Monday, December 8, 2008

A writer writes

That was the simple, straightforward advice given to any would-be writers by Tony Jordan (EastEnders, Hustle) on this week's edition of Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe.

Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe is brilliant. That fact is not up for discussion. Brooker (a screenwriter himself with the recent Dead Set) is rude, downright offensive, acerbic in his comments on television, and painfully funny. This latest edition of Screenwipe was off the scale of brilliant-ness.

Okay, so I'm going a little over the top here, but for a struggling writer it filled me with renewed confidence and enthusiasm. Hearing Graham Linehan (Father Ted, The IT Crowd), Paul Abbott (Shameless, State of Play), Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain (Peep Show), Tony Jordan and the incomparable Russel T Davies (Doctor Who - as if you needed reminding) talk about the process of writing was fascinating and filled me with hope. For one thing, it's always good to know it's not just you who has problem X, Y and Z. Writing is a lonely profession, so it's always good to hear from other writers about how they deal with the day-to-day challenges of the job.

If you have any aspirations to be a writer yourself, you should check the programme out for yourself. It was a fascinating insight into what it means to be a writer and was full to overflowing with good advice. There was (of course) the fact that you have to repeatedly re-write to be a writer, you have to be able to finish something and that the harder it is, the better the outcome - probably.

And it was amazing how many of the writers featured hate the process of actually writing (at least the first draft of something) and will procrastinate like an eight year-old not wanting to do his homework. Tony Jordan put it very well. 'I hate writing. I love having written.'

I particularly liked Graham Linehan's comments about 'feeding the subconscious' and the analogy that 'writing is like having a poo'. So do check it out but this blog's younger viewers should be aware that there is strong language used throughout.

I'll leave you with comment paraphrased by Tony Jordan. 'Writing's easy. All you have to do is stare at a blank piece of paper until your forehead bleeds.'

And on that note, if I want to call myself a writer, I'd better go off and write something. Conqueror Worm awaits.

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