Serling’s Advice to Writers
As most writers know, ideas often come in a flash of inspiration. You’re reading, or walking, or driving, and … click. A seemingly perfect premise or angle appears in your head.
And all too often, that’s where it dies. We overthink it or overanalyze it to death. Or we get distracted and forget all about it. Rod Serling, however, had a different approach:
The instinct of creativity must be followed by the act, the physical act of putting it down for a sense of permanence. Once you get that prod, that emotional jar, that “I have witnessed something.” Or “I have felt something.” Or “I have seen something.” Or, through observation, “I have been moved by an event.” I think the answer is, “Get it down. Get it down quickly. Write it down.”
Now very often, by virtue of the very enormity of the emotion, we will write it down in perhaps a distorted fashion, or an improper fashion, or an incorrect fashion, or your values may be a little juxtaposed. You may be too moved by the emotion. You haven’t stepped far enough away back to get a perspective of the event. But I think as a basic, overall thing, the clue to the writer, to the creator, is don’t let it die a-borning in the head. Don’t let it exist as just a simple memory that will move you, or will conjure up a beautiful tune later on.
It’s all too tempting to want to dwell on an idea for a few days (or longer). But there’s no reason this thought process can’t follow the act of writing it down, which can itself help sharpen and develop the idea.
If you’re anything like me, there’s a sense of not wanting to write anything until it’s beautifully outlined in your head. But that simply won’t happen. Think of any book, movie or TV show that you love — I can guarantee it started life as a half-baked idea that didn’t take any real shape until the writer forced himself to physically write something.
“Get it down.” That’s it in a nutshell.
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