GET OBSESSED WITH TRAINING
I’ve always thought that there are many analogies between filmmaking and martial arts. Directors certainly love these comparisons. They like to see themselves as warriors of some sort.
I’ve recently finished writing the first draft of the screenplay for my kung fu movie. This is just the beginning of a process that I know will take many months.
How do we keep our interest throughout that whole time? It’s no easy task.
The process of writing is one of the hardest things I’ve learned how to do.
A lot of writers try to communicated this to the reader by telling them something profound about how it’s them staring down a blank piece of paper. “You have to face the page alone,” they say.
And I guess that’s a fair way to describe it but it’s also a circumstance that most people don’t understand. So most people tune out.
I’m going to try and equate it to something that’s closer to your experience. Now mind you, I’m not trying to make a comparison in terms of saying that one thing is just as important as the other. I’m just using an analogy that you will hopefully understand.
Imagine that you were raising kids, lets say three, on your own. Now add to that the fact that every day you are reminded that you may not really love these kids after all.
I know, I know, you love your kids. This is just a hypothetical. Imagine you’re not sure you do. That would add to the difficulty of raising them, don’t you think?
Actually, you’re certain sometimes they don’t love you back. Sometimes you’re not sure they’re YOUR kids. They might not be kids at all. They might be adults posing as kids just to confuse you.
Well, that’s what it feels like to be a writer. You’re doing something hard, you don’t know if you like it. You don’t know if it likes you. You don’t even know if it’s your, or if it’s worth reading at all.
Those who end up being great parents deserve the recognition I suppose. It’s a hard enough job as it is.
I write with a Dixon Ticonderoga Black pencil. I got the idea from a Stephen King novel, “The Dark Half” I think it was.
The main character writes with Berol’s Black Beauties. I looked for those. They were a little too hard to find. The Ticonderogas were there so I grabbed those. Been in love with them ever since.
It’s the feel of them in my hand, the smell, the little shavings of rubber the eraser leaves.
Most of all, I love the color. I have about 20 of them in a jar on my desk. They look so good together like that. They’re a life line.
Whenever I feel lost, I can always grab one of those pencils and I know I’m grabbing something I love. It’s important to have these things as a writer.
I dare say, it’s important to have these little things as a martial artist as well. Training is hard and long. It’s easy to get lost.
Each one of the articles I write for this blog, I write first on a legal pad with one of those Ticonderoga pencils. Only then do I type it up.
I guess you can say it’s part of my process. As a process I’ve learned to fall in love with it.
About 80% of the shit I end up writing never sees the light of day. I’m its only reader.
That’s okay by me as long as I get to use one of my pencils.
The numbers don’t bother me, because every minute I spent writing, whether somebody reads it or not, is a minute I spent doing something I loved.
When it’s going hard, I’m sure it’s only the sound of my pencil, whispering to me, as it scratches its tinny marks on the paper, that keeps me going. At least I have that.
When you’re a writer, every little goes a long way.
This is just part of what it takes to do this job, affection for a writing implement. It’s what it takes to do any hard job I think. At least to do it well.
Love of it won’t make you great, but at least you’ll be doing it with some kind of verve.
Find those things in your training. They’ll keep you on track and focused. They’ll make all the difference. When you feel lost or discouraged, reach out and grab one of those pencils, or whatever it is that floats your boat. Cheers.
Perhaps there’s something profound in there somewhere.