Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly


6 Comments

The Library: Finding Neverland

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

Finding Neverland PosterFor 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?