Saturday, October 10, 2009


IMPROV WISDOM

I'm reading a book called Improv Wisdom by Patricia Ryan Madson.  It's an easy read that might help you as a writer.  Ms. Madson teaches improv, but says those same skills acquired for acting can also be used for all means of creativity.

Have you ever found yourself paralyzed with fear at tackling a project because you think it has to be perfect from the start?  Well, we've all been there and it's scary.  It's hard to sit down to write a new script, play or novel when we feel like it will take so much hard work and revisions just to get it correct for our own eyes, never mind for a reader's critical eyes.  

Ms. Madson recommends that we sit down to write "average" work.  Now, you may say, WHUT?  How is that going to get me closer to being produced or published if I write average work?  The point is that sitting down to write average work will free you to do your best work.  It's like in school when the teacher said "This quiz won't count against your final grade."  We generally relaxed and scored higher than if we thought it had counted.  Why?  Pressure, stress, worry and performance anxiety can kill creativity.  It's all mind games.  Use mind games to your advantage.

I also like that Ms. Madson advises to change your scenery to help motivate yourself.   Are you bored with writing in your usual work space?  When I was a teenager, I used to love to rearrange my bedroom furniture every six months.  I would clean out my closets, my dresser drawers, dust, vacuum and put my bed on a different side of the room.  It was the coolest feeling to walk into my bedroom and have it look like a new place.  Try it with writing -- if you usually write at your desk -- try writing at the kitchen table.  If you write at Starbucks, try the library in town.  Sometimes trying to create in a whole new environment will free you.

Good luck!

3 comments:

Patricia Ryan Madson said...

Perhaps you already know the deep delight that comes from having your work read and understood. Thank you for mentioning Improv Wisdom and for your insightful application to the writer's dilemma. Reading your post has made my day. May all of your "average" work turn into hits.

J.J. Bennett said...

Great post! I'll pick up the book. I love looking at the craft of writing and examining the portions I need to focus on. Right now it's just finding time to write!

Janet said...

Hi Patricia, I love the book you wrote Improv Wisdom. It really spoke to me about seeing things with fresh eyes and appreciating all the things that touch my life each day.

You're an inspiration.

Janet