Listen To Your Masters

I have one rule. Invariably, at the end of each working day, I stop at a point at which I know exactly what is going to happen next. I have the lines ready in my head, I simply don’t write them down. So the following day, when I sit down at my desk, there they are, still waiting for me.

Henrik Ibsen From “Ibsen’s Ghosts (Playwright)

I find these words remarkably similar to the process of Hemingway where he too never spent all his creatives juices in one day and left some to be refilled the next day. Perhaps it is a common secret among artists that are no secret at all. They know how the creative mind works. They’ve worked it out from years of effort. However, I find myself not able to truly comprehend this advice, like whenever you are given any advice, you are not receptive to listen, until one day the words make sense, when you have experienced it yourself and come to the same conclusion.

I would be terrified to not finish what I started, to have ideas and dialogue not written down before I go to bed. It is utterly incomprehensible to me that one can store such thoughts confidently and continue on it the next day. But as the title of the blog suggest, perhaps I should try? Put my trust in my seniors?

For what are advice but a confirmation that the one giving said advice was right? To prove that he cared when giving it to you? It’s similar to the relationship between parents and children. Parents only share their experience in the hopes that they would not make the same mistakes. But children often don’t listen to their advice for they think they are different, or don’t believe that their parents understand.

Creatives are much the same way, the advice from our masters might not make sense, but we have no choice but to trust them. To believe that they are right and we are not. It’s both a confirmation that the master was right and a clue that the apprentice is on the right path.

The material first, then the theme. Never the other way around. I mull over the material for a long time before I set pen to paper.

I take long walks alone. Going over in my thoughts, some experience from the past that I have not merely known but lived through. Do you see the difference? Not merely experienced but lived through and put behind me. Only when it is absolutely clear to me, when the central problem have been digested in this fashion and becomes an abstract formulation, only then do I begin the process of committing myself to a paper.

I write a draft. Very Crude. Very rough. Then I work on it. Changing it. Adapting it. Distancing it from the original, personal events and transforming it into a generally applicable experience.

Henrik Ibsen From “Ibsen’s Ghosts (Playwright)

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