Originally Posted by sixridgeroad
"Writing From the Inside Out," Dennis Palumbo. He's a shrink and many of his clients are writers.
Awesome. Brings home the incredibly helpful message that writing is painful and scary no matter how accomplished you are. For me, reading/understanding that these pros (Palumbo's clients) who intimidate the pants off of me are just as beset by self-doubt and anxiety as I am was most illuminating. I really recommend this book.
Two related food-for-thoughts. I went to a Writer's Guild series here in LA, hosted by Winnie Holzman and Robin Schiff (IMDB them). At the last series event they spoke at length about their processes. Winnie said that the "first thing I do is make a big mess," and then goes from there. I loved hearing that, because I make a mess too, yet I'm always comparing myself to some hypothetical writer (who I'm beginning to suspect does not exist) who is a master of cleverness and competence and efficiency, who goes about writing "the right way," whereas I am a hapless and chaotic fool who has no learning curve and "is not improving." (Let the self-flagellation begin!)
Winnie also mentioned how that voice of self-doubt nags at her all along the way, and that she's often sitting there, sort of thunderstruck, realizing that she doesn't know what she's doing. And that it's still there with each draft, and she gets mad at herself "for still
not knowing what I'm doing at this draft
It was such a relief to hear someone that talented and that successful say that, because that's my internal narrative/critic, to a T.
Takeaway for today's morning rant: If Winnie Holzman is beset by that kind of self-doubt then I (we!) are in good company. Now get back on that horse!
I also make a big mess, so that's comforting, did you get to speak to Winnie, that would have been interesting? I understand that artists, as in painters, are happy to make a mess too, spread a base layer over the canvas, splash it on, or apply it hastily, and build up in layers, sometimes scrape paint off, or grab the green instead of the blue and realize that it looks better, I believe that it was Picasso that did that. The happy accidents in art. I had an art grad friend who used to say, we get encouraged to makes mistakes, I was studying law, I said we don't, we kind of get punished for not getting it. His course taught me things about my course.