courage you need to follow a dream.
Now, time for a little writing.