BELA LAMPERT

Yoga Instructor
Optioned Screenwriter

What would Jesus do?

[aweber listid=5577877 formid=1766784075 formtype=webform] We all have our heroes. Idols we look up to and try to model. If you're a writer for sure you could come up with a name or two of professional writers who have what you would call your "dream job". The next time you find yourself in a position that keeps you from writing in some way, think about them. Think about their situation. They do this for a living, they might have big projects, they have commitments, they have deadlines. Something that, in your imaginative future, most likely, you will have as well. The next time you're stuck ask yourself, what would they do? What would a professional writer in your situation do? What decisions would he or she make to get ahead in spite of the circumstances? This change of view puts you in the place of your own observer. You are trying to observe from the outside what you can do to help yourself, with one of your heroes as model. Then, adapt that model as much as necessary to fit your specific situation to get you going again. What also gets you going again:(To get the link to the "Yoga for Writers" Program sign up for my daily emails on this website and check the P.S. section of the Welcome email!) ...

The mess you’re in right now

[aweber listid=5577877 formid=1766784075 formtype=webform] Let’s take one of your struggles right now on your way to becoming a professional writer. It may be craft-related. Or fear-related. Or business-related. Too little time. Struggling with creativity. Or with access to the right people. Whatever it is ...

The One who wins against nine others

[aweber listid=5577877 formid=1766784075 formtype=webform] Let's suppose you go to a party. You're all dressed up, and you wear a new dress, a new hairstyle, a pair of new shoes, whatever it may be, something that you're proud of. And in fact, nine people and that party give you compliments about it. Makes you feel good, right? But there is one person who says something like, “What is it with your shoes?". That person may not even say something negative. But the reaction is not as positive as from the others. Or maybe there is even one person who doesn't like your shoes at all and comments about it. What, do you think, are you going to remember most from that party? The nine people that complimented you or the one person that said something negative? Applied to writing: Let's suppose in your writing session you can solve 9 out of 10 problems but you find one new problem. What is your take away going to be? Are you going to be proud because you solve nine problems or are you going to be worried because you found one problem? The mind has a tendency to keep us occupied with things that most of us would consider negative. That doesn't even mean that there is a real problem. It only means that the mind extrapolates into the future and creates an imaginative problem. And the more attention you give that imaginary problem, the bigger it gets. But if you practice to focus on the positive things, if you...

Jack of no trades

[aweber listid=5577877 formid=1766784075 formtype=webform] I’m sure you know those kinds of people, no matter what you’re talking about, they just need to show off how much they know about that. They always have all the answers. I bet everyone has one of them in their circle of friends. If you don’t, maybe you are the one. There’s an essential flaw in thinking you know (or you need to know) all the answers: Knowing all the answers (or thinking that you do, because nobody can know them all) keeps you from learning. From going forward. From becoming a true professional at something. You can do ANYTHING you want but you can't do EVERYTHING you want. If you find yourself trying to be good at everything you do, try to figure out the reason behind it. It may be you don’t trust yourself enough to have the courage to focus on the ONE thing that you WANT to do. So, it's fear that holds you back.  Or, maybe you just want to impress others. We all fall victim to that. But that's also fear. Instead of just being who you are you try to appear different, in the hopes of being accepted, leaving an impression, being loved...

Successful Writers Have Superpowers

[aweber listid=5577877 formid=1766784075 formtype=webform] When you listen to a bunch of writer's interviews, you'll notice that there are certain things they basically all do, and some that are very different. Every writer has a somewhat different approach to getting the work done. Some like to write in sprints, some like to write outside, some carry the story in their head for weeks and then get it down in a one-nighter, others develop on paper bit by bit. So, when you're just starting out it's very difficult to make sense of that because you don't know what you should do. Which strategy to follow? My conclusion: Every writer has strengths and weaknesses. There are always certain aspects of writing that demand skills that don't feel "natural" to you, that have to be learned. Other will feel very organic from the beginning. I, for example know of myself that in a "worst" case, I can always fall back on my habit of "just getting it done". If necessary, I will make a plan to, let's say, get a certain amount of writing done until a certain deadline. Then I will practically 'shut down my brain' and just get it done. Like a machine. Of course it would be better to have more room to play, but I'm talking about a "writing emergency case" here. The output may not be the most brilliant piece I ever did but I always know I will have something to show. I know that because that is my strength. My superpower, so to speak. My...

Is overthinking your thing?

[aweber listid=5577877 formid=1766784075 formtype=webform] I don't know a lot about cooking, but I can put together a decent meal that tastes okay and keeps me healthy (and from starving). And in my experience cooking is much easier if you know what your next step is going to be and if you do the steps in a certain order. You would never start peeling a potato and in the midst of that - just because you feel like it - put the steak in the frying pan, then start to put seasoning on other vegetables you haven't even cut or cooked yet. Sure, you will have SOMETHING to eat but if you compare its to a well–cooked meal the result will be far off. Apply that to writing. Many writers jump all over the place. They do a little character description here, a little dialogue there, here a funny detail, there a funny detail, and so on and so forth. Then they end up with something they don't like (obviously) and they don't know how to fix that. Creating a mess is perfectly fine, it's one of the important creative steps. The difference is, you should do it on purpose. And you need to know how to clean up. Try this: Become clear on the next step that you want to work on: character, structure, big picture, dialogue polish,…Work on the step you defined ON PURPOSE and WITHOUT DEVIATING FROM IT. This is the point where you create a mess on purpose. Don't worry about the implications on other parts of...

How dirty are you?

[aweber listid=5577877 formid=1766784075 formtype=webform] My experience with creativity: Creativity is already there. You already are a creative person. The problem is, that creativity is hidden somewhere beneath a lot of other things and that's why you can't see it and it can't come out. Or at least not as much as it could. Imagine a floor that has been used for a long time but never cleaned. It was new and shiny and brilliant once, but over the years and decades it has been covered by dirt, maybe it has  even been covered with something else: a carpet, a layer of parquet flooring, ...

This is bad, right?

[aweber listid=5577877 formid=1766784075 formtype=webform] In the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War”, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character recites a story about a Zen Master. It goes more or less like this: --- The Zen Master, The Boy, & The Horse In this village, a little boy is given a gift of a horse. The villagers all say, “Isn’t that fabulous? Isn’t that wonderful? What a wonderful gift.” The Zen master says, “We’ll see.” A couple years later the boy falls off the horse and breaks his leg. The villagers all say, “Isn’t that terrible? The horse is cursed! That’s horrible!” The Zen master says, “We’ll see.” A few years later the country goes to war and the government conscripts all the males into the army, but the boy’s leg is so screwed up, he doesn’t have to go. The villagers all say, “Isn’t that fabulous? Isn’t that wonderful?” The Zen master says, “We’ll see.” --- Why am I telling you this? Well, think back to the last time you were tempted to say, "that's bad" as your first reaction. How did things turn out after that? Has it that "bad" situation turned into something worse? I doubt it. I bet it has turned into something better, or at least it's no longer relevant. The "we'll see" – mindset is an important and powerful one for writers. It puts all the possible bad outcomes at the back of your mind and let you focus on what's in front of you: your writing. To practice "we'll see":(To get the link to the "Yoga for Writers" Program sign up for my...

When you do something else you miss writing. But when you sit down to write you want to do something else.

[aweber listid=5577877 formid=1766784075 formtype=webform] When you do something else you miss writing. But when you sit down to write you want to do something else. We all know that feeling. We do something, maybe something that we don't particularly like, and we'd rather write. Then, when we finally have time to write we'd rather do something else. Why is that? Some reasons come to mind: Compared to what you have to do (dayjob, ...

How trigger-happy are you?

[aweber listid=5577877 formid=1766784075 formtype=webform] I have a friend who loves to complain. And it's always the same topics that set him off. Sometimes when I'm in the mood for a character study, I would bring up certain topics just to see if I can predict his reaction and trigger one of his rants. Why am I telling you this? There are two lessons to be learned here: First, everybody has these triggers. Certain things in your life will trigger fear, joy, equilibrium, longing,… If you can identify them, it will be easier for you to control your emotions instead of being controlled by them. Emotion – control is important for "switching on" your creative mode. Second, your characters have those triggers too. Find out what sets them off to make them more real and believable. How do you identify your triggers? Remove your emotional self from the equation first and go into a state of observing! To reach that state of observing:(To get the link to the "Yoga for Writers" Program sign up for my daily emails on this website and check the P.S. section of the Welcome email!) ...