Unleash Your Writing With This Trick From the Movies

When you sit down to write, do you sometimes feel you’re wasting your time?

It can seem like an impossible task, to start from scratch and build a name for yourself as a writer.

After all, there are already so many other, more successful writers.

They get all the attention.

Their blogs have like a bazillion followers and yours has eight.

It seems hopeless

It’s especially tough if you’re trying to earn money from your writing.

The whole freelance-writing game seems so competitive.

And crowded with established pros.

It seems pretty unlikely you could start at this late date and end up earning real money.

Why even start? Why try?

I mean, let’s be realistic here.

Or that’s how you might think, sitting at your writing desk, full of despair.

At the movies, it’s different

When we sit down in that darkened theater, something magical happens.

We believe that mutant turtles that are trained ninjas live in the sewers of New York.

And that British children might attend a school where they can learn to be magicians.

A young girl can travel over the rainbow in a flying house to a kingdom of tiny people.

In showbiz, they call this shift in our thinking the suspension of disbelief.

Ordinarily, we would immediately dismiss these notions. Preposterous!

But under the right circumstances, we pause. We quiet the voice in our head that says, “That’s ridiculous.”

We want to go on this journey, and we let the movie transport us there.

For a time, we believe.

Bring the magic home with you

Now, try applying suspension of disbelief to your writing.

You want to write, yes? This is a journey you want to take.

You can take the first step by letting go of all your thoughts and worries about what you think are the realities of the writing world.

Let that world of the concrete slip away.

Because writing is all about fantasy, isn’t it? And creating new worlds?

So just for today, believe that you can write something wonderful — and it will find an audience.

You might write something that will move and inspire other people. Or teach them how to do something useful.

Your writing is special. No one else writes like you.

Believe that there is room in the writing world for your unique voice.

Suspend disbelief

Many of the most difficult tasks are only achievable if we don’t look at the hard facts too closely.

It’s better not to think about everything that could go wrong, or how long and hard the road might be if we’re planning to summit Everest, for instance.

Or write.

Now look at your fingers and realize what you’ve got in there: magic.

Milo went ahead and rescued the princesses in The Phantom Toolbooth because no one told him the task was impossible until the end.

Building a writing career is the same.

You might think that logically, it’s impossible…but just forget about that for a few hours now, while you’re writing.

Because great new writers emerge every day. Every year there are new bestselling breakout authors.

Find your guide

If you find roadblocks along the way, ask for help, just like the hero always does in the movies. Maybe there’s a scarecrow on the path, or a strange, little green bog dweller who turns out to be a Jedi master.

Turn off the part of your mind that wants to point out it can’t be done, just like you do at the movies.

Keep learning, and keep writing. For now, imagine you have a bright future ahead as a writer.

Envision the writing life you want, and then write your way there.

One day, you might find you don’t have to pretend anymore.

This guest post is by Carol Tice. Looking for a guide? Carol Tice has a 4-week bootcamp starting July 10: The Step by Step Guide to Freelance Writing Success For more info, click here.

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28 Responses to “Unleash Your Writing With This Trick From the Movies”

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  1. Jovell says:

    This is also like envisioning your goals as if you’ve already accomplished them. I’ve read somewhere that most of the people who really wish and envision their goals hard enough – they think about it almost all the time – were able to keep their drives or motivations thereby fulfilling their goals in the long run. Attaining a really good status as a writer is really a long road to walk, but finding ways to stay motivated to write, such as Carol’s post, will help keep our feet, or fingers, stay on the path.
    Jovell recently posted..How to Write For the Internet: My 6 Personal TechniquesMy Profile

  2. Glori Surban says:

    How inspiring!

    I should have known Carol wrote this. :)

    As a struggling (quite) new freelance writer with the hopes of making it “big,” I sometimes stop in the middle of typing to ask myself “what the hell am I doing?”

    It gets very frustrating and disheartening, but I truly love to write ( and get paid for it too).

    Thanks for suspending me in disbelief! :)
    Glori Surban recently posted..The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Epic WritingMy Profile

  3. Charles Tutt says:

    I like this. I’m sure it will work.

  4. Ciara Conlon says:

    So true Carol all the biggest roadblock for most of us is self belief, I love the movies and I’m going to take your advice and write my own! Thanks for the inspiration
    Ciara Conlon recently posted..3 Crucial Lessons How To Get Stuff Done When Time Is ScarceMy Profile

  5. Vickie says:

    Maybe it’s the timing. Maybe it’s where I am at the moment. Maybe it’s just two words…Suspend disbelief! Thank you so much for those simple words to propel me forward.

  6. Thomas Derry says:

    As I’m a newbie in both blogging and fiction writing, this article is a big help. Thank you.
    Thomas Derry recently posted..Pathetic Reviews: The Fortress Of SolitudeMy Profile

  7. neal says:

    excellent post. i recently posted something similar about Branding – http://nealabbott.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/world-domination-part-iii-dominating-with-your-brand/ thanks for great reminder that our storytelling can be moved by anything, even the movies

  8. Archan Mehta says:

    Thank you, Carol, for this timely reminder.

    My humble suggestion? My take on this issue?

    Enjoy the journey and forget about the destination.

    Writing is about process, after all, so don’t worry about the prize. Just keep on writing away.

    It is the intrinsic joy that writing provides that really counts. Don’t fret over the accolades and honours.

    Even if nobody awards you a trophy, guess what? You are still a writer. And nobody can take that away from you. Nobody.

    Like Sly Stallone says in Rocky: if somebody knocks you down, you gotta pick yourself up and just get back in the game. Winners never give up and winners never give in. Just keep on writing away to glory–that’s all.

    We think too much as writers. What we really need to do is write. That’s what art is about, after all. Just do it.

  9. Wow! I really needed this today. I believe in the Law of Attraction, but I can really use the reminder.
    Mary Ann Dennis recently posted..Monday Morning Motivation–A Call to ArmsMy Profile

  10. PJ Reece says:

    Whatever helps a writer KEEP GOING in spite of the long odds. Whatever helps a writer experiment enough to develop thier own VOICE. Whatever helps a writer dig deep enough that they tap into the PASSION in whatever they’re writing about. This “movie” exercise sounds like a good trick of the mind, but as the mystics say, “this too will pass”. And we’ll soon be back to the fact that writing is a race won by those who JUST KEEP GOING. (Note: this is a message to myself.)

  11. L.M. Archer says:

    Thanks for sharing – practical and inspirational – cheers!
    L.M. Archer recently posted..The Future of Wine Buying?My Profile

  12. I love this idea. I want to imagine myself as the lead character in a movie about a successful author and write something amazing today.
    Linda Jo Martin recently posted..I Don’t Want to Talk About Political IssuesMy Profile

  13. Clara Boza says:

    Another way I’ve heard this said is to separate the work from the result. Not that this is easy, mind you, but the less I think about whether and how what I’m doing will be received, or start comparing myself with someone who writes more easily or more quickly–or whatever–the more easily the work comes.

    Thanks for the metaphor. It’s a good one.

    • Comparing is so deadly. Writers are always asking me, “How long does it take you to write an article? What’s your response rate when you send query letters?”

      And I don’t want to tell them, because I know it’s only going to make them feel bad.

      But…I’ve been doing this for nearly two decades! You get more efficient the more you do it. There’s nothing productive in wondering how you stack up against someone else’s process or productivity.

      Just keep improving how you do it, compared to you, and you’re on the right track.
      Carol Tice | Make a Living Writing recently posted..5 Shortcuts New Freelance Writers Can Take to Jumpstart Their CareersMy Profile

  14. Sara Foley says:

    What a lovely post :) My husband thinks the reason I don’t enjoy movies much is because I can’t suspend my disbelief. I don’t know if I agree, I think I just prefer the written word. As for writing, well, I’ve always written, I’ve just started writing more seriously with a view to being paid one day…but I am not discouraged at all by my slow progress. Every little advance is very exciting. Although I do have the luxury of not being relied upon to be the main breadwinner, which is helpful. It means I can just enjoy the journey :)

  15. Amy I. Bloom says:

    Thank you for this much needed inspiration! It is so easy to loose sight of our dreams. And that does affect the creative juices.
    Amy I. Bloom recently posted..Narratives from the ClassroomMy Profile

  16. I have a book coming out in the coming months.
    THE TITLE is THE SIR DAVID THOMAS SERIES.
    HOPEFULY IT WILL BE A SUCCESS.

  17. Jasmine says:

    Love this! And dude, I thought NO one else had read the Phantom Tollbooth. But here we are :)

  18. Jasmine says:

    Yeah! I read it to my 10 year old little brother, but none of my friends have ever heard of it!

  19. Leanna says:

    Awesome post! I totally agree. When you’re not afraid, you’ll ultimately succeed because fear isn’t blocking your creativity. There’s no such thing as writer’s block, really… the writer is always there, they’ve just forgotten how great they are.
    Leanna recently posted..Mini-Challenge Friday #3My Profile