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.