Monday 8 March 2010

Creative Fuel - Why I Desperately Need A Plane Ride.

So put me on a plane and fly me to anywhere,
Put me on a plane and fly me to anywhere,
Put me on a plane and fly me to anywhere with you,
With you

There are many writers who can fill a page with words easily, every single day. I know many writers (a few novelists and a few bloggers) who, literally, day after day, fill the page. The work is consistent.

I am not one of these people.

My creativity is like a fuel tank. It needs to be filled up with good experiences, bad experiences, spontaneity, confusion, heartache, all of those things and more. Right now, I can't write nothing. This is not good as I'd set aside the beginning of the week to work on a new screenplay. All of my tricks to inspire creativity and tools for side-stepping writers block are not going to do it.

It's not flowing. It's not an excuse, not a fear, not really anything, it's just not happening right now.

Screenwriting for me is normally two things-- one is getting crazy ideas and getting excited. The other is throwing dialogue down on the page and writing speedily. At this moment in time, neither of those things are happening. I'm even finding blogging difficult.

This brief exchange from 'The West Wing' explains it best.

I used to write like this. It was ten months ago. I don't understand what's going on. I really don't. I've had slumps before. Everybody does, but this is different.
I'm sorry, we don't know each other, but there aren't that many people I can talk to about it. I don't understand what's happening. There's no blood going to it. I never had to locate it before. I don't even know where to look. I'm the President's voice and I don't want it to sound like this.

Yeah. Can I tell you three things? You are more in need of a night in Atlantic City, than any man I've ever met. Number two is, the last thing you need to worry about is no blood going there. You've got blood going there, about thirteen ways. And some of it isn't good. Once again, I say, "Atlantic City," I'd say sit down at a table, go for dinner, see a show, take a walk on the boardwalk and smell the salt air... but if you're anything like me, nothing after "sit down at a table" is going to happen.

Every few months; I hit a rut. As much as the things I write about creativity and positivity are true, as big a part is that----------- I NEED TO GET OUT OF THE COUNTRY.

I need to travel. It's like a simple switch. Put me on a plane, send me to Bosnia, L.A, Spain, Japan, Iceland - ANYWHERE, it's like a switch--- BOOM, a plate of ideas and inspiration get handed to me.

Sure, I know, I know - truly successful people/people in control of their lives are meant to be able to access this place mentally and emotionally, without needing to travel. Not me, I need a plane ticket.

I need to experience real people, real places; I need to meet fascinating folk, I need to see weird looking trees, I need to smell the air in different countries, I need to get lost in strange unwelcoming towns, I need to meet pretty girls. A five minute moment with the right girl is enough to inspire fifty pages. But I gotta leave town, gotta leave the country for that. The ones round here inspire nothin'.

Right now, I'm struggling. Struggling to get my imagination going. Struggling, even - to write a blog post. This post has been a chore, but I wanted to write it because it's a part of who I am, part of my creativity, or lack thereof, so I wanted to represent it here -- it would be unfair for me to claim I'm some freakily-creative type who never stops. I stop, with a big thud - and nothing moves for days and weeks. And if I don't get on an airplane, it's gonna get ugly.

Problem is, I have commitments right now. I can't just be flying off. I have managed to figure out a five day gap at the end of the month; the plan is to find a flight with a spare seat and go somewhere, anywhere --- just for those five days. If I don't do that, I will probably go insane --

Also, tellingly, my need for creativity is definitely more important than my need for money. Right now, I am doing things which mean steadily getting some income; and they're somewhat creative -- but I burn, burn, burn for the energy, the fuel, the oxygen of creative juices -- I want to be writing the screenplay I am trying to start. I just need the fuel, and it's in the pretty face of an Italian girl who's waiting out there to reject me, or it's in the fist of some Bosnian man who's going to hit me with a right hook for trespassing, it's out there somewhere, in some experience I haven't had yet--- I just need to go and get it.

I need a phone call.
I need a plane ride.
I need a sunburn.
I need a raincoat.
-Counting Crows

Care to share?


  1. Read a book you've never read. Or watch a film you've never seen. Or listen to an album by a band you've never heard. Go to a bar you've never been in. Visit a friend you haven't seen in ages. Start a conversation with a stranger. Watch a TV show you would normally be repelled by. These are affordable methods of travel for the imagination.

  2. This post reminded me of some advice I got before about writer's block, and I was going to share it with you, but the unwashed mass beat me to it ;)

    IF travel is the only thing you think could inspire you - why not research the countries that you want to go to, and then imagine yourself there? "Imagination is the highest kite one can fly".

    I'm a film maker incidentally! I've just started a film making blog:

    And a film review blog:

    Check them out - would love to hear what you think!


  3. Hey guys - thanks for the comments. I agree with what you're saying, and have often preached these things myself; i.e. - going somewhere with your imagination - and also, on my writers block post about 'getting over an edge' and doing something new/different/against your usual interests;

    These things, I agree, are fundamentally important.

    But no, right now; I need a plane ride. A metal thing that takes me elsewhere; I need that, to go; rather than to pretend within my head!

  4. I hear you. If I don't leave New York every 3 months or so for a brief get away my energy become stagnant and I feel trapped inside a box of uninspired creativity. One breath of fresh air outside the city is all it takes to get the ball rolling again. I hope you get to jump on that plane soon!

  5. The good news is, Kristen, I plan to come to New York in June :)

  6. A metal thing that takes you elsewhere? Get a tea-tray and slide down a hill on it! Affordable and fun!