Thomas Countz

Becoming Unprecious

In a recent “Footnotes” episode of My Dad Wrote A Porno, Tony-, Emmy-, Oscar, and Pulitzer Prize-winning guest, Lin-Manuel Miranda, sat down to talk about all things Belinda Blinked. But, he also got to talking a bit about his process as a writer:

I try really hard not to be precious about where I write because I think that I am someone who could get very superstitious very quickly… and I don’t want to be like ‘oh if I don’t have my perfect pencil…’ and, I mean I wrote the last quarter of Hamilton in my in-laws’ laundry room…”

—Lin-Manuel Miranda

That resonated with me deeply. I haven’t become superstitious, thankfully, but I have become precious.

I have a special notebook and a special pen and I work hard on getting things “perfect,” before I even get started writing. I get bogged down and become precious about the “meta-work,” the mise en place, and I never get to actual writing part: I need a cup of coffee, nice lighting, the desk at the right height, plenty of notes and research, a podcast for background noise, and then, maybe I can start writing. But, if I’m a little bit hungry, or tired, or unconfident, I won’t even get started.

Why should I try to become unprecious like Lin-Manuel? Because I want to improve, I want to write more, and I want to be less afraid. Part of why I never begin is because I’m scared that I might write something awful or that it will feel like a waste of time. But, writing is important to me and it’s a skill I’d like to continue to hone through years and years of practice.

I want to experiment with this for a while: instead of trying to force the stars to align, I am going to just write.

· process