Film Courage: How do you feel on those days when you have no time to work on your writing?
West Liang: I get really depressed. I get depressed…I get self-defeating. I’ve always believed about the parable of the Tortoise and the Hare. I feel like I’m like the tortoise (kind of). I have a really strong, present work ethic, that sometimes gets really annoying. So I have a really bad guilty conscious about not working. So there are certain days where I am not doing any writing or not doing any workshopping and it’s frustrating because you feel like you’re not productive. But I think going back to a bigger kind of frame, I think those moments are important when I do experience writer’s block. I go for a hike and zone out and I spend a day at the beach or I am watching a movie or something. I think a lot of good can come from that. It gives you perspective and distance from the project a little bit and I also think if you are not writing because there is something wrong with the script (the story) or that something else is supposed to happen that you have to think whether it is life things or whether it’s whatever. So I try not to beat myself up too much about it. But I can be very hard on myself, for sure.
Film Courage: Really…that’s interesting. I see that you’d be more easy on yourself.
West Liang: What we are in this business (so many of us) we’re not treated as business owners, we’re not treated as entrepreneurs. We treated as struggling artists. But we are business owners. We each are running our own business with limited staff, with high overhead, with trying to figure out how to make our product different from competitors. And we’re all struggling to find funding. We have to kind of wear that hat with a little more pride. We are business owners and entrepreneurs. And so it is tough for people because you feel like you’re not going to work on that one day. You feel like “Oh no. What’s going on?” I think it’s tough when I feel like I am not being productive.
Film Courage: Do you recognize that when you’re in the moment of that [feeling]? Let’s suppose you have a week coming up where you’re really not going to have time. And you know that and you’re like “Okay…I’m just going to bite the bullet and do what I am going to have to do.” Do you start to recognize it in yourself and go “Oh, gosh…you know what it is [why I feel so badly]? It’s because I’m not working on my creative stuff.”
West Liang: I’ve read a lot of blogs and watched a lot of interviews with other writers who either have the luxury to write every single day because they are being paid to write a certain script or that’s how they work. But I think for me, I’m not sure I’m the kind of writer who writes every day. Maybe I need to be a little bit better about that. But I try to be mindful of what is inspiring to me at the moment and letting that energy build up so I’m not just sitting at a computer staring at a blank page. For me I think sometimes it’s important to stare at a blank page and other times it’s really important to just let that energy build up, build up, and build up so that you have a lot to say and to express and you put it all on the page. I think that is important.
Question for the Viewers: How do you feel when you don’t have time to write?