This blog is almost a year old and the most popular post has been Why do I write?
Maybe the photo of me and my mother on my first birthday is what made readers click into it. Or maybe the reason is because it's the only post I've written from my heart.
I watch a lot of films; sometimes when I should be doing other stuff (like hoovering or cleaning the bathroom), using the excuse that I'm watching the film for research. I like to listen to the dialogue and to see how characters and plots are constructed. I like to analyse why a film has or hasn't been a hit.
The other day I watched a film called 'The Art of Getting By'. It's on Sky+ Anytime at the moment. I hadn't heard of the film before it was on Sky, maybe because it wasn't promoted much. I found the plot to be weak in places; the pace a little slow and the male lead, who plays George not that convincing. There's almost always something I can take from a film which isn't perfect and I continued to watch it.
In the film, George is in his final few weeks at high school and the headmaster tells him he's unlikely to graduate. He can't motivate himself to work and the reason for this can be found in the backstory of his family life. He meets a girl. Then he meets an artist who visits the school to do a talk. George is good at drawing and doodles in classes instead of listening to the teacher. He and the artist talk.
George says: 'I just don't know what to paint.'
The artist says: 'The fact that you struggle with it is a really good thing, but how can you call yourself a painter if you don't paint?'
This is much like writing.
Towards the end of the film, George turns a corner. The headmaster offers him the chance to complete a year's work in three weeks and he accepts.
His art teacher says: 'I want one, one meaningful work from you. I want you to look in the mirror, listen to your gut, make an image that speaks to the real you, what you care about, what you believe.'
And he does just that. I won't tell you what he paints in case you want to watch the film, but you can probably guess.
Writing is the same. If it doesn't come from the heart, how can it be a writer's best work?
My first novel is written from the heart, but at the moment I'm trying to work how to put that heart into my second novel. Hopefully if I keep writing, I'll get there in the end.
And on those days when I don't feel like writing, I read that post-Why do I write and remind myself what made me start in the first place.
Do you find it easy to write from the heart? I'd be interested to read your comments on anything relating to the above.