Film Courage: Let’s talk about inconsistency for creatives, versus the people that are so on the nose and so concise, but maybe they have lost some of the creative flair? I happen to see a lot of people who are inconsistent and are incredibly creative and actually have brilliant ideas, they just don’t follow-up on them. And on the flipside, the ones who actually do follow-up…sometimes the creativity or flair still needs to be fleshed out. How do you nurture both types?
Lee Jessup: Well you really have to look at writing as a job rather than a muse, right? Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander talk about how they wrote The People v. O. J. Simpson and Larry Flynt. and a whole bunch of biopics and bio dramas. And they talk about this is a job and we go into work even when we don’t feel it. And some days the writing is great and some days it is horrible but it’s the work.
Sometimes you have to write through a lot of horrible pages to get to some good pages. I’m a big believer in that. Sometimes you have to try something different. So it’s staying agile and open to the different ways to access creativity. Sometimes it’s rejecting creativity and just going for inspiration and through inspiration getting back to creativity. But you have to accept that what works on one script will likely not work on the next. And so you always, always, always have new tricks to try in your writing, new ways to access the work, new methodology to follow, new things that will inspire you.
You know, that if nothing else, you go and do something for fun because fun begets motivation. So whether your fun is dancing or hiking or jogging on the beach or whatever it is, you usually come back pumped up and excited.
That said, creativity is tough to always channel so a lot of my writers rely on meditation, on regular workouts, on tracking systems to set their expectations for what they are going to create and when.
A lot of self-journals, a lot of goals and targeting so that at some point your system begins to understand that you have to show up whether you feel like it or not.
Film Courage: What are those tracking systems? That’s really interesting.
Lee Jessup: There is something called SELF Journal that a lot of my client’s use that is a planner, a task driven planner with short-term goals and long-term goals. A lot of writers rely on systems like Pomodoro that requires 25-minute sessions. So it really varies and depends on the writer. But every writer finds their path. So some writers write for page count. Some writers write for hour count. You have to find what is your comfortable space. To write three pages at a time or six pages at a time or three hours at a time. What can you meet and what can you meet consistently? Because it’s kind of like going to the gym. The first few days are going to be really, really hard. Especially when you haven’t been in a little while. On day 13, 14, 15 you are going to hit your stride and if you keep going then you are going to be fine. And it’s the same with writing. You just have to keep doing it in order to get comfortable with it. The beginning is always going to feel rusty and clunky. By the end, you are going to be hitting your stride.
Question for the Viewers: What tools or practices help you write?
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