The seemingly down moments in this business can be turned into the most sobering and uplifting.
Last night I started to picture what a recovery room would look like, full of some of the people whose work I respect and admire. Further, I picture how each of these great talents might have gotten through a few brief minutes of lost self-confidence the easiest way possible. By continuing to work. A writing recovery room is just a state of where you might be feeling while trying to work, and a place where writers can have themselves working through the “blocks”.
Christopher Hitchens was one of the most prolific word arrangers the community has ever had. Within hours of hearing of his passing in December, I was listening to an interview with one of his close friends who mentioned that “Hitch” was literally working almost up to the last possible time when he could not work no more. He insisted on having a writing desk near his hospital bed in order to continue working. Part of me thinks that Hitch may rarely if ever had to spend any time in his own writing recovery room. Given how prolific his output has been, perhaps any moments of misguided literary energy were short-lived.
One of the books I am currently reading is the brilliant “Iron Man” from Metal Legend and Black Sabbath co-founder Tony Iommi. Thanks to this book, I have been reminded of finding brilliance in moments of the unexpected. Could only really imagine what it would have been like to be in the room while they were trying to come up with something while under a tight studio timeline and budget. Mind you, this is under a different type of circumstance. Seems like going to the Pub was part of the band’s writing recovery. They might have been on to something. A pint or shot of something is surely not always the best way to get things going again. But it has worked for a few people.
One of my favourite ways to recover from a lack of professional self-confidence is contained within one of my favourite movies. “Stranger Than Fiction” should absolutely destroy any “blocks” for anyone. I relish in the brilliance of Emma Thompson as she portrays a novelist pushing through a long-overdue manuscript for her publishers. You must see this to get where I am coming from. No point in going through the whole screenplay here!
Time best spent in the writing recovery room should be spent seeking out inspiration in between work or while working. Humour never fails to ignite something in the few brain cells I have. Retreating to reading also helps many, as it is certainly helping me.
I think everyone in this business has their down moments. Lesson is to learn how to turn those down moments around. Grab paper or turn on a computer screen and write out your thoughts until you come across an idea worth developing. Turn a failed article into a fab opportunity to sharpen skills and re-build. Find that favourite movie, episode on television or book and really study the lines in it that get you thinking or laughing. Write it all down, and then some.
Find comfort, find yourself, and regain the voice that seemed temporarily lost.