Let the words do the walking

This weekend I had the opportunity to view Bert Stern: Original MadMan at the Minneapolis International Film Festival (which I highly recommend!) Directed by Shannah Laumeister.  this is a documentary about  Bert Stern, who played a major role in modern advertising and photography; as well as the quality we see in these areas today.

To simply say he is talented doesn’t fully reflect the power of his photos, the perspective he added to many advertising campaigns, as well as his ability to bring out the beauty of any person willing to pose for his camera; let alone the personal investment given to portraits of people over the years.

Throughout the film, he was repeatedly recorded saying “I don’t really take the pictures, I just push the button.”  It was the statement of a man whose art came from within.  The creative expressions were never forced.

After watching Bert Stern: Original MadMan, it came to mind how Stern’s humble thoughts on his artistry equally apply to writing. Writing is such an isolated task, an internal process that is externally expressed in the form of a book. To be pushed into the task of writing is never a good thing.

I’d like to take this process another step further in encouraging writers to avoid following trends or writing to the expectations of others. Write because you can’t function without doing it.  Let your head and heart do the writing vs. writing with the intention of only gaining exposure and attention from others.

There will be moments when a writer has no desire to tell a story.  That’s fine, as this is a normal part of any creative process.  If anything that’s an opportunity to change the routine, to do some other things, to catch up with friends and family.

I’m very confident that YOU, the writer, will eventually have that special “Bert Stern” moment; something along the lines of, “I didn’t really write the book, I just knew the words to put on paper.”



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  1. Novel Girl on April 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Writing for genre is so important these days for agents and publishers. As a writer I sometimes feel pressure from articles that say I need to write for a genre in order to be picked up.

    I believe that as long as I dig deep into the motives of my characters and plot, I can still write a structured and targeted story that’s simply my ideas on a page. That’s why I write; to compile my ideas in a book.

  2. Kate Walsh / designhouse9 on April 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I will check out this film as it sounds right up my alley. I have often read of writers who say the words just came to them and they wrote them down. Stories unfolded unbenownst to them until they started writing. I’ve been away from writing at any length for some time but wonder if this might occur if I were to start back up in earnest.