Hitchcock’s Secret For Murdering Writer’s Block

Alfred Hitchcock wrote some legendary screenplays. He also drove his co-writers crazy when they’d hit the occasional and inevitable roadblock. Here’s how he’d take a writers’ room from dead-end to back-on-track every time (and this is totally simple to steal!), via John Cleese:

When we came up against a block and our discussions became very heated and intense, Hitchcock would suddenly stop and tell a story that had nothing to do with the work at hand. At first, I was almost outraged, and then I discovered that he did this intentionally. He mistrusted working under pressure. He would say, “we’re pressing, we’re pressing, we’re working too hard. Relax, it will come.” And, says the writer of course it finally always did.

There you have it. Stare out the window. Go for a walk. Do anything except what you’re supposed to be doing.

A roadblock often just needs a distraction to relax the mind. Hitchcock knew this. We can know it too. When the stress gets too much, take a break. Get distrcacted. Just don’t forget to come back. It works wonders.

h/t John Cleese’s lecture on creativity

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