I have always loved learning about the way other people work. It sounds a little weird, but I feel more motivated and inspired to do work myself, when I know I’m not alone, out there on an island thinking big thoughts, even if I’m doing exactly that. Earlier this year, I poured through Stephen King’s memoir On Writing, I read and post articles all the time about how things were created or where writers/filmmakers say they do their best work. My fascination isn’t simply restricted to the creative world – I pour over, with equal enthusiasm, blogs and tweets and books and photographs, of scientists and doctors and car mechanics talking about education and evolution in their respective fields. It doesn’t necessarily make me smarter about any of those things, but it does clue me in as to how other people think, where they begin, and how they overcome blocks.
When I was younger, I might have tried to imitate these creative do-ers. My bedroom was an ever-changing example of trying to get just the right “room with a view” that would produce page after page or scene after scene of whatever I was delving into at the moment. As I grew older, my process became less about how my room was arranged and more about making things make sense and whittling down big stories into smaller ones – in my current job, that can mean whittling down a story into 60, 30 and sometimes 15 seconds. But still, I’m incredibly motivated and inspired when I hear people talk about the way they work from seeing the photographs of the messy desk of Ray Bradbury to watching these mini-docs produced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (aka, the Oscars) – on these screenwriter/filmmakers on their creative processes: