I was a multi-award winning screenwriter and director pre blogging and vlogging (winning awards at film festivals internationally, Ch 4 and more) and I’m now writing my first book Mumboss for Piatkus/Little Brown under the Hachette umbrella.
I’ve been writing since I was a child.
I kept diaries from the age of 4 until university and thanks to my Mum I have them all in nestled under piles of uni books on the top shelf of my wardrobe in my old bedroom. Uncovering them recently I cringed through listacles of boys I’d kissed and exam marks (before the term listicles even existed) and skimmed through the everyday woes of tween and teenage life from not feeling listened to at school to fall outs with friends. I was instantly taken back through time thanks to those chunky diaries with impressionist prints as covers.
..I’ve taught on MA screenwriting courses at unis all over the country, have attended writing retreats abroad, and I write daily, usually all day in fact, so I wanted to condense some tips I’ve picked up over the years, that might help you. I’m often asked for support and inspiration from readers and always think a blog post will be more useful and to more than me responding to emails. I always email people back with suitable links though and I appreciate the messages.
So here, goes:
1.Creativity is a muscle that must be exercised and strengthened. The more you write, the more you write.
I write prolifically because it’s what I know and love.
I always recommend Dorethea Brande’s classic book ‘Becoming A Writer‘ as a must-read. It was first published in 1934 and is as vital as it always was. It’s an evergreen text. I love Brande’s concept of Morning Notes, writing freely each morning until writing becomes naturalised. As with anything creative, be it vlogging or painting, once you overcome the initial fear and self-doubt we all suffer from, and simply ACT on the impulse to create, you demystify the process, and crack on.
2. Read widely and not just in your own preferred genre either, for inspiration. I try and read a book every two weeks where possible, and have several fiction and non-fiction books on the go, simultaneously. I also read all kinds of sites from tech to baby blogs and beyond.
3. Stop self-sabotaging. Re-wire your brain. The brain is malleable, and the more you tell yourself you can do something and then act on it, the quicker that mindset will become the default. Read more on this and tips on boosting your confidence.
4. Vitally, get your art out into the world. Write, paint, photograph and create. Writing is like moulding clay, you need to get your work onto the page (virtual or otherwise) so you have something to rewrite. Writing is all in the rewriting and polishing.
5. Show someone you trust your work and listen to their feedback, making a judgement on what you would like to change with your work, if at all. Keep your vision intact of course and appreciate that people come to your art with their own opinions making everything subjective but put your story/art not your ego, first.
I feel lucky to have a brilliant book editor, literary agent and manager whose opinions I trust and whom share my vision.
I’d love to read your own tips in the comments.