Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Control Alt Delete

So I'm scuttling back to blog for the first time in months as I try to press the reset button on my creativity. I feel like I must have written 4 or 5 blogs in the past few years that read as some sort of creative statement of intent, a line drawn in the sand for myself to stand behind that says: THIS TIME! THIS TIME I SHALL WRITE ALL OF THE JOKES AND DO IT ON A REGULAR, CONSISTENT BASIS.

As anyone who does anything evenly remotely creative will know, the hardest part of creativity is starting and then sticking with the often painful, frustrating and labyrinth of making the art/entertainment/thing they are aiming for.  It's like traipsing around a labyrinth full of dead ends, convinced that somewhere in this vast myriad of lanes there is one path that will take you straight to the middle of the maze.  Where you then get gored by the Minotaur.

I've been trying to get on the regular writing horse for months now.  Anyone who knows me and has seen my act will know that I love improvising and doing crowd work.  They'll also know that that can't be the basis of what I do forever and that I'm desperately trying to find a way to mix that with the articulate passion for various topics that I feel and occasionally drops out of my mouth.  Even more occasionally it's funny.  Whilst many of my contemporaries are preparing themselves for the Edinburgh Fringe, I'm not going this year.  Instead I'm aiming at the Camden Fringe in 5 weeks time.  I just want to put on a show of all new material: 55 minutes of words, thoughts and hopefully jokes that have never had an airing in front of living creatures before.  Whether it ends up being funny or a huge, messy brain dump, it's exactly what I need to do right now to progress.  It is daunting, but it's also do-able.

Inspired by something the comedian Martin Mor wrote on Facebook I've been trying to break it down.  I have 37 days until my opening night at Camden.  That means I have to write about 80 seconds of material a day in order to be ready.  A reasonable comics should be aiming for one joke every 20 seconds. 6 jokes a day.  They don't have to be good at this stage, just exist and provoke and connect.  I have been so poor at the discipline of writing over the past few years - either because notebooks and spider diagrams and mind maps and morning pages just aren't for the jester inside me, or because I'm a lazy, scared bum who generally freaks out after 20 minutes of nothing but a bunch of disconnected words on a page or a screen. But I am determined to drag myself through the mire of thunking out new stuff and one of the ways to do it is to blog every bloody day about it.  Even if that means embarrassing myself in front of my  readers, whoever you may be, and writing - today I did nothing but stare at a notebook for 2 hours hating myself and then headbutted a doorpost for five minutes.  Hopefully, that'll be balanced by the odd day off "stand aside CK and Burr, there's a new kid on the block".  Maybe.

So many people I've talked to about really making it as a comic - being bankably funny and in demand with both the public and bookers - have talked about Bill Burr's quote: "be undeniable." Whether you like an act or not - personally or professionally - there are some people who through skill, talent and/or graft have become undeniably funny. That's where I have to set my sights.  Do the hard Hamburg Reeperbahn hours, squeeze my brain into new and different ideas and hopefully come out the other end better and funnier and more original and not saying any of the same shit I was three years ago.

So let's hope this mixture of creativity-shaming and inspiration does what it needs to.  So far today I've written 9 spider diagrams of various complexities and depth.  I'm not sure if there's a single good idea, never mind joke in them.  But there they are.  I'm gonna stick on my comedy snorkel and go for another snorkel around the bog of my imagination and see if I can't come up for air with at least one of those 6 daily jokes I need.

I'm going to keep to this, if only because I've never really tried to dedicate myself to graft writing like this before, just flying by the seat of my pants with varying degrees of success.  Let's see what tomorrow brings.  A laugh would be nice.

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