Last night over a glass of wine, I was trying to figure out why I haven’t written much lately. Last year, I made a point to write everyday, because that was the writing advice I had received from other writers.
Even in dry spells, I would squeeze out a brief poem, and then other days three or four ideas crowded my mind. But the past few months, I took a real break- no pressure to write at all. It’s turned into a vacation, taking a break and giving my creative mind time to rest and recharge.
So what does this vacation look like? I’ve continued to read, and I’ve done something that rarely appeals to me: I binged watched a tv show. I just finished all six seasons of Parenthood. I didn’t plan to get hooked on a show, but during the cold winter months, I would watch a couple of episodes most evenings.
I found the characters well drawn, the story lines realistic and the dialogue fresh, funny and pretty accurate.
I found my own family in the Bravermans. I watched the characters grow, yet when they were all together, regress into those childhood roles: the irresponsible ones, the oldest who constantly fills the role of the stable one with the perfect family, the mother who sacrificed all for her kids and husband. They were well drawn and played to perfection.
Watching Parenthood with a writer’s eye, I learned how to effectively grow a character without changing their core. I learned how to create a story arc, and key ways to move the plot forward through dialogue.
Most of all, I learned that everyday life makes for an interesting story when you take the time to develop your characters, and that even a loved character can show a selfish, ugly side of his personality and still be loved, perhaps even more because of their imperfections.
My vacation was educational and enjoyable.
Now back to work.