I will tell you a secret. Well, it’s not really a secret, not in the scandalous way most people think about secrets. It’s a fact I prefer not to draw attention to. It is this: I haven’t written anything new in almost three years.
This fact has been nagging me and eating at my creative soul. Sure, I write an occasional post for this site, and I have spent a lot of time rewriting past scripts, but I haven’t written a new story in several years.
I tell myself I’ll start on the next script after I finish one more rewrite of ________ script. Or, I’ll think I haven’t written a blog post lately. I’ll do that first and then start on something new next week. Or, I’ll justify the lack of fresh ink on a blank page by telling myself that my idea isn’t strong enough to start writing. I must think about it more.
This didn’t use to be the case. In my “starving artist” years I wrote all the time and didn’t have any problem coming up with new ideas. In fact, I couldn’t keep up with the new story ideas that flooded my psyche. Urgency was a motivator. I was desperately trying to write my way out of the life I had.
Over the years, my life changed. Today, I have a great “day” job. I have plenty of bread on my table and wine in my belly. My life is comfortable. The problem is… comfort is poison for the creative soul.
There is a reason why the Arts District in most cities is birthed in the sketchy parts of town in low-rent neighborhoods and abandoned warehouses, not in posh communities. Struggling lives inspire art. Comfortable lives consume art.
I do not confuse wealth for comfort, though I do believe wealth makes the allure of the comfortable life harder to resist. And I am not opposed to relief from pain or ease from turmoil. It is comfort as a destination that wreaks havoc. It’s when we reach the place where we stop saying, “I’m an adventurer, looking for treasure” (Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist) that we’ve lost our way.
Writing something new is a struggle and that is exactly why I must do it. To fight with words and wrestle with characters, to quest into the dark shadowy wilderness knowing that dragons be loose carrying only the certitude that I am not sure if I have what it takes to slay said dragons. That is where my creative soul must venture.
I know it is not a comfortable place, but it is rewarding. It’s where you find treasure.
A WRITER AND TRAVELER KEEPING THE FAITH IN LOS ANGELES