Happy 2014, five readers!
The most important thing that has happened since I posted on Christmas Eve is that I have finally officially set up my desk. This sounds so mundane that just to even type it my fingers started to snore. But it’s super critical – and not just because I finally bought a new computer system, ready for an updated version of Avid and Premiere.
In college, my screenwriting professor Terry Lawson told us that one of the best pieces of advice he had been given as a writer was: “Before you do anything, clean your room.” This wasn’t meant to be metaphoric – actually go and clean your room. I started to do this after that and by golly it works – for me, at least. When you focus on cleaning your room, you’re purely task oriented and goal driven. The goal is a clean room – there’s a finish line.
The creative process is often not so straightforward. It’s circular or zig-zagging, high and low, up and down. The finish line isn’t always clear and sometimes it doesn’t even exist. But cleaning the room (or desk) gives the satisfaction of accomplishment. And prevents an easy way to procrastinate later, of doing something else instead of writing.
I swear by it, and try to do it whenever I sit down to write or edit. Something about it gets me ready, gets me prepared and clears my head of non-creative practical life-management work. So it actually does turn out to be metaphoric – clean your room. Get your act together. And then focus.
This is the essential core of my new year’s resolution. And can be applied even more broadly. In 2013 I was cleaning the room – travel around the world, direct a short, shadow on NBC shows, get settled back in Hollywoodland.
And now, in 2014, it’s time to write.