I am writing this to support all writers and the art of writing in a way that works best for the individual writer.
All jobs from the highest to the lowest require craft if we take the time to see it in action but creativity comes from the individual who creates space for themselves to be free. The great philosopher Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein gave up his fortune to work as a porter at Guy’s hospital in London. Albert Einstein recognised that his science was not a set of rules but creativity through imaginative thinking. It is hard to see these great ways of thinking for ourselves in our daily lives especially when everything is boxed in uniformly to a one size fits all. Yet all of us inside know that we are different and yet the same. This is the paradox. The trick is to do what works for you as an individual.
Roles often box in creativity and open the door to the ego – leaving us to do one of two things – fear failure or desire success. I recall when I played hockey, a violent game for a small and thin child. Everyone was surprised that I excelled. I was extolled for each success, invariably these moments were almost always followed by mistakes and subsequent failure. I was introduced to the word expectation which later followed me and began to stalk my writing. Once I discovered ‘expectation’. I took out an injunction. I realised expectation needed to be released from me as much as I did it. I feel so much lighter because expectation comes with baggage. Expectation carries guilt and criticism – all facets of the ego. These were not aids to help me write or serve my needs. These aspects are wonderful human frailties to explore in my scripts but not in the development of craft.
It was important for me to find out what held me back as a writer. It was hard and I struggled but the freedom from expectation has allowed me to find my own working methodology, write and develop my own ideas and find new ways to tell stories. Personally for me, my study of films has taught me two things that work for me but may not for others because everyone is different. I need to study great inspiring cults and classics but do occasionally watch other movies. I realised that works that do not follow the classic form creatively drain my inspiration. However, a partner I write with, watches these non-classic form films and loves to rewrite them to fit the form. These are two different people working to achieve the same goal but think and operate differently. It is important to note that non-classic films are not wrong but they do not serve my personal entertainment and emotional needs or my craft development. But they may work for others and the art is to discover what forms works for us and why. The works of Joseph Campbell and Aristotle helped me understand why the classic form speaks to me. I now look for music, art, theatre and movies that follow and creatively expand and develop the classic form. We as writers must discover what inspires us as readers and audience members and then we can pursue our bliss fearlessly.
I believe technique can be taught but individual craft has to be learned experientially. Imagination is actually making space or being allowed the space to be different. This is why I believe screenwriting cannot be taught but has to be nurtured.
I believe it is important to acknowledge and accept different ways of thinking and expressing creativity in our writing. My first book on scriptwriting was by Lew Hunter. His caring approach sensitised me to what was needed. I had to be a human being first and a writer second. I never thanked him but I am forever grateful. I have learned to nurture myself first and now hope my understanding will help nurture others in a way that allows them to be different and not be hard on themselves. Nurture the best of what we are and let the rest be until it can be changed.
If you are a writer, I hope you are able to find the imaginative space to develop your own craft in your way and with the form you choose but hope you will understand and accept that others must have room to choose their own path and devise their own working methodology.
To being different, it’s ok to be different and to all flowering and established writers and artists. I send my best wishes.