What do you do on those days when inspiration lags and you just want to sit on the couch and stare?
Watching TV can reignite your inspiration, if you watch the right program or movie. What is the ‘right kind’?
One kind is ‘author biographies.’ They usually provide amusement, insight, understanding and, hopefully, an itch to recreate some of the wonder in your own life.
While I’m the first to admit that Hollywood alters facts to serve story, I’m talking about using biographies to find inspiration. If you want to find the truth of the matter, I suggest research.
But that’s a discussion for another time. Right now I’d like to add a movie to our Library. And the movie I choose today is: Finding Neverland.
Things I Have Learned from J. M. Barrie
For those who haven’t seen this movie, it follows the story of how J. M. Barrie created the character Peter Pan. It starts with him witnessing the flop of his latest play. As he tries to find inspiration for a new play, he meets the Llewelyn Davies family. The four boys (actually five in real life) become J. M. Barrie’s new audience, and inspire him to write the play Peter Pan or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up.
I love this movie because it taught me several important things:
- Keep writing. The idea wilderness strikes us all from time to time. But if you show up every day with your pen and paper, sooner or later inspiration will hit again. In the movie, J. M. Barrie is sitting in the park with his pen and paper when he meets the boys. If he had stayed at home and moped about his play’s failure, he would never have come across the catalyst for a whole new story. Whether you encounter that catalyst in the great outdoors, or just in the recesses of your head, make sure you’re there with pen and paper to capture it.
- Fill people with joy, laughter and wonder. Sometimes we get so caught up in word counts, misplaced commas and character arcs that we forget the real reason we should be writing. Isn’t it to inspire others? Isn’t it to entertain? Isn’t it to describe a story that burns so bright inside us we just have to let it out? J. M. Barrie was passionate about his story, and he infected others with that excitement and passion. Shouldn’t we all aspire to that?
- Dream big and innovate. J. M. Barrie didn’t just write a play, he crafted a world – a world which had to be built and filled with people who needed to be costumed. Someone needed to play a dog, and actors needed to learn how to fly. It even included a character played by a light. Then, on opening night he scattered orphans throughout the audience so their childish wonder and amusement could rub off on the adults. He used many different innovative methods to make his play as interesting and successful as it could be. So when you create, don’t just think in terms of words. Think of the possibilities around the words. What can you do to innovate? To dream bigger?
- Be confident in your ideas. Many people doubted Peter Pan could be a success, especially those directly involved in its production. Pessimism is contagious and can destroy possibilities before you even try. J. M. Barrie had a gut feeling that his play would work, and he stuck to his guns. If you have the feeling that your idea is going to work, even if others around you are not so sure, then step up and be the driving force. Most ideas work because of the passion of the person behind them. So be confident. Be passionate. Drive your idea to success.
- Dance with your dog. There are some days when you just need to dance with your dog. It’s good for you.
Have you seen Finding Neverland? Do you have any points you’d like to add to the list?
July 16, 2010 at 5:45 am
This is a wonderful movie… thanks for seeing it (and writing it out as) these great “lessons” 😀
Not that it detracts any at all from the charm of the film… but be aware that it is a fictionalized account of what happened. It’s not a biopic… just a fantasia on real events. (One example: The boys’ father had been very much alive.)
And if you need more Peter Pan, check out these two books:
– A continuation based on Barrie’s own idea for more Click!
– A ‘What If?’ adventure for Wendy Click!
Each is a lot of fun!
July 16, 2010 at 7:42 am
Thanks for the links. 🙂
July 16, 2010 at 1:24 pm
Oh man, I loved that movie so much, but I’d forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder, time to watch it again. My favorite of your lessons is “Fill people with joy, laughter, and wonder.” We can all benefit from doing that!
July 16, 2010 at 9:31 pm
I love it too! It’s one of those movies you can watch again and get even more out of.
July 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm
5 stars for finding neverland, it always makes me want to pick up a pen and write something magnificent.
I like the portrayal of Barrie as being plagued by insecrity and at the same time completly sure of his idea. I think that is how Creativity often feels. She knows it is a fabulous idea but would really like others to think so too, and when they don’t she is prone to plummeting to the depths of despair, and while there trys to work out how to make everyone else see how brilliant she really is.
July 19, 2010 at 12:52 pm
I agree. I’m often fascinated by Creativity’s ability to be both insecure and confident at the same time. I’m still trying to work out the complexities of that seeming contradiction.