10 things I’ve learned about writing from the heart
by Heidi Ferrer
1. Write bravely.
Sometimes I know I’ve written bravely, and other times I question and doubt myself. When other screen and TV writers share their words boldly, bleeding their heartfelt truth and humor, it reminds me that what I admire in others is writing courageously and bearing your broken pieces. Broken pieces radiate sunlight as they tumble to the ground.
2. Be your goofy self, because that’s the essence of your joyful spirit.
When we’re younger, many of us are self-conscious that we’ll be judged, either in our writing or in person for who we really are. Pretending to be what you think people want you to be is, as the kids say these days, being a basic b*tch. Think of Jennifer Lawrence and her refreshing refusal to be anyone else. Ain’t nobody got time to be basic!
3. I’m not for everybody.
As bestselling author Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess (Let’s Just Pretend This Never Happened) says, that you don’t have to appeal to everyone, nor will you… being fantabulous you is enough. Success is partly luck, writing success is mercurial and it’s not an exact science, but hard work, passion and persistence will take you a long way.
I do the footwork and the results are up to God or the Universe or whatever you believe. I can’t control the future with my mind, so why future trip?
4. Fear will try to make you its bitch.
It creeps in. It’s trying to shove you into a box. We all get hurt and burned in life and experience disappointment. It becomes kinda Hot Water Burn Baby.
Fear is not your friend, unless it’s protecting you from some real and present danger.
5. If not now, when?
Don’t have regrets. It’s not too late for you, for me. Now is the time.
6. Just write more.
Begin each new project as if you’ve never been hurt before, with the enthusiasm of a child.
7. Stretch myself.
Expand and don’t get complacent.
8. Public speaking, which used to be a big fear of mine, is no big deal, baby.
I was a speaker at the BlogHer ’14 conference this year on screen and TV writing. Several people said to me that they got the most out of our session than any other they had been to. They also said it felt like writer Johanna Stein and I really cared. We did.
By the way, my co-speaker just optioned her book rights as a potential TV series (How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane and Other Lessons in Parenting From a Highly Questionable Source) to Will Arnett’s new production company Electric Avenue as their first project.
Fear almost kept me from doing it. I had random anxieties about what could go wrong, even fearing getting food poisoning the night before. (I avoided the sushi bar in our hotel.) This is a similar reaction to the ones I’ve had in the past about pitching. I’m giving up that old fear. I’m just giving it up. I got this.
9. You’re closer than you think.
Every time I start a script, I first think that it’s not working, “Maybe I don’t know how to do this anymore…”
Now I know that’s a normal reaction, part of the creative process, and it even happens on the best ones. I’ve had success and I’ve also experienced a painful flop and rejection. Yes, it hurts. But every successful person has had disappointments and failures. They just keep going.
With no crystal ball, we never know when the next script, pitch or project will change our lives and move and entertain countless people. “Remember the girl who quit? Nobody else does, either.”
10. You can’t create anything if you worry about the opinions of others.
Now is the time to own your complete and full power as a writer, as a human being. Don’t apologize for any side of you.
You can do anything. Open your heart and put it out there. Just be authentically you.