In a piece for New York Magazine, Dan Harmon the crazy creator of Community listed a few of his influences. One of his best writing insights came from a description of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five.
Here’s what Harmon said:
Vonnegut was somehow putting his brain on the page, and it was sometimes offensive, sometimes seductive, and all the time immersive and real. I’m always given to run whatever insipid stuff I’m writing through the Vonnegut litmus test: Is there something on your mind while you’re writing this that you’re avoiding?
Look at that last point.
What are you avoiding when writing?
That’s amazing, especially when doing creative writing–TV shows, movies, novels, poems. Because, yeah, sometimes there are certain jobs/topics that you have to power through, but then there are the simmering ideas in the background.
What’s being avoided?
Because that’s what you should really write about, that’s what you’re caring/obsessing about, and that needs to come out. Even if it’s a wild draft that goes nowhere. Unclogging that part of the brain could lead to major results–on your current project or on a future one.