The eminent novelist Philip Roth announced that, after spending a lifetime writing, he has decided to retire. In an interview with the New York Times, he gave some interesting reasons for why he's decided to give up writing every day. Among his statements were the following excerpts:
"It's enough. I no longer feel this dedication to write what I have
experienced my whole life. The idea of struggling once more with writing
is unbearable to me."
"Writing is frustration — it's daily frustration, not to mention
humiliation. It's just like baseball: you fail two-thirds of the time
... I can't face any more days when I write five pages and throw them
away. I can't do that anymore."
I've never worked with Brad Bird, but I've heard from people who have that he's been known to say that "Story is pain".
Writing anything - or constructing any kind of story - is, inevitably, more re-writing than actual writing (and the same thing goes for storyboarding, of course). For every step forward there's always two, three, four or fifty steps backwards. Every element of a story is always in flux as you're writing: the characters constantly change to fit the story better, or as you get to understand them better, and the same goes for the settings, the events, the dialogue, and every other aspect as well.
I hope this doesn't seem like a discouraging way to start 2013...it's not meant to be. Hopefully it's the opposite - I find it encouraging to hear that everyone goes through the same thing - even a celebrated novelist! There's no easy way through writing a story, and no shortcuts or tricks. Just a lot of doing....and re-doing and re-doing and re-doing. It's not easy. But hearing that everyone - no matter how accomplished - suffers with the same problems and struggles the same way makes me feel better. It makes me feel like I'm not doing it wrong...that's just the only way to write and create a story out of nothingness. And the same is true of storyboarding anything. To be a good storyboard artist, I think you need to be born with that innate burning desire to make things as good as they can possibly be, and a sense that things could always be improved. More than any other talent or skill - the ability to draw, or a knowledge of film making - to be a good story artist, I think one needs lots of stamina and resolve.