6 thoughts on ““The Ego Is the Enemy of Imagination” — David Milch on Writing

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  3. “… The ego is the enemy of the imagination. Anything that you think about writing when you’re not writing, is a product of the ego and is absolutely wrong. One hundred percent, all the time, wrong. And if take a step back and think how much time you spend trying to purify yourself in order to get ready to write, that’s like 95% of the time. And the reason for that is the ego has a stake in perpetuating the behavior that you’ve already engaged in. We do not think our way to right action; we act our way to right thinking.

    So what I do is I start writing. If I think about my writing before I start to write, what I’m really doing is justifying not writing, because … I’m not writing. … I’m going to find a way to keep not writing. So what I say is I don’t have the idea yet; it’s not fully realized yet… Not only that: I don’t have pencils; my pencils are not sharpened; I don’t have the right notebook. … Whoa! Eleven-forty five already. Time for lunch.

    … When you think about exercising, what you invariably say to yourself is, ‘You know, I’m too fat. What’s the point? I’m too old; I’m too fat; I’m too old; I’m too slow; I’m too this; I’m too that…’ And all you’re doing is justifying the fact that you’re not exercising.”

    — David Milch

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