Downton Abbey, reviver of my writing spirit

“To persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, is courage in a man.”

~ Euripedes

In the past few months I’ve finished and rewritten my first screenplay. I’ve even sent it out to some screenwriting contests. I was very proud and satisfied and It gave me strength to carry on.

The idea for my first story came to me rather easily and I do strongly believe in this story. But now that it is finished I felt myself falling into a dark hole. I have another story in mind but it doesn’t feel as strong as the first one. So, I started to doubt. I doubt myself, I doubt my capabilities, I doubt my skills.

While I was self pitying I thought I might as well watch some TV series or movies to cheer myself up (and for research of course!). As I was curious why Downton Abbey was so highly recommended (and because of the wonderful Dame Maggie Smith) I started to watch it on Netflix. After the first episode I was already hooked.

It was not a very good idea, starting to watch it; I finished watching four seasons in three days! After that my mind could only think of Downton Abbey! And every character flows in my mind all day long. I think about the fate and fortune of all characters. The good ones and the ill-minded ones. That doesn’t happen often when I watch a movie of series. I did not only enjoy the serie, I actually learned a great deal from it!

Every scene of every episode is so well constructed. Every bit of it contains intrigue, suspense, conflict and mysterious twists that moves the story forward and hook the audience. Every character is so well built that makes the audience curious about all their fates. From the earl to the footmen, from the ladies to the kitchen maids. Every story line is just so fabulously written. Watching the serie is almost like you’re a part of it yourself!

It could discourage a novice writer like me. Because watching such a masterpiece can make a novice writer, who struggles with story construction and writing, feel very small. But the odd thing is, I don’t feel that way! Downton Abbey was a wonderful gift to me (or rather, a subscription on Netflix was a wonderful gift I gave myself). It gave me courage to persevere writing. Julian Fellowes has shown me the tricks of how a good story should be and what good scenes need in order to push the story forward. He gave me strength to keep on constructing stories. And I just hope that one day I will have such a masterpiece of my own that people will love to watch.

 

Liz Gilbert chimes in

“Done is better than good.”
~ Carole Gilbert

When I heard about the new book of Elizabeth Gilbert I knew it wasn’t coincidence. It was meant to be for me to read this book. “Big Magic” gives ons advise on how to live a creative life. The first thing I did was grabbing my iPad and made an online order for this book.

For a few weeks now I was stuck on my project. I’ve been doubting whether the screenplay I’m currently working on is good enough. I doubted about the originality of my story. And last but not least lack of confidence just became even worse.

And then Liz Gilbert chimes in. She wrote in “Big Magic” that one has to embrace creativity. She teaches her readers how to keep close with creativity. She explains that it’s not about failure nor success. If you really want to pursue a creating life you just have to work with it! Let the flow go. Allow it to be there. Don’t block it just because you think you suffer from it.

Just create your art and it doesn’t matter what reactions it will trigger. There will be people who loves your work. There will also be people who hates your work. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is how you feel about your work. How you feel when you are creating your work. How you feel if you don’t. How it feels when you finish it. As long as you keep creating you will feel the magic.

I’m halfway through the book and I already feel inspired. I’ve put aside my project for a really long time now. That’s because I didn’t know how to carry on. I felt like inspiration was gone and creativity took a holiday. They both left me. Then I realised that it was really me who left them. I pushed them away by telling myself I’m not good enough. That was in a way to tell inspiration and creativity that I don’t trust them. That must’ve really hurt.

I’ve made it up with them now. I told myself no matter what I will keep writing. Because I really love writing. It doesn’t matter if what I write is crap of brilliant. I will keep doing it! And I told creativity that I need him. And I would love to work with him. I apologised for the times I’ve let him down just because I don’t know how to put order to the chaos in my head. I promised I won’t do that anymore. I will keep writing, keep creating even if I don’t know what to write. If I could just keep practising I believe creativity will stay with me and help me. And that’s what really matters. I don’t want creativity to leave me. I will walk with him side by side from now on. I will talk to him, ask him for help and stick with him always.

As Elizabeth Gilbert pointed out in her book; there are too many unfinished works on this world. I intend to finish mine and start a new one and finish that one too. And there will be more to come! Do it people. Finish you creative work. It doesn’t matter if it is bad or brilliant. Just get it done! And feel the satisfaction.

Thank you Liz Gilbert for a wonderful book with invaluable advise!

More on Elizabeth Gilbert: Elizabeth Gilbert official website

Hear, see & do.

“I hear and I forgetIMG_5122
I see and I remember
I do and I understand”
~ Confucius

Confucius was a wise man. I would very much like to learn from this master. Fortunately, we can still find his quotes on internet more than 2000 years later.  These quotes are of very invaluable value and they inspire a lot of people for sure. At least, I’m inspired by them.

I hear and I forget.
It’ll struck almost every person, not just writers, that one will be hit by a sudden thought and it’s so important that one has to remember it. And like almost every person, one will think: that’s okay, I can remember that for later. But, by later, that thought is most likely disappeared. Gone. Vanished!  It happens to me a lot. That’s why I always keep a notebook and a pen with me everywhere I go. I literally write down everything I hear and see and save it for later.

I see and I remember.
Nowadays most of us have cameras on our phones. The camera app is the most frequently used app on my phone. I take pictures of every interesting thing that cross my path. It happens to me everywhere; when I do groceries or have coffee with a friend or picking up my kid from school. When I look back at the images I will relive the moment when I took that picture. If I stay in that state of mind, creativity will flow like streaming water. Very useful to write stories.

I do and I understand.
This is the moment that I bring the above two into practice. When I get home with a bunch of new notes and pictures I will sit down and start to structure them. I keep a folder on my computer to put all the stuff in it that I want to keep and I will delete the things that I don’t want. Because, too much info will confuse me. So, I just keep the special things. Then, when I get back to my work , I will look into the folder first to find the sources I need and continue my writing or start a new project.

What are your tricks on writing? Please share with me!