Sunday, November 23, 2014

FREEDOM FROM FEAR: The War of Art

SCRIPT FRENZY   Lydia Cornell shares her thoughts on writer's block.
(This is a reprint of the original article which appeared on Script Frenzy published by the Office of Letters and Light. SCRIPT FRENZY collapsed its website in 2014)
In March, during the storms of divorce, faced with looming book deadlines, I had been avoiding work, sitting in a catatonic state, staring at the TV, watching episodes of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. I couldn't get enough of the brilliant David Suchet and his mustache. Now I have to enter a 12-step program for addiction to this detective mystery that plants clues backwards and rarely has a linear plot. Poirot of all things!
“For the love of all that is holy,” my son said in his best imitation ofFamily Guy, “stop watching that boring show Mom. Aren’t you supposed to be writing your book?”
Teenagers are not nice people.
After a horrifying week of watching the Japanese nuclear reactor meltdown, our TV finally stopped working. The rainstorms had knocked out both internet and cable, and now I had no excuse not to write. It would have been a good thing if I had only used the storm properly. The day started out gray and cloudy and perfect! A wonderful, dark, rainy writing day. I was so excited, I kept repeating to myself: “I’m going to start writing in a minute… any minute now I’m going to start writing.”
“Okay, I’ll start after I get another cup of coffee.”
That’s when I accidentally wandered into the garage and found another set of unwatched Poirot DVDs buried inside a box of Christmas gifts I had forgotten to return.
“Okay, I’ll start writing after one more Poirot episode.
It was hours before I came out of the garage, having gone on a berserk treasure-hunting binge. We were out of red licorice (the 96 oz size) so I decided to go to Costco in Van Nuys, the end of the civilized world. I was so tired by the time I pulled into the parking lot that I climbed into the backseat of our minivan and took an hour-long nap.
Somehow, despite my son’s judgmental nagging, the writer’s block brought us closer. He actually hung out with me that week, did his homework in my room, and succumbed to the strange pull of Poirot. I think he liked the fact that I surrendered to TV-watching like a zombie, a droid, a neurosis-free blob of a mom.
It’s a good thing he didn’t know the truth: I was so deeply depressed and in such a dark place, I was losing faith in myself. What made it worse was that there were people in Japan who had lost everything, but they had more enthusiasm for life than I had.
At that moment, I sat up in bed and heard a voice, an inner voice, as if it was the most important question in the universe: What are you afraid of?
Writing is a spiritual process of letting go of fear of being judged.Embrace your defects; they are your greatest teachers. So now I view writer’s block as an important part of writing itself. Maybe we should rename it “gestation.” Thinking, going to the fridge, musing over ice cream flavors, watching Poirot— it’s all part of the birthing process.
But in the mortal realm, here is some practical advice: when you’re on a deadline, just sit down and turn on a kitchen timer. Set it for 20 minutes, and do not move until you’ve written a sentence, a paragraph or a page. Act as if a benevolent force of love exists that is always guiding you. Ask this force, the Universe, your Source, your loving higher Power, your inner-self, for the next indicated sentence. Write down the first thing that comes into your mind. This will help you to let go, face your writer’s block, and get back on track.
Heaven for writers must be a place where we get all our unfinished projects done in peace; a place where no ego exists, no burden of self, where we can write without worrying about selling our work. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? All the scripts, novels, plays, and children’s books left in closets and drawers that have been haunting us could be set free, if we could write without fear of being judged.

AFI Best Actress nominee and People's Choice Award winner Lydia Cornell is best known for her starring role on the hit ABC series Too Close for Comfort, HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, Red Tide with James Earl Jones, and hundreds of TV shows and films. She wrote and produced the short film Venus Conspiracy, costarring with her TV sister Deborah Van Valkenburgh, and this will soon be a feature film. She has her own comedy channel and live talk show with Hell's Kitchen chefs, MTV stars and sports broadcasters 'Beats and Eats' a highly rated iTunes podcast and Stitcher award nominee. Cornell is an award-winning blogger, writer, director, playwright, comedienne, talk show host, teen mentor, and inspirational speaker. She is also women and children's advocate. Her articles have appeared in A&E Biography, Huffington Post, Editor & Publisher, Macon Daily, and Lone Star Icon. She is currently working on a series of books, which will be out in 2015. 

http://scriptfrenzy.org/node/4030875

15 comments:

  1. I've got no advice for beating writers block as I have so many half finished projects its not even funny. But the few times I did finish a piece that was ultimately published, it was when I didn't plan it, but was just sort of "writing one night'.

    Food for thought.

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  2. GREAT!! And I loved your BATMAN LOOK :)

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  3. You know..I've been looking at your pics lately of the more recent stuff you're doing, ...and I gotta admit, you're clearly one of those ladies who just sort of stops aging and just looks better the older she gets.

    Not sure what you're doing for the youthful thing, but whatever it is, ....I'd keep it up.

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    1. Thank you Worf! You don't look so bad yourself. Luv xo

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  4. So true Worfeus. Lydia is a great model of a beautiful woman in and out:)

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    1. You can say that again. She's an amazing lady.

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  5. Writers block for me, begins when my wife picks up some unfinished page, or a hastily scribbled note, and decides that the thought or notion indicated just has to be inspired by her, right or wrong. Truly, she is a lovely lady but the arrogance or lack of self esteem required to assume that the totality of my thoughts are wrought by, and therefore belong to her is enough to keep me far away from my keyboard. Bill Eggert ( by the way I really like your work and your adorable presentation of personality) ( Thanks for giving me an opportunity to vent in a public format)

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    1. Wow! great to meet you Bill. I'm detecting a little resentment in your tone, but I love your honesty and wit. Please write more.

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  6. I'd let her think it. Keep her happy and get some good luvin in the process, lol.

    : D

    Happy Thanksgiving to all the nice people out there.

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  7. So where in the world is Lydia Cornell, and what is she up to today?

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    1. Ms. Cornell just received the Southern California Motion Picture Council's Golden Halo Lifetime Achievement award. She starred on stage this summer and just directed a SAG film and has 3 books coming out that will be turned into a TV series and independent film. She is producing, writing and directing. She has a talk show with Hell's Kitchen Chefs, MTV stars and Sports network on BeatsandEats.net and is a women and children's advocate, teen mentor and comedienne. She has 5 full Facebook pages but her new OFFICIAL PUBLIC page has updates Please LIKE this page and More on Facebook.

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    2. Lydia's Personal Facebook pages are full but she is moving over to the new official page. Please join us to find out more -- Click "LIKE" to find out more on Lydia's new pubic page on Facebook:
      https://www.facebook.com/LydiaCornellOfficialPage

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    3. I don't have the Facey-Spaces pages.

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  8. And by the way, to my friends out there yes its still me, i merged my account with my Google Plus and Youtube accounts so my handle from now on will be my Google Plus handle (Iron Aged)

    Just fyi.

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