So there was a panto.
Yep. Totally wrote that.
It’s the biggest production I’ve ever put on, and every day it seemed more people were being drawn in to help and make these black and white words on a page I wrote happen. And I am incredibly grateful to every single one of those people.
And it went so, so well. And I discovered my Katy is not only an incredible wife, but a formidably talented producer. We’ll be doing this again.
A couple of weeks later I went to London. I was very fortunate to be awarded a place on an Ideastap workshop run in conjunction with the BBC Writersroom. Henry R Swindell ran it and it was fantastic, there’s so much I’m going to carry with me as a writer for the rest of my life.
Like allowing what makes you angry about the world to inform what you decide to write.
Like putting the strongest argument against your protagonist in the mouth of your villain to avoid them being moustache twirly.
But the most important thing I learned was that the thing that makes a story worth telling is the fact that you are telling it.
There have been thousands of stories written throughout human history, but no one can write a murder mystery/bank robbery/science fiction/romantic comedy quite like I can.
And this is what ensures that as a writer, I’ll always have something to say.
And not just as a writer, as a human being.
Henry also quoted this lecture by Charlie Kaufman.
The thrust of it being, in a nutshell, “Say who you are”.
Saying who you are in your life and in your writing creates connection with other human beings who may well have felt alone until you added your “Me too” to the conversation.
And it’s led me to a new process when it comes to writing, taking more rigorous time to look at structure and story arc and character development.
I’ve set aside the whole of January’s writing time to write a TV drama that puts into practise what I’ve learned at the tail end of last year, and it’s been scary and new, and incredibly productive.
It’s taken me out of my comfort zones as a writer.
But no matter how uncomfortable, I’ll always know I have something to say.