Jim Dauterive at the 2011 Austin Film Festival & Conference
We know how valuable it can be to hear another writer, especially a successful one, discuss their craft. It can inspire renewed commitment to one’s work, give ideas for different ways to approach a story and remind us that we are not alone with our frustrations – and joys – in the writing process.
We’ve asked some friends of Austin Film Festival to share some of their thoughts on aspects of the writing process with us. Here’s Jim on how to combat feeling stonewalled by creativity:
When I was a younger writer, I used to dawdle, delay and wait for perfection that was never going to come until I had run out of time and had to write something, anything, and hope it was okay. Somehow, I almost always got away with it. But that’s a cocky, immature young man’s game and I no longer have a young man’s nerves. I’ve got what old golfers call the yips. I hate the yips.
So this is how I cope; this is the deal I make with myself: I give my writing permission to be bad. I keep writing until I feel in my core it is good. That works for me. That’s how I get words on the page. But the creative process is, I think, like grieving. It’s a very personal thing. There’s no way around it; writing is godawful hard. So if you’re going to take it on, I suggest that you forgive yourself, love yourself, be hard but not too hard on yourself, and do the best you can.