Soft Writing: Letting Go & Moving On

    For a while the whole concept of a women leaving a gang and wandering the drought-ridden west coast of the United States bothered me. I thought it might have been the fact that the woman eventually joined an all-female gang. It might have been all the things that I didn’t know and wasn’t sure I could learn. 

    I couldn’t figure it out. Maybe I was just procrastinating. Maybe it was just the feeling that I have to now live up to the standard I set with “ALGORITHM”, and do better with this.

    None of those things were the case.

*          *          *

    In order to be creative I have to allow myself space. I need to clear out time to allow my brain to destress and enter a calm. It also means I have to allow myself the freedom for cognitive dissonance. The point here isn’t to have structure, to fit into the world, to be clinical and rational and functional. That will all come later. The point here is to make creativity possible within myself. 

    Being in that creative space may look irrational or even crazy, but that’s what it is. I need to make neural connections that are different than the kind of connections my brain normally makes. I can’t simply sit down and be rational. Because, one truth about creativity I’ve learned is that it has to come from my heart, and the closer I get to my heart, the closer I get to universal truths with which everyone can relate. When that happens it means I’m creating something that will make people feel. 

    The fact that they’re going to also think is simply a secondary effect. If the story doesn’t make people feel, they won’t care. If they don’t care, they won’t watch it and tell their friends about it. The first rule of this is entertainment in the form of emotional manipulation. People have to care!

    I had to warn my wife about my entering this space. It’s not just something that occurs in a brief daily time period I set aside. It’s my life, for as long as it takes to find that core truth I need to talk about, the core universal truth. The thing that makes people care and will keep me caring for however long it takes me to see the project to the end.

    “ALGORITHM” took 3 years.

    It has to last at least that long.

*          *          *

    I spent some time in meditation and I realized what the problem with “Drought” was. It had nothing to do with the questions I mentioned above. Those are all good questions, but that’s not what was bothering me. The problem is the story, and the universe it leads to is residual from when I wasn’t as good a writer as I am now. The story is immature. It represents a shallower kind of thinking and feeling.

    In other words, it wasn’t a good enough story.

*          *          *

    It’s hard for me to set aside all my past writings, to realize and accept and embrace the simple truth that I’ve moved beyond them, maybe grown beyond them is a better word. Those 12 years of writing were critical for me to develop as a writer but they also represent a kind of emotional growth. 

    Just like I won’t return to the simplistic thinking I had when I was in junior high, so too, I can’t go back to those stories. I can’t go back and fix them, tune them up or tweak them. I have to completely let them go. They’re just not good enough.

    Letting them go is hard because it means I’m starting from nothing, with nothing but the skill those years have provided me.

    It’s hard because I thought that I would spend the rest of my life taking those stories and slowly converting and fleshing them out into movies or series or something like that. It’s hard to start from nothing.

    There’s a phrase in business, “Don’t spend good money after bad money.” It means, when you see that your previous investment isn’t going to pay off, don’t spend more on it trying to make it work. Take the money you have left and spend it on something that will work.

    The feeling of fulling accepting that truth, that all my stories prior to “ALGORITHM”weren’t very good reminding me of another feeling I’ve had recently. That feeling came when I resigned myself to the inevitability that file-sharing is inevitable. That lead to the realization that it’s a good thing, that sharing solves a lot of the problems I see in the world.

    The feeling I have now, of abandoning the past, feels like that. It’s hard to let go of a truth I thought was true, but turned out to be false. It’s also incredibly freeing. I can write anything, about any subject. 

    I have no limits. 

    I can relax and let creativity flow.