Give it all, give it now

When I heard that the series Stargate Universe was ending this season, I was pleased. The series started out promising, and then floundered in the middle. It reminded me of my feelings about HBO’s Big Love. And just like Big Love, the episodes on SU have been getting more and more dramatic, more complicated, more interesting, which now makes me disappointed that it’s ending.

Why does this happen?

It’s because now that they’re coming to the end, the writers are giving it their all. Everything’s in there, even the kitchen sink. So it begs the question: why doesn’t that happen in every episode? And the answer is: FEAR.

I learned very early on in an undergrad writing class at NYU that as a writer, you shouldn’t hold anything back. Give it all, give it now (or something like that) my professor said. And it’s the best advice I have ever gotten as a writer. Of course, I do sometimes hold myself back, and the result is never as good as when I push myself to the edge, and then over it. The only reason that I and so many others pull back, often to the detriment of our own work is because of fear. We fear negative thoughts and remarks from readers (or viewers) and we fear the way that we will feel about those remarks. And in the end, is it really worth it, because the fear and the resulting mediocrity is what turns readers off anyway.

So today I issue a challenge to myself and all the other writers out there: It’s time to push past the fear, and give our art everything we have. Right now, without hesitation, let’s lay it all out on the page and not look back.

Are you with me?