77. Be your own editor

This could really be seven blog posts but they all came from one 1982 scifi magazine on writer’s block. Robert Sheckley describes a few tricks

1. Return to simplicity.

When he started writing it was easy, as he got sophisticated it became difficult. return to the basics to get back into creativity.

2. Lock yourself in

figure out the idea in your head, then lock yourself in a tiny room with just the basic tools and come out when it’s done.

3. Get a buddy

someone to show your rough work to and hold each other to daily goals.

4. Just write. a lot.

Robert set a 5000 word goal which exhausted him but did break through the block.

5. Make a chart

Chart out your idea as a mind map and look for gaps, connections between the bubbles.

6. Write a simulation

Oh this isn’t a real story I’m writing, it’s a simulation! Yes it has all the features of a story but it isn’t real. It doesn’t have to be good. (The funny thing is, pretending to write is a lot like writing)

7. Listen to your inner critic

Read what you wrote. Your inner critic will say “this sucks!”

“Ok, you reply. How come?”

“It’s too slow I’m bored.”

“How could I improve it?”

“I guess delete the lengthy description of a sunset.”

By listening to your inner critic, you can actually improve your work.

Applying this to animation:

  • Return to simplicity: Animation gets complex. Instead of minute details, revisit the basics. An appealing design, satisfying motion, fun idea.
  • Lock yourself in:
    It’s easy to get distracted, just set a daily time with the basic tools.
  • Get a buddy: This is the part I’ve been missing, it’s hard to stay productive without sharing daily updates with a fellow animator. I wish I were in animation school.
  • Just animate: Quantity!
  • Storyboard:
    Visualize your animation with a storyboard instead of a mind map. Focus on the best shots!
  • Animate a simulation:
    Treat your animation as a simulation, not a finished product. This means you can cheat and go fassst.
  • Listen to your inner critic: If you don’t like something about your piece, fix it up.

  • © Jeremy Nir
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