When addressing the life of the creative person in Hollywood—--a writer, actor, director, etc.---I often stress the wisdom in taking the “long view” regarding one’s career. In other words, to remember that the up’s and down’s will smooth out over the years, and that a consistent, long-term commitment to artistic growth and the development of craft is what provides the ultimate satisfaction. However, in another recent column, I also suggested that real creativity only occurs in the here-and-now.
I want to explore this seeming paradox, particularly in light of a therapy session I had recently with a screenwriter patient. She was about a third of the way through a new spec screenplay, one which represented a huge leap in terms of scope and content, and she was in the throes of powerful feelings of doubt and confusion. Would all the elements of plot, character and theme come together successfully? Did she have the talent, stamina and craft to keep at it, when the end was so many months away? What if the whole thing collapsed, half-finished, a painful and fruitless waste of months of work?