When I was a little girl, I wanted nothing more in the world than to be a championship horseback rider.
And an Olympic gymnast.
And a swimmer. And a ballerina. And a judo master. And a pianist. And a tap dancer. And a painter. And a baton twirler. And a cheerleader.
I would fixate on one of these goals and I would beg and beg and beg my parents to sign me up for classes at the local rec center. I’d go to the library and check out a stack of books taller than I was and I would read them all. I would practice in the backyard. I would talk about it endlessly, tirelessly, ad nauseam.
Finally, my parents would give in. They would sign me up for an 8-week course, buy me all the necessary leotards and pom pons and tap shoes and practice books.
And after the second week, I would beg and beg and beg my parents to never make me go back again.
To their credit, they always made me finish the course, hoping to instill some basic values of commitment within me. It was a nice try.
Even as a child, I think I knew what was really wrong. I wanted to be good. I didn’t want to fall off the balance beam and miss the jump and hit the wrong keys. And I wasn’t willing to do miss those jumps and hit those keys and fall of that beam for months and years until I became good.
The only two things I stuck with were acting and writing. I think I liked them because I was naturally pretty good to begin with and because, when you do fall off the balance beam, it doesn’t hurt as much.
From Syd Field’s Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting:
After you write FADE IN: EXT. STREET – DAY, you’ll suddenly be seized with an incredible “urge” to sharpen your pencils or clean your work area. You’ll find a reason or excuse not to write. That’s resistance.
One of my favorite forms of resistance is sitting down to write and suddenly getting an idea for another screenplay. A much better idea; and idea so original, so exciting, you wonder what you’re doing writing “this” screenplay.
… If you decide to pursue this “new” idea and abandon the original project, you’ll discover the same thing happening; when you sit down to write, you’ll get another new idea, and so on and so on. It’s resistance; a mind-trip, a way of avoiding writing.
We all do it. We’re masters of creating reasons and excuses not to write; it’s simply a “barrier” to the creative process.
The first ten pages are the most difficult. Your writing is going to be awkward and probably not very good. It’s okay. Some people won’t be able to deal with that; they’ll make a decision that what they’re writing is no good. They’ll stop, righteous and justified, because they “knew they couldn’t do it.”
GET OUT OF MY HEAD, SYD FIELD.