I am SOOO mean to myself

I had a little bit of a meltdown yesterday. It started at the computer. And grew from there. We’re talking stomping around the house, hiding in the bed sort of melt down. Eventually, I was able to crawl out of my own wreckage, but there were bruises. And some bleeding. I think I broke a bone. Because I was being mean to myself.

I don’t hate myself. I really don’t. But, I was being mean. Because, yesterday morning, at the computer, I didn’t think I had what it takes to work on a project. My mind was flooded with confusion, indecision, and a total lack of motivation. And that’s when the self hate started. Why DON’T you know what you’re doing? Why DON’T you want to write? Just CHOOSE something and get on with it.

When I get into that downward spiral, it’s REALLY hard to pull myself up. I’m upset that I’m wasting time in throwing a tantrum. Which makes me throw even MORE of a tantrum.

Why am I so mean to myself?

To be honest: I don’t want to fail at this. Over the past year, I’ve been lucky to just sit at home and write. And it’s been a good first year in LA, with good meetings. And I think this past year has also made me a better writer. I do think it’s true, you have to write and write, a thousand bad pages until you can get good. But, this sitting at home and writing? It needs to pay off. (It will pay off, it will pay off, it will pay off). And that’s the nugget of my tantrums: I can’t fail at this, I will not fail at this, so get to work! And that’s about when I crumble under the weight of my insane desire to write the perfect first draft. (It’s not insane, it’s not insane.)

I think I need to say get to work in a nicer way. Maybe that’s what it is. If I CHEERFULLY cheer myself on, “hey, man, let’s go have some fun at the keyboard…” Or, “hey, man, let’s just play around, make some shit up, like you used to…” I think I would RUN to the computer. I think I would be inventive. I think I would write without worry. Because it’s just me writing for me.

Nah. That would never work.

I want to leave you with a quote by Frank Herbert, writer of Dune.

I have never had the problem of a writing block. I’ve heard about it. I’ve felt reluctant to write on some days, for whole weeks, or sometimes even longer. I’d much rather go fishing, for example, or go sharpen pencils, or go swimming, or what not. But, later, coming back and reading what I have produced, I am unable to detect the difference between what came easily and when I had to sit down and say, “Well, now it’s writing time and now I’ll write.” There’s no difference on paper between the two.

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4 Comments

  1. Mozz
    Posted December 15, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    So funny cause I had the same kind of day you did last night. and I didn’t throw a tantrum I threw a depressive state party!!! Ultimately, you can only write, when you are in love with writing so walking away may be the best thing. But i’m trying to change from walking away mad to walking away to something constructive. Normally I will read a script that I love, or find inspiring, or go back and watch a movie that was one of the catalysts for me wanting to write, or I will call a friend and tell me… why am I doing this again?

    We all get into that state, I quit writing at least ten times a year!

    • Larry
      Posted December 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I think I needed to pout for a little bit. Ultimately, after a few hours, I sat and wrote some. Didn’t like the pages. Deepti and I are working on a project together, so we talked about those pages. Then I rewrote them. Felt better.

      Sometimes though I wonder if it’s about inspiration or habit. And also having a plan about what you’re working on, a plan always helps.

      • Mozz
        Posted December 15, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        Larry, Plan it out, yeah, plan out your writing schedule. And just do a little bit everyday, no matter of its good or bad, at least cover five pages everyday… five pages can be easily re-written.

        For 2012 we should find a way to hold ourselves accountable for at least five pages per day… you know… like a workout journal… only for writing.

  2. Deepti
    Posted December 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    I am so glad you wrote this blog entry. It is tough to see you go through what you went through yesterday. I want to wave a magic wand and make it all better, but that is impossible. I am proud of you for finding your way back to your keyboard.

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