magazine editor-Honest Mum

I recently read a superb article in the Guardian on what inspires some of the greatest creatives out there. It got me thinking about what inspires me, whether it’s writing a feature screenplay, animation script or this blog right here. Here are my tips to becoming inspired. Happy 2012!

1.  Write about what you know. Maybe I should rephrase that. Write about what interests and excites you. Think about what truly moves you to laugh, to cry, to question. If it’s a screenplay, make it about something you’ d choose to pay and see.  What?

You expect others to read and watch your work but you wouldn’t! A lot of my film work has been about worlds I know-British Cypriot stories (see poster for my short film Broken above), but in the same breath, I had to research, write and rewrite the characters and plot over and over- which leads me to my next point.

2.  Write everyday. You can only be inspired if you lose the fear of writing. There’s nothing scarier than a blank page but the more you flex your creative muscles, the less you will fear it. And the more you write, the more you become inspired.

And never, ever start a sentence with And.

Once you have written your novel/ article/ blog post, put it away for a while then revisit it more objectively and begin rewriting. If you can, especially when it comes to a screenplay/novel, work with an editor or developer who understands you/ your voice: a psychologist for your script if you like.

They will help you to find the answer to your script problems. Failing that, seek the opinion of someone you trust. Don’t show your work to everyone and their Mum either as too many opinions just leads to confusion.

3. Read widely. Whether that’s other people’s blogs, novels, movie scripts or diaries- immerse yourself in great writers’ work.

4. Live life. I hate the term writer’s block. Not in the mood then maybe you need a rest/a change (which we all know is as good as a rest) and to write about life, you must live it. Well, go on then.

5. I’m often most inspired in the middle of the night or whiles ironing/ other repetitive mindnumbing tasks (so mindnumbing they free up the creative side of your brain) so  I have bought a selection of beautiful notepads from moleskin notebooks to Paperchase butterfly engraved blanks books to keep by my bed, desk, car (don’t write and drive kids) so when inspiration comes, I’m ready.

6. Watch and absorb. I’m lucky I have such an incredibly funny and intelligent family who stimulate me constantly. I just need to spend a few hours with my Mother who was a lecturer and has led an incredible life to be truly inspired. My crazy Dad, Papa G must take credit for a lot of my funniest work too.  As they say, ‘you just couldn’t make it up’.  The other day whiles writing, I actually asked him how he’d react to a particular event in my plot and stole his comments word for word. He’s hilarious.

7.  Music.  Music inspires me hugely.  I’m as visual as I am aural and everything from old school Greek Zembekiko to Dizzy Rascal and Adele can instantly transport me to a place/ scene/ feeling. Music is so evocative that  I often play cd’s to actors when we work through a scene and I love nothing more than working with a composer to get the score right on a piece of drama.

8. Try not to talk about your brilliant idea before writing it down. Overtalking can ruin your impetus to get it down on paper, then it’s gone.

9. It’s good to feel a little out of your depth. It makes you try harder and push yourself to be the best you can be. Don’t be scared to research either. If you are interested in writing about a world you know nothing about great, just do the ground work and make it thorough.

10. Keep truckin’.  Rejection is all part of the game so get used to it. Sucess is not instant but I’m a strong believer that talent and tenacity comes through in the end. Films, novels, plays can take years and things that don’t always happen but they do often lead to ones that do. Just have a little faith in yourself.

So what are yours?

Photograph ©Vicki Psarias-Broadbent.

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11 Responses

  1. HonestMum

    @Kate you are too kind but I’m really no guru. I am sorry to hear about your seperation and think it’s wonderful you are rebuilding your confidence daily. Knowledge is power and it’s so commendable that you took a course to learn more. Academia is definately the way forward. I still go back to my film books and notes before I direct or start a new project. We are always learning and that’s how it should be. Hope the books help. Lovely to connect on here xxx

  2. Kate

    Ah thank you for your encouragement. I think you are my new guru or such like 😉 I spent five years with Younglings daddy Doo telling me writing was just an expensive hobby (all because I paid to do a Freelance Writing and Journalism course – because I was interested in learning). He never went to university like I did so I don’t think he appreciates my thirst for knowledge. Now he has moved out (9 months ago) I am re-building my confidence every day. Thanks again xx

  3. honestmum

    Hi Kate, most writers are riddled with self doubt and that’s normal/common but yes you do have to take a leap of faith and back it up with hard graft. Buy Dorethea Brande’s Becoming A Writer immediately as that book is essential reading for anyone wanting to write. The answer to overcoming me fears is anyday now! I suppose you have to bite the bullet and face it and remember that writing is all about rewriting. Yes you won’t succeed at everything and it is hard to get published, succeed but tenacity combined with talent, pays off in the end. Good luck x

  4. Kate

    Have taken some notes on your inspirational list. I have leapt into 2012 with a positive attitude and long may it continue. you are right about losing the fear of writing. So often I can see the outcome of the novel/play/childrens book I have in my head that I have a fear of failing. What if it isn’t as good as it appears in my mind? Then I step back and don’t write for a while. How do/did you overcome your fears? I have just written a blog post about this actually. Well its in my drafts, you’ve inspired me to go and publish it 🙂 thanks xx

  5. HonestMum

    @Aresidence -Totally, you and I could talk all day about writing, films and moleskin notebooks. We need to do that in 2012-you, me, wine and chatter! Would love to read that 30 minute play. Nothing rivals music when I need to feel inspired. The actors I work with know that in rehearsal and on set, I will use music constantly to set the mood and help draw out their performances. One of my favourite jobs of all time was making a promo for the English National Opera-being around some of the world’s greatest opera singers and documenting them was a dream.

  6. Alexander Residence

    You and me are on similar wavelengths. I have a post like this coming soon. I love these tips and you know I love a moleskine notebook. Love the idea of using family, and music is fab, I need to do much more listening I wrote a 30 min play based on a piece of cello music – the track was so powerful.

  7. honestmum

    @EmmaK haha I need an assistant too. I love it when I get one on a shoot. Makes the 12 hr days a bit easier! Dysfunctional families are the best! Sooo much material!

  8. EmmaK

    ha ha well I am often stimulated by family too but in a disturbing/surreal way. I have probably one of the most dysfunctional families on earth but am not sure I want to write about them – or maybe I should to get it out of my system. As for inspiration I do write a lot in various school notebooks my kids discard but am not very organized so tend to lose a lot of the raw material. I need a personal secretary so bad!

  9. HonestMum

    @ebabeelikes thanks, walking alone is one of my favourite things or just pushing O to sleep in his pram, letting my mind wonder. I tend to email myself ideas on my iphone when without paper. @Mostly Yummy Mummy I too am addicted to stationery from letter paper to notebooks and artist pads. My house is filled with them. I’m pretty much keeping Paperchase in business.

  10. (Mostly) Yummy Mummy

    Some really good points there. I’m definitely with you on the note taking thing too. I find that if I don’t write things down then I am likely to forget them! Plus it helps to feed my stationery habit 😉

  11. ebabee likes

    Great points. I love walking too… just alone with my thoughts. Great time to think of those ideas but you need to have a pen and paper to hand.


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