You Don’t Have To Be Crazy, But…

One of the funniest things about writers is that we’re largely unaware of our working processes. We do stuff, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but we often have very little sense of how we create ideas and what the best way is for us to work on them.

I’ve recently become painfully aware that every now and then, I become childishly obsessed with a current movie. I watch it repeatedly, irrespective of whether it’s any good or not. It dominates my creative thought processes for weeks. I buy crappy magazines just because they contain an article about it. I’ve even been known to dream about it.

And what seems to be going on is that my imagination has identified a tiny nugget of interest and is processing it in some way, expanding on it, and eventually creating a whole new character or story idea.

Eventually, the movie falls away, and I’m left with a totally original idea, often in a different genre  – inspired by one line of dialogue, a single image, even the look on an actor’s face.

So I figure it’s time for us all to come clean. Fellow writers, what are your crazy writing habits? In what weird ways are you compelled to feed your creative processes? I’m not the only one, right?

(deafening silence)


2 comments on “You Don’t Have To Be Crazy, But…

  1. Sarah Taylor says:

    I find that the same things creep into my writing all the time – reflections (either mirror or shadow), weddings and feathers/birds. It used to worry me, but then a writing tutor told me ‘if you find you are drawn to something, mine it, write about it as much as you need to to find out what it is that is captivating you’. Now I don’t worry about my little writing foibles – I find new nuances in them that surprise me all the time and I enjoy the exploration.

  2. You’re not alone in watching films. I was told that Blake Edwards would spend all his time watching his own and other people’s films – morning to night. It struck me as odd at the time (about 17 years ago), but now I can fully empathize. I frequently feel replenished after a movie marathon. Occasionally I spend the whole day at the multiplex. I think my record is 6 films in one go. Now I don’t worry about it so much. One of my best experiences was at home, where I watched the fully extended versions of The Lord Of The Rings in one sitting! What I usually find after such marathons is that I have lots of energy and that translates into ideas, and I’m eager to get writing again.

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