Sometimes, the creative juices don’t flow. They don’t go away, they don’t disperse, they just don’t flow. They build, they back up, and they create an overwhelming sense of impotence and powerlessness. When this happens for me, I can’t write or draw or even come up with a half-way decent story, no matter how many times I try to go BIC. This leads to a pervasive sense of mild depression that infiltrates every part of my life, leading to ever greater circles of uselessness.
You know how some people write their best work when they’re depressed? That is SO not me.
I write my best work – and certainly most of my work – when I’m happy. That’s not to say my work presents something happy (such as the “Cul de Sac” story, which you can see a snippet of in Writing Samples), but the state of happiness is what is known in nautical circles as my “ballast“.
It didn’t occur to me like this until this morning that this was how I worked. It also occurred to me that not all ballasts are created equal.
Last week, I think I found a ballast. Thursday night, I cranked out a twelve-page short screenplay, totally out of nowhere, that went from vague concept to finished first draft in under three hours. The same night, I came up with another amazing idea that will get written out as soon as I have just a couple of hours to type it up – another short screen-play idea. And then there’s this other idea that I have that needs a little more gestation, but it’s already started…
I know I’ve been prolific in the past. Hell, I’m pretty sure that I haven’t won NaNoWriMo in several years because it’s just not that big of a challenge. (“Middle of Nowhere”, of about 100K words, was written in about three weeks, if you count that my January 15 to February 15 range included a whole week of NOT writing.) It’s been long enough, though, that feeling those ideas bouncing around in my head is refreshing, like going back to your favorite park from your childhood and finding it even better than before.
For all the world, it looks like this could be a lasting arrangement, too, or at least provide enough material to keep me going to a good long while. To my new ballast – thanks. 😉