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5 Lessons to Learn From Finding Forrester

Updated on May 22, 2015

I am a writer. The aspiring kind. I like to watch movies about writers and writing. They inspire me and they teach me lessons. Lessons about writing and about life.

Finding Forrester (2000) is an excellent example of such a movie. It taught me some valuable lessons about writing, and even more important lessons about life. If you haven't seen the movie, do it now. It's terrific.

Sean Connery, like always, has done a great job. He plays William Forrester, a celebrated writer who, after writing his first and only book, goes to live in solitude in his apartment with minimal human contact for over fifty years. Until he finds Jamal, a talented, young boy and an aspiring writer. Forrester mentors him, teaches him how to write better, and helps him find his own words.

In this post, I will share with you what I have learned from Finding Forrester.

Write the first draft with your heart. Rewrite with your brain.

This is the best writing advice you'll ever get. Stephen King and Ayn Rand will tell you the same thing. (Although Ayn Rand says it's important to make an outline first when writing non-fiction.) You can also apply this philosophy in other aspects of your life with great success, but let's talk about writing first.

This is great advice because it helps you finish the first draft. Once you finish the first draft, you gain confidence and lose the anxiety. Then you can focus all your attention on editing and polish your prose. But if you try editing while you are writing, you will not effectively be able to do either. Multitasking is always a bad idea. You end up doing everything half-good.

Also, when you write with your heart (Subconscious) and not your brain, you end up writing way better. Your subconscious is a powerful thing. It possesses knowledge that your conscious mind doesn't. It's also a better writer.

When I give up something it's mostly because I am disappointed in my performance. When I think I am not good enough, I lose interest and willpower. Giving up becomes a lot more desirable than facing the reality. I realize that I suck, and I don't wan't to suck. But rather than getting better at it so that I don't suck, I give up trying. I can't suck if I don't try.

From this moment, I will not care if I suck at something at the beginning, I will give my ego a vacation and work with my heart. Self criticism (Which is important.) will come later, when I am good enough and want to improve further.

You write better when you write for yourself

Write for yourself, not for others. Write what you'll love to read. Only write what you will love to read. Write for the reader in yourself, but let him be also a criticizer. Make him love your words and others will too.

Write for others and you are apt to get disappointed when someones criticizes your words, because when you don't write for yourself, you don't have faith on your words

You can break the rules, but only if you know what you are doing

Not knowing the rules is not an excuse to break them. It's not. You are apt to make a fool of yourself eventually if you do. Know what you are doing. Know the rules. Break them if you need to. Break them for a reason. That's what the professionals do.

Rules are there for a reason. They guide you. If you don't let them guide you at the beginning, you will get lost, however, if you always follow the rules, you will do just fine. If just fine is what you what you are aiming for. If you want more. You'll have to take the risks.

The best gift is the gift of true friendship

Friends. Who is a friend? I think I am too liberal with the use of the word. I call a lot of people my friends. It's like the word Bro. It was supposed to be a sacred bond. A friend who is like a brother. The word used to mean something. Now it's just a casual way of addressing strangers. It's tragic, really.

Friends are people who have a important place in your life. They criticize you when you need to be criticized. They call you on your bullshit. They do and say things you don't like but you need. And most importantly, you can be yourself around them. They are your friends. They are family. Not by blood, but by love. Treat them as such. Love them. Forgive them.

People are most afraid of what they don't understand, so they assume

I can concur. I watch those Sci-Fi movies and I hate the idea of living in a too technologically advanced world. I am comfortable by the world as it is, and as long as it changes gradually enough so I can understand what's going on, I don't mind.

When I heard this dialogue I realized why I felt that way. Actually I didn't realize that while watching the movie. I just wrote the line and started typing and I wrote it. Writing helped me do it. I didn't think before I wrote it. I just typed and wrote with my heart. In fact I am almost done writing this articles. I had a problem writing for a long time. I couldn't write.

May be my problem was that I was over-thinking it. I wasn't writing with my heart. I didn't finish those drafts because I was writing with my brain. My brain is lazy. It's evil. It tries to convince me that writing what I am writing is a bad idea. And it makes a good argument. My heart, on the other hand. It just writes. It is honest and it loves writing.

Back to the point. Don't make assumptions about anything just because you don't understand it. You might not realize it, but you are doing it. Even when learning new things if I don't understand something I assume it's not important.

I give myself excuses. It's unimportant. People learn without doing it. I do this because I don't understand it. They are new and unfamiliar to me. It's uncomfortable. So, I assume I can get away skipping it. But in most cases I am wrong. Don't do that.

The End. Hope you have learned something.

Good Luck!

© 2015 Dattaraj

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All great advice. I wish more writers would follow #1....and I loved that movie. :)