Time for A Break?
Watch One of These Movies
Note: NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and the general goal is for participants to write 50,000 words or more in the span of the 30 days of November.
I’m a firm believer that moving away from your writing to do something else works wonders for the creative process. While it may feel like procrastination or some sort of self-sabotaging excuse, I also believe that intentionally engaging in other activities with your project in mind is productive. Like working on a collage of images that coincide with your plot or one of your characters. Or potentially going out on a nature walk to then better capture nature’s essence on the page. Or even putting on a movie.
From time to time, I find a movie acts as a more immediate form of inspiration for me than a book or piece of music. The visuals, sweeping scores, witty and profound dialogue, and spectacle all seem to combine into the perfect concoction of inspiration and drive. Whether I’m in a popcorn-infused theater or on my couch, I’ve got to jump up and create once the credits roll. I don’t know if that’s just a me thing, but I stand behind the idea of movies being excellent activities to engage in once it’s time to step away from the keyboard for a bit.
I’ve listed just a few of the movies that have been offering me inspiration and joy as of late. All these films pushed me to create in some way, shape, or form and, if nothing else, brought me joy in the midst of feeling beat down by my own inner voice telling me I’m not creative or disciplined or talented enough. Tune out that voice and turn on one of these films – I hope they engage with you as you engage with them.
Howl’s Moving Castle
This movie feels like it’s quite literally from another world, which helps immensely when one is trying to write about another world. From the stunning animation style to the incomparable Joe Hisaishi’s sweeping score that I quite literally listen to every day, this film has not yet failed to remind me to embrace the whimsical in life. Fall into its complex, fun characters and vast, colorful settings – and check out the fantastic book the movie’s based on by Diana Wynne Jones!
La La Land
This is my favorite movie of all time for a plethora of reasons, but one of the main ones is its ability to be a movie about love without being a conventional love story. I feel like writers can note how this movie achieves a great amount of its storytelling through poignant flashback and montage scenes, reserving dialogue and monologues for key moments in which that dialogue speaks volumes. I am also a sucker for this film’s score by Justin Hurwitz, which I also unironically listen to every day – music is fuel! All in all, this film might make you cry at its end, or it might leave you with a melancholy urge to keep writing forward – you’ll never know until you try!
(1994 & 2019)
I couldn’t list one of these adaptations without also listing the other! Both versions of this classic book and story of femininity, love, family, and loss continually remind me of why I want to be a writer. Jo is a relentless reminder of the tenacity it takes to be an author as well as a woman, and listening to her impassioned speeches and humorous dialogue in both films acts as a great catalyst for me to remember that I too am a capable writer. I love both of these movies for their warm-toned settings and lovely scores as well. I feel like both capture the essence of the March sisters’ unique lives among the effects of the Civil War and the harsh realities of growing up, reminding us that there is literary beauty to be found even in the seemingly mundane parts of life.