Embrace Being Stuck

by Matt Koval

My advice for writers and filmmakers when they find themselves physically stuck or delayed.

Don’t piss and moan and scream at the United Airlines lady! Don’t join everybody else in acting like your lives are ruined forever.

Try doing what I do:

Turn it into an opportunity to sink into the deepest and richest layers of your creativity.  Whoa, that sounded really corny. Especially in italics.

But it’s true. We get so distracted these days by by so many things that we rarely ever reach our most creative states. Our brainstorming stays at surface level, and just when we start to go deep… one of a thousand distractions (usually technology) yanks us up again.

Embrace your next delay.  Sink happily into the solitude. It just might spawn your best work.

And by the way, once you get this mindset down, you’ll find it royally entertaining to watch everybody else piss and moan! It’s actually kinda fun.

How do you handle delays anyway?  Answer below!


B rian August 9, 2014 at 9:52 pm

How do I handle delays? I’ll tell you later.

www.superslimthinbody.com July 8, 2014 at 2:46 am

Brainstorming Advice: Embrace Being Stuck

dan lund November 13, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Love this! We think alike, i used to go sit in boring lectures on purpose and write…somehow it made me trapped and creative. A Disney animator by day but indi filmmaker by night/weekend/breaks/lunches and I’m launching a web series in Jan
and I wrote the whole thing last year trapped on a plane! So glad I found this community, will be singing up for everything new and doubling back to see what i missed from creative types. I cant tell you how much advice i have gotten from those “who don’t”…glad i found a those “that do”
dan lund

Matt Koval December 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Good points. Thanks John. The forced-staring at a computer works for me too — if only I weren’t so easily distracted by the same device.

John December 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm

When I get delayed unexpectedly, I usually regret that I don’t have a pad and pen. So I try to type random thoughts on my phone, but then there’s an e-mail or a text and I end up in a conversation. Or, you know, I just found out I can look at Netflix on my phone! That’s cool. Anyway. In a long career writing advertising, I’ve found just sitting in front of your computer in silence and without distraction is productive, and far better than an accidental delay. So you can try to be late for a plane. Or hope you miss the bus. Or pray you get stuck in an elevator. Or, you could just sit down in front of your computer and stare at the keyboard until something happens. You may throw away most of the stuff that goes into Word, but there may also be pieces and parts of ideas you can think about later…like while waiting for your wife to get dressed to go out.

Matt Koval May 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Ava, yikes, 8 hours would get to me too. I mean, I’d still get good material out of the first 3 or so, but after that, I’d probably be as miserable as the rest.

Matt Koval May 5, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Nichole, that’s actually a topic I talk about in my Subscriber Magnet course (getting comfortable in front of the camera). You should considering taking it.

Nichole May 5, 2012 at 4:53 am

Hi Matt.. Well.. whenever I´m in this kind of situation, I use it to brainstorm on business ideas.
I love your videos, and I have been planning for some time to start my own video blog, BUT… I´m really shy to show my face on the WWW :S Any advice?? BTW What camera do you use for your vids??

Much love, to you and your family!

ava May 4, 2012 at 11:08 am

2 hours?! big deal. I had to wait in minneapolis for 8 awesome (yey) hours. I triiied my darnest to keep busy. thanks delta aka northwest. Got to finish a book and a half. i know every nook and cranny of MN airport i could own it. I felt like bear gryllis conquering the enclosed jungle. Talked to my friend over the phone with an aussie accent telling her, ” and now I’m about to traverse this long ridged endless plain. A lady keeps telling me to ‘please watch my step’. But every step I took, something was drawing me further. Yes, I’m on an escalator. Fantastic.” People were looking at me like I was bonkers. I was like, “hey try getting delayed for 8 hours”. Befriended about 5 strangers on the same flight. Heard them bitch and whine. Whilst they whine, i drank my glass of red wine. lol Seriously, I’m a very fidgety person. Those 8 hours were mentally breaking me down. But it was fun. Some of the strangers on the flight, well, we pretty much just exchanged life stories over a bit of booze. haha yey. But, yeah, NW/delta is the worst.

Jacob May 4, 2012 at 10:05 am

I think I handle delays better than some people in my family, I realize it’s not the fault of whoever is telling me there is a delay (don’t shoot the messenger).

Another great way to be creative is to take advantage of emotions (This may apply a little more with song writing than it does with filmmaking). I’ve been kind of depressed and exhausted with everything going on lately, and because of it I wrote a song in just over 24 hours (the only other song I’ve even tried to write still isn’t finished and I’ve been working on it for almost four years).

Sammy P May 4, 2012 at 8:46 am

yeah i’m pretty much the guy who freaks out, lol

Odah May 3, 2012 at 9:57 pm

i usually just sit down, take a deep breath, pray to God, and try to relax.
i try to be understanding and all, but nervousness always hits.

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