Happy Easter! I’m not religious but Easter – and the return of Doctor Who – does seem to be a good moment to think about rebirth. By casting aside my old work and 9-5 commuting life-style I am, in one fashion, regenerating. This is something all writers should, nay, MUST do.
And they must do it constantly. Without change a writer’s work becomes stagnant, repetitive, derivative even. The pitfalls of apathy are great indeed. The struggles with characters is particularly important. It takes only a few moments of wandering attention to turn a character into a caricature.
Take my new script for example. What with the falling down of my lovely wedding table idea, (curse you “Table 19”), I’ve had to start over a bit. I’m instead working on one set outside the school gates just before the end of the school day; the bitching mums, flirting dads and – more relevantly to this post – an overbearing grandmother. The risk, if I’m not careful, is for her to become overbearing… and nothing else.
Avoiding this risk requires more than just imagination and creativity. It requires vigilance – and that’s not something that comes easily to writers. I can only really speak for myself but staying on guard is not something I’d really signed up for when I quit my job to take up writing. (Nor had I signed up for self-employment and tax returns but, hey ho…)