A lot of real fucking pricks will tell you what THEY think you should be writing, but I’m here to tell you not to listen to them. Only trusted friends or colleagues, and I mean VERY TRUSTED friends should give you feedback when you’ve finished a peice of work. They’ll be the only people who understand what you’re trying to say in your story. HOWEVER … there are those who think they know absolutely everything about writing, without ever having picked up a pen.
How many times have you heard this little gem?
“There’s already way too many movies about dolphins like yours. I think you should write about zombies instead!”
I don’t WANT to write about zombies! I want to write about freaking DOLPHINS you idiot!
WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE. Don’t let other people tell you what to do with your life. As long as you’re telling a story from your own heart, and you’re being true to yourself, that’s all that matters. In a way, everything has been done. But I don’t like to believe there is no originality left in the world. There’d be no point in writing anything new if that was the case.
I once gave someone a short script I worked on, and instead of getting feedback, I got a lesson on what to do with my life. Know what I have to say to that? EFF YOU!
Speak from your own experiences. If you find that all you can think about is how much you love baige paper – write about baige paper. If you find that all you can think about are magic spells, and humans with special powers – write about that.
Don’t let someone else’s dreams dictate how you should be living your own life. There are friends who just want to take a piece out of you to feel better about themselves.
Don’t let them.
Honest critisism and feedback is hard to come by these days. Very rarely are people honest with how they feel. If you find someone who can honestly tell you what IS working in your script or what ISN’T – you’ve found a treasure.
If you find that arrogant prick who enjoys filling your head with his own ideas, RUN. RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN! These people really suck, and will destroy your confidence. They’re too lazy to amount to anything themselves, and feel by suggesting the things THEY think are awesome, they’ll somehow help you.
On the flipside, beware of those people who think the sun shines out of your ass. They’re probably either sucking up to you, or have such low self-esteem that they are too afraid to be honest with how they feel for fear of rejection.
You want a fine balance. Find someone who knows when you’ve gotten something RIGHT. Seek confidants that AFFIRM your talents and work to lift you up. Seek friends that give you tools to improve your craft. Not to augment your writing, or undermine it. Don’t let people with low self esteem place your work on a pedestal if it’s a peice of crap.
So what’s the bottom line?
People who are honest with themeselves, will be honest with your craft.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a growing hostility towards creative people that have a vision. This vision can be one to “better” a work environment. It can be a story that you know will change the world. You can have a vision of a wonderful apartment of your own, or a grand vacation to remember.
But what happens to those of us that share our visions with others? “Yeah right, what – do you think you’re gunna be the next Steve Jobs?” -My question is: why not?
I don’t understand why there is a negative stigma against people who want to go great things? Are these people jealous? Are they so steeped in their own cynical worldview that they cannot see their own potential dangling right in front of their noses?
The same goes for writers.
I have spoken with many writers over the past month or so, and whenever I give a positive suggestion as to how they can change their work habits, I’m always met with “That’s unrealistic” or “That’s not possible” … Guess what kids – you have to make it possible. You have all the tools you need to change your lives.
I know it’s not easy. I’ve been sucked into this mindset quite a few times. Some people do their best to undermine your best of moods. They suck you dry of whatever vision you may have. “I want to write a story about hero that can change the world” … “pfffft! That’s already been done dude!” – but you can’t take people like that seriously. You know why? Because they have no creativity. They have no VISION.
Having a vision is a fantastic way to change the world around you. Don’t be one of those writers that can’t see past their own cynicism. You need to trust in your vision, and see to it that you do your best to chase your dream. Don’t say “I don’t have the time” … don’t say “I can’t do this, or that”.
Find the time.
Make the time.
Make your vision a reality.
I leave you now, with one of the greatest visionaries there is:
Willy Wonka Roald Dahl. If this song doesn’t leave you scratching your heads and questioning why you aren’t doing more to make your vision become a reality, then I don’t know what will.
Willy Wonka – Pure Imagination
Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that there are two types of writers. Honeybee Writers, and Mosquito Writers.
Honeybee writers, go from resource to resource looking for the ingredients to help them pollinate their craft. They work so that the other bees in the colony can respect them for a job well done. They labour to preserve and protect the life-force of the colony. They are hard workers that do their best to spread their craft around. The end result is one of beautiful growing stories, and that sweet delicious honey we know as success.
Mosquito writers however, go from person to person, sucking the blood out of them. (so to speak.) They drain the best out of people, and leave an annoying itch that just doesn’t seem to go away. Some Mosquito writers can achieve their short term goals, leaving enough bites that a person will reach down and itch. However, at the end of the day, nobody wants a Mosquito writer around, because they just suck.
To all Honeybee Writers out there. Don’t fret! If a Mosquito Writer comes up to suck your blood, just remember that you’ve got a stinger. No one is going to get YOUR honey.
To all Mosquito Writers. You may get their bloody fix in the short term, but you will never make delicious honey.
Don’t cut corners. Don’t be an annoying buzz in a Producer or Publisher’s ear.
Be a diligent, disciplined, hard worker.
In the end, you’ll taste the ‘sweet’ victory of success.
I always love this argument, because so many writers I know make excuses as to why they cannot write or have no time to write. The fact of the matter is, very seldom is it impossible to write.
I really love Stephen King’s autobiographical memoir on the craft of writing, appropriately titled On Writing. The last half of the book is written after Mr. King suffered a nearly fatal accident while out for a walk. A man who was drunk hit King with his car, sending King into the ditch in a twisted mess. Even through the excruciating rehab, and long days spent in pain, Stephen King kept on writing. For him, there was nothing else.
George Orwell while in his hospital deathbed, insisted on having his typewriter brought to his room, so that he might type away his dying days.
“I don’t have the time” is a terrible excuse. If you want to take yourself seriously as a writer, you have to know that writers MAKE the time. There will always be laundry, chores, socializing, jobs, and obligatory events you’ll need to attend. Single mothers find the time to write. Why can’t you?
Unfortunately, I know exactly what it feels like ‘having no time’ to write. When I first started writing, I thought it would be a walk in the park. I underestimated the process and took it for granted. I thought writers just hammered out magic, and that was it. I didn’t understand that writing is about re-writing. I didn’t understand that I’d have to fight with friends and relatives for time to write.
The biggest lesson any writer must learn, is that you must set aside time for yourself to write. I don’t have the luxury of being a millionaire with endless time and expenses at my disposal. Writing is not a ‘sometimes’ hobby for me. If you don’t think you can commit to waking up early, going to bed late, setting aside one or two days a week, or making yourself off-limits before 12:00 noon, maybe you need to reconsider what’s actually stopping you.
If you asked famed scientist Stephen Hawking what’s stopping him, victim of the paralyzing disease (ALS), he would laugh at you with his DECtalk speech-synthesizer.
One of the hardest parts of writing, for me, is finding courage to face the blank page. It stares back at me like the foreboding black monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. A very simple and easy trick to getting some desperate motivation is the Dice Trick!
You’ll need the following tools:
-A Pair of Dice
Simply roll the dice. Whatever pair of numbers you get, that’s how many pages you’ll have to write today. So you may very well get two sixes, telling you that you have to write 12 pages today! Or, you can get a pair of snake eyes, and you’ll only have to write 2 pages.
The point of this exercise is to simply get you writing. It’s easy, and rather juvenile… but it works for me. Especially because I’m the laziest person on the planet, and I need people to motivate me just to tie my shoes.
For more desperate times … just add more dice.
You can find other tools like this in the Writer’s Toolbox link, at the top of the page.