Trying to write with pent up stress is like walking onto the set of your imagination to find someone else has taken over the production. While you stewed in your own juices the project was stolen by the producers. Succumbing to scrutiny, you left yourself open to a mutiny. Dwelling on the past, you lost half your cast. Undermining your authority, your self doubt took control of this movie.
Apprehension tilted the lights a few degrees in the wrong direction, just enough for your wit to get dim, just enough to cloud your vision, just enough to let the darkness in. It’s got you focusing on the wrong thing. You’re lost in the shadows while the daylight is burning.
Wardrobe’s carefully crafted costumes lay scattered on the floor. Throwing it’s weight around, Anger fills in for the star. Hamming it up, it gives a speech that never ends, it’s ranting and raving. Your lead watches from the sidelines with your Ambition, reduced to understudies by Anger’s show stealing.
Taking over casting, Rejection opens the doors to all its favorite players: employers, publishers, message-board commenters, ex-lovers, number forgetters, and head duckers from the bar. Anyone who can make you question the value of who you are.
Putting in an over the top performance, Doubt crushes the props, and tears down the backdrops. It leaves footprints on the set. Chewing the scenery, it picks cardboard from its teeth. Refusing to be ignored, Doubt leaves a lasting impression on everyone.
Filling in for the cinematographer, Fear staggers onto the scene drunk, keen to replace your choreographed long takes with a shaky cam. He’s seeing double. He wants to share the experience with world. Filling your mind’s eye with lens flare, he blots out the picture. Trying to pick apart the streaks, your brain gets scattered. Blinded by it, you loose the plot.
Pages blow across the ruins. Your script has undergone last minute revisions. Depression has ordered rewrites, it’s been picking you apart all night. It cut the subtext from your internal monologue. These new lines are very direct. They’re so on-the-nose they just might break it.
Reading it’s revision aloud, Depressions says, “It’s too late for your aspirations to come to fruition. Learn your place at the bottom, settle in.”
If morale was any lower it would be buried beneath the floorboards.
Stress doesn’t want to let you sit in the director’s chair. Pushing you out of your own picture, it wants to lock you in your trailer. It wants script approval. It wants creative control. Your bad habits are its passion project. It’s got a bullhorn for all of it’s defeatist rhetoric.
If storytelling is your career aspiration, you can’t wait for better weather conditions. You can’t wait for support or validation. You need to start shooting if you’re going to make your release date on time.
When you can’t use the first idea that comes to mind you need to give direction. Be a dictator. If you can’t call for quiet on the set, you’re going to have to record around the noise, you’re going to have to shoot around the clutter. You’re going to have to tell your story louder than any of your other stressors. It doesn’t matter if your head is clear, get something down on paper, you can fix it in post later.
This is your production. The show must go on. When Stress is out of good ideas, you need take back your imagination.