Why losing your notes MIGHT be good for your creativity

Typewriter2 Yesterday I had a very important meeting about a commercial. I had done lots of work on the concept before Christmas and made notes for this meeting. The only problem I had is that somehow, between Christmas and the meeting, my notebook had disappeared. And so, under pressure, Judy and I had to spitball the ideas again, hoping inspiration would reappear.

And inspiration didn’t just reappear, it actually ran amock like a bull in a china shop, improving on the original concepts for which we had made notes (and lost). So ironically, losing my notes was the best thing that could have happened. It forced my brain to reconsider, re-imagine and refine past ideas, now unconstrained by tiredness and enjoying fresh perspective.

One expression of this concept is rewriting.

Today we often edit our scripts rather than fully rewrite. In the days of old, when screenplays were written on typewriters and paper, the writer had to literally rewrite their script with each, retyping the whole thing on fresh sheets of paper. The mere process of having to write out everything again, I suspect, caused a higher degree of editing and more aggressive rewriting.

I have experienced this ‘losing my notes creates greater creativity’ effect many times and it is usually a very positive, if nerve wracking, experience.

But if I am honest, I don’t actually force this process as I am always terrified I won’t come up with the great idea again. Maybe I should…

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author


One Response to Why losing your notes MIGHT be good for your creativity

  1. Hugh Hancock January 12, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    I had a similar experience on BloodSpell – after recording all the audio for the film, the hard drive recorder it was on promptly died a death, forcing us to completely re-record.

    My direction was far, far better the second time, and we had more time to tighten the dialogue too. Overall, the “disaster” of losing all our voice recording really improved the quality of the film.

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