The Yardstick: Writing at the Movies

The most important thing for a writer is to set up the circumstances that let the work come alive with the feeling when you feel it. Then, of course, edit, but from the initial seedling moment the greatest work becomes recognizable, malleable and effective.

Pianists can’t learn tonal nuances if they don’t play the piano when they hear something new inside themselves. The same is true for a writer; when the moment happens, it should be challenged in oneself and then written. It seems simple, but how many writers aren’t in a space to write when they feel compelled to? It’s the natural moments of coming to the page alongside the dedicated that make something standout.

Basking in the inception of something new is vital for a work, followed by the discipline of editing. It’s like planting a seed and pruning the berry bush but, before that, the dirt is tilled and rests before the seed goes in. Setting aside the time to write is important, but striking the emotions integrating the work with everyday life is more important. For instance, I recently took my binder to the movies, ate popcorn and watched a movie while writing lines as they came to me. It felt like magic, though it was really just myself coupling a different approach to the page and letting the film affect and inspire. It was also an experience to see what happened. Writing can happen anywhere, but the circumstances of paper and the writer’s readiness to write have to align.