Unravelling security blankets you didn’t know you had

I had a horrible realisation the other day.

comfort zone and creativityI haven’t had a show on stage for a year (the superb tidy carnage took ‘Passion’ to Aberdeen Dance Live! last October) and I’ve had no new work on-stage since a personal train crash in Jan ’13. Sure, there’s been treatments, development courses, drafts and workshopping, but no output. Nothing new for an audience. And if what we do as writers is to have any meaning whatsoever, it’s got to have an audience.

So – avanti! I’ve taken a story I love that’s in feature film treatment form and I’m doing ten pages a day. I’m writing the script. No dosh, no competition deadline (save my own 10pp rule), but the vital incentive of having a new script, and a spec feature script at that.

Sure, I’ve got questions about my work since “the train crash” – but not doubts. I’m learning new stuff and I’m not sticking to an old formula that seemed to get stuff on stage. This is good. And the quantum script reached the final of the Soho’s Verity Bargate (but not the shortlist of the top 2%). So something’s going right with the scripts, it’s just taking me so bloody long to write them (the first draft of my first successful play took me two weeks to write; the quantum script of ’13-14 took about a year, end to end.)

And then I realised: I got scared! I got scared in life and I got scared in writing. Never under-estimate the impact of a writer’s daily life on their work. When I’ve been happy, I’ve got work out. It just flowed. But the last three years (train crash, escape, slow recovery) mean the work has been pained, tortuous and – frankly – constipated!

I’ve clung to the comfort blanket of treatments, development, rewrites, proposals and stopped myself from making new stuff. Be gone, creative-hoovers. I’m going to take ideas, turn them into treatments, those into scripts and THOSE are going to get themselves in front of makers who might, if I’m lucky, help me get them to audiences.  No more getting stuck on the stepping stone in the middle of the river – onwards!

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