Sunday, July 10, 2011

my thoughts on.... writer's block. (it's a bitch....)

There's a bit of a legend in the land of Hollywood that the Coen brother's, while working on the amazing 'Miller's Crossing', had come across a type of writer's block. They refer to it as more of a slowing down in the process of creation, but it was something that drove them away from that project. They had to distance themselves to get perspective on what was slowing them down. So how did they accomplish overcoming writer's block? They wrote an entirely DIFFERENT film?!?! That film was (one of my favorite Coen brother films), 'Barton Fink'. They said that they had been trying to create a starring vehicle for John Turturro and this was the idea that they had been kicking around. How good could a film made out of a desire to finish another film be? Well, it won three top awards at Cannes that year, including the Palme d'Or. It was also nominated for three Academy awards! Not too shabby, I'd say. It still stands alone as a constant reminder to myself and others that, just because you're stuck in a rut.... doesn't mean you can't create great things. It's gotten me through a lot of tough times, creatively. That's why I bring it up here.

For almost a month now, I've been neglecting my blog in favor of work.... mostly. It doesn't mean I've stopped watching films and television, it just means that I haven't had the desire to write about the stuff I've seen. However, my film watching has dropped off greatly as well. I just can't seem to find a film that lights my fire or the desire to stay focused for an hour and a half. It really sucks to be me right now. Not in the overall sense, but in the creative sense. I want to create, so much! It's not the first time I've been through all of this and I'm sure it won't be the last. I can also imagine that many of you who're reading this have been through the same thing, yes? So here I am. Typing out all of my thoughts right now in the hopes that it'll spark something inside me to begin writing again for you. Whether it's movie/film reviews or something entirely different. A month is far too long to leave this site unattended.Question: how do you all get over a dry spell in our creativity? I would love more ammunition for the next time this occurs. Keeping in mind that this isn't over yet for me, maybe I could even use some help now.

For those who don't know what writer's block is, here's a basic definition: (from Wiki) "Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some "blocked" writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite." That's kind of a scary thought to think that it could end an entire career of a writer! I've obviously never had it go that far, but it just emphasizes the severity of this blockage. What causes it?: (from Wiki) "Writer's block may have many or several causes. Some are essentially creative problems that originate within an author's work itself. A writer may run out of inspiration. The writer may be greatly distracted and feel he or she may have something that needs to be done beforehand. A project may be fundamentally misconceived, or beyond the author's experience or ability." I think mine probably stems more from the fact that work has been keeping me so busy and I just feel like it takes priority. Soon that'll be settling down and perhaps that'll make things easier. I hope. However, there are more serious reasons for writer's block: (from Wiki) "Other blocks, especially the more serious kind, may be produced by adverse circumstances in a writer's life or career: physical illness, depression, the end of a relationship, financial pressures, a sense of failure." I don't think that's me now.... but I started this blog to help me overcome depression. It's kind of sad to think it could also end it. But again, I'm not at that point where I feel this is anything serious.

From here, I just ask that you all hang on for a bit longer. I will return to writing again.... it's in my blood and I love to blend my love of film with my love of writing. Not too mention that I have a backlog of reviews to write and some editorial pieces to throw in for fun! And some of those movies were pure and utter crap and I love to write about crap.

That's it for now. I feel a little better for finally getting something new on the blog, even if it's just to say that I'm not writing something for the blog. That is all.

(included below is the original theatrical trailer for 'Barton Fink'.)


  1. I got to the end and realised you've basically written about the block to break the pause, and hopefully helped break the block. That's a pretty good approach, even beyond the good advice we get out of it. I realise I did the same thing today too, and actually just getting something out on paper or the screen like that might be part of a remedy.

    It's good to hear it has helped you anyway, and I hope it isn't anything nearly as serious as that last part from Wiki. Don't feel pressure from us - we'll be here whenever you are.

  2. Sometimes a break is all you need to get all fired up again.

    Like Porky said... We aren't going anywhere Joel.

    If you're looking for something lite and not too long... then why not dig out Siege of the Dead.

    It's got zombies!

  3. Whenever I find it hard to write, I usually find it's a result of not having had enough beer to drink. Or too much.