When you get pissed, do you stop writing?



No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • When you get pissed, do you stop writing?

    I was talking with someone the other day and I realized that I hadn't written word ONE since I got pissed off about the genre emphasis on the PGL contest.

    That was like, damn.. January?

    I wonder if anger and writer's block are the same thing, sometimes.

    I finally picked it up and was writing a little yesterday and today.

  • #2
    1. Writers write. Everyday.
    2. There is more to achieve in Screenwriting than any single competition.
    3. Writer's block does not exist. There is always something that can be written. Burst through your problem areas, or write around them. Just do whatever it takes to get the job done well.
    4. A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z -- that's all there is to it. Now arrange them one letter at a time until you form a word. Repeat until you have another one. Repeat until you have a complete sentence. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

    Some random quotes (thanks Wordplay):

    "I'm not happy when I'm writing, but I'm more unhappy when I'm not."
    -- Fannie Hurst

    "Somebody once said that to me, in order to do great, great work, there are two things you don't want ever to receive: someone saying you can't do it, and accolades."
    -- Michael Mann

    Writing is easy. All you do is sit staring at the blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead."
    -- Red Smith

    "A good story cannot be devised; it has to be distilled."
    -- Raymond Chandler

    Our admiration of fine writing will always be in proportion to its real difficulty and its apparent ease."
    -- Charles Caleb Colton

    "And in fact artistic experience lies so incredibly close to that of sex, to its pain and its ecstasy, that the two manifestations are indeed but different forms of one and the same yearning and delight."
    -- Rainer Maria Rilke
    Letters To A Young Poet

    "Nobody's out there waiting for it. No one's going to scold you if you don't do it."
    -- Lynne Sharon Schwartz

    "It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done."
    -- Samuel Johnson

    "Nor is movie writing easier than good writing. It's just as hard to make a toilet seat as it is a castle window. But the view is different."
    -- Ben Hecht

    "It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do."
    -- Jerome K. Jerome

    "I make it a rule to sit at my desk eight hours a day whether anything's happening or not."
    -- Theodore ("Dr. Seuss") Geisel

    "Anyone can do any amount of work, providing it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing."
    -- Robert Benchley

    "You have to believe in yourself, that's the secret. Even when I was in the orphanage, when I was roaming the street trying to find enough to eat, even then I thought of myself as the greatest actor in the world."
    -- Charles Chaplin

    "Writing is like hunting. There are brutally cold afternoons with nothing in sight, only the wind and your breaking heart. Then the moment when you bag something big. The entire process is beyond intoxicating."
    -- Kate Braverman

    "We're all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
    -- Oscar Wilde

    "Writing is almost as lonely a craft as flagpole sitting... you write behind a closed door, and fun is your enemy."
    -- Ben Hecht

    "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader."
    -- Robert Frost

    "Good stories write themselves -- bad ones have to be written."
    -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

    "For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice."
    -- John Burroughs

    "Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment thereafter."
    -- Jessamyn West

    "Easy reading is damned hard writing."
    -- Nathaniel Hawthorne

    "Really, the most important thing I tell beginning screenwriters -- or even beginning novelists -- is: Get a first draft down on paper; keep going; don't look back; don't stop; don't reread it."
    -- Nicholas Meyer

    "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."
    -- Red Smith

    "The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof @#%$ detector."
    -- Ernest Hemingway

    "Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life."
    -- Lawrence Kasdan

    "Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all."
    -- Sam Ewig

    "Any man who will look into his heart and honestly write what he sees there, will find plenty of readers."
    -- Edgar Watson Howe

    "Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so."
    -- Bertrand Russell

    "Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon one can neither resist nor understand."
    -- George Orwell

    "Some things cannot be spoken or discovered until we have been stuck, incapacitated, or blown off course for awhile. Plain sailing is pleasant, but you are not going to explore many unknown realms that way."
    -- David Whyte

    "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."
    -- Will Rogers

    "Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of."
    -- Benjamin Franklin

    And something that I need to learn... STOP WASTING TIME!


    • #3
      I've written some of my best material when pissed. But that was because I had some scenes of intensely passionate frustration and anger the dialogue of which I had yet to work out to my satisfaction. Anger can elicit some pretty edgy stuff. That said, being pissed may not work so well when you're working at the story concept stage, and the more judicious, rational thought of a composed mind is in order.

      Just my two cents.


      • #4
        No! However, the commonly held belief that writers write (or) must write every day is crazy!

        The longest I have went without pen to paper has been two weeks. I would add, however, that the compulsion to write every day is always there.

        Usually my wife will hide the typewriter (now computer) keyboard and tell me we're going someplace. Once, at a Club Med, she caught me jotting notes down on a cocktail napkin and poured a very "wet" Martini over my head!


        • #5
          Should be changed to:

          (Poor) writers (try to) write something (just to keep up appearances) everyday.

          Or maybe I'm cynical.



          • #6
            I try to write in the morning. I seldom miss a day in the last year. If I write any other time, I found some time to write and most likely I am motivated.

            I write according to my personal set work load, and there are probably many just like me. I guess my personal work load came with trying to develop a habit. I guess I can say, honestly now, this minute, I will write it and mean it . . .

            "I have to write." and I guess its a habit.

            Honestly, I don't think about writing everyday. I think about other things other than writing, but when I sit down to write, I write. I play over scenes in my head if they come. My wife thinks about my writing. She probably thinks about it more than I do. Sometimes, it a good excuse to get out places where I don't want to go because I have to get up early the next morning. My wife usually says it for me.

            Here's a question:

            How does one get pissed when they are writing?

            Especially, if you are writing in the morning or late nights. It's quiet and no one to bother you.

            outside distractions?? That's temporary
            story problems?? that has to be worked out which actually can be fun sometimes if the research is interesting.

            I was getting frustrated because I don't know if I am going to make the Nichols, but I got over it. If I don't make it, then I don't. If the script is not ready, then it's not. I have been working on it for 6 months. It's a novel and script. not only script. I came up with lots of problems. I am in the 7th rewrite. I hope this is it.

            As far as genre, write what you like, and what you want to see in the films. Sounds like Martell's advice. Honestly, these aren't my words.

            I wil say forget the PGL contest. It will be there next year.

            No, I do not make a living at this. Not at all. The best I have done is poetry published for free. The only thing that I have read in print is a quote I wrote in german for the Augsburg paper.


            • #7
              Being pissed generally inspires me to write revenge comedies. By the time it's done, it's usually not a good screenplay, but I'm no longer pissed.



              • #8
                Writers do write (of course), but they don't necessarily write every day. Every writer is different, and each one has to do what works for him or her.

                I say writer's block does exist. Sometimes you'll hit something that just isn't ready to be written yet (at least I do). It's usually a case of my subconscious telling me something is wrong here, and my subconscious is usually right.

                I think strong emotions can definitely inhibit writing. On the other hand, writing can sometimes be used to purge them. Cheap therapy, you know?


                • #9
                  Pissed drunk or Pissed off?

                  Either way, I don't stop writing. In fact (as others have said) anger oftens works as fuel for writing. Nothing like turning anger-energy into pages.

                  I have no idea why you'd even be angry about the genre thing in PGL this year - who cares? First - you're writing in some popular genre, right? If not - who is your audience? Second, even if you're writing a rom-com when it looks like thriller or horror are the PGL genres - why not enter some other contest or just get the script to producers? Third, there are a million contests - so why focus on *one*? What is your motivation for entering the contest? If your motivation is to sell the script - why not target producers with your finished script?

                  I don't understand why you were angry in the first place.

                  - Bill


                  • #10
                    RE: being mad...I can't write angry because for me, angry doesn't yield good broad comedy. Ideally, I should be in the same frame of mind I hope to evoke in my future audience when I sit down to write: cheerful, hopeful, expectant, open.

                    RE: other stuff in this thread...I'm a writer and I don't write every day. I'll go further and admit that I don't write every week. There was even a period last year when I didn't write for over two months. I can't force it, I must be inspired before I sit down to write. Yet I'm still very prolific, because once inspiration does strike, I can write 50+ pp at a sitting and I'm very disciplined about staying on task once I start something. Maybe I flatter myself and it's really nothing more than my obsessive-compulsive tendencies, but the point is I finish what I start. That 2+ months last year was a scary time, because the longer it went on the more I tended to worry I would never want to write again. But as you'd expect to find in a terribly predictable screenplay, once I stopped worrying about it or even thinking about it, inspiration returned and I found myself having a much more fertile mind when it comes to ideas for new stories.

                    Anyway, it could be because I'm a comedy writer, but I really don't subscribe to that whole "it's not worth doing / it's not quality work unless it's hard and makes you miserable" mindset. Maybe the people who believe that stuff would stop if they didn't force themselves to write when they're not inspired; I mean, of course it's hard and makes you miserable to face a blank page when you're uninspired, and muses can't be summoned via speed dial. That quote from the woman who said writing doesn't make her happy, but she's less unhappy when she writes? How depressing! Jeez woman, get outside and look at the flowers and the birds sometime, wouldja?!


                    • #11
                      Raven said:

                      I say writer's block does exist. Sometimes you'll hit something that just isn't ready to be written yet (at least I do). It's usually a case of my subconscious telling me something is wrong here, and my subconscious is usually right.
                      I don't know if I would consider that writer's block. I think that has more to do with a having a good organic story. I've hit points in my stories that I just can't write so I struggle with finding a good fit, work around it, etc. Anyway, I choose not to believe in writer's block. This is more for my own well being

                      About writing everyday... I can definitely say that I don't write everyday. I try, though. I do think it's important to make it a habit, and to discipline yourself. But even when I'm not writing, I am thinking about writing, ideas, what if this... Everyone is different. Just find what works for you.


                      • #12


                        • #13
                          Thanks, Ziegler. I'm always happy to improve my grammar.

                          Quick questing about "Eat, Shoots & Leaves." Did you find that there was an overwhelming British influence in the book, or is most of what's in it applicable to American writing?


                          • #14
                            At the risk of going off-topic for just a moment to answer the question --

                            "Eats, Shoots, & Leaves" is indeed written by a British author(the hugely amusing Lynne Truss) and so has a distinctly British slant. The author and publishers do acknowledge and discuss the differences between British and American grammar/usage, though.

                            That said, it's really not a purely instructional book in any event -- it's a combination primer, history, and damn witty commentary on punctuation. Terrific book, but might not be the best choice if you're looking for a straight-up "how to" on American English grammar/usage.

                            That said -- helluva fun read, and I'm learning lots. Am ever so happy that our little friends, the comma and the apostrophe, finally have a worthy champion!




                            • #15
                              Thanks, Ziegler. I'll definitely give it a read once I finish the other grammar books I have lined up.