Thursday, March 20, 2014

Creativity on a schedule

Many moons ago when I was producing pithy 3 minute packages for Television News Magazine shows, my workflow went something like this:

  • Assemble crew and gather footage / interviews on location.
  • Review footage, write script, and choose relevant material for the next day's edit.
  • Have no idea how I was going to direct the edit.
  • Put everything out of my mind, go home, sleep.
  • Wake up the next morning and know exactly what I was going to do for the edit.
  • Walk into the edit suite with a large cup of coffee a bust out a great package in 6 hours.
It was automatic and it worked every single time.  You would think that by now I'd have my creative workflow figured out.  I've worked on creative deadlines all my life and it's never been a problem.  Until now.

My thesis has turned into one hell of a bear to wrassle with. It's an exercise in creative writing and pegging down a multi-threaded narrative.  I have direction or at least I'm pretty sure I know where I'm going with it.  But the actual act of sitting down and writing is proving to be far more difficult than I had originally anticipated.

At first I thought it was a case of working some creaky old muscles I haven't worked in year.  And even through I think the writing is coming along (or a least improving incrementally) it's the act of just sitting down and engaging in a session that's just not getting any easier.

15 years I was younger and had fewer personal responsibilities.  I look back on it now and can't fathom how much free time I had.  And I think that's the crux of my issue.  I need moments of quiet reflection to get my head in the space to process what I need to do and put me in a position to execute. These days I have precious little time.  I have my job which demands the lion's share of the attention day to day.  I have kids.  I have adult responsibilities with adult worries.

Occasionally I get a burst of inspiration and if I'm able I rush over to the nearest computer and can get a fair amount of work done.  Most of the time, though, it's like pulling teeth.  So what's the solution here?  I need to get this done.  I'm making progress, but not as much as I would like.  And it's honestly not a good as I'd like it to be.  Still, IT HAS TO GET DONE.

I suppose I need to make peace with the process and use whatever creative juices dribble out.  And when there's nothing there, just solider on and do the best I can.

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