Nothing is what it seems in Middle-Earth. One day you can almost enjoy a full hour of undisturbed sleep, another day you run away from orcs as fast as you can. As my fingertips begin to type, I know that writing can be an adrenaline-filled adventure as well. A process where creativity can flow in rivers and other days its ghosts can hunt you.
The Hobbit is one of my favorite fantasy movies. The incredible world-building is a great source of inspiration and I think it offers writers many learnings that can help them in their daily writing process. As it had helped me. Here's what I found most valuable.
1. The courage to write. The courage to share.
After the dwarves arrive unexpectedly at Bilbo's house, Gandalf begins to unravel the reason why everyone is there: the conquest of Erebor, the Kingdom under the Mountain. The hobbit soon finds out what role he plays in this journey, but apparently, Gandalf, the Grey Wizard, is the only one trusting Bilbo more than himself.
'There is a lot more in Bilbo than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself.' — Gandalf, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
I think this quote sums up very well a writer's journey as well. How many times did you not trust yourself as a writer? Didn't believe that your ideas will stand out or have the courage to share them with the world? Is not enough to practice writing if you don't give voice to your ideas. People need to hear them help you shape them. To become a better writer you need to have the courage to write and the courage to share. For this, you have to trust yourself first and then make people trust you too through your writings.
2. Keep it simple
When Gandalf and 'the company' arrives in Rivendell, the elves' magical home, Lady Galadriel starts questioning him about his journey to the Lonely Mountain. Although is clear why dwarfs want to reclaim their kingdom, she doesn't understand the presence of the hobbit. The Wizard tells her that Bilbo gives him courage.
'I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.' — Gandalf, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Only after many years of practice did I understood the value of this quote applied in writing. Sometimes people connect with stories about simple things, everyday life, and relatable experiences. What we have in common is life. And what can be better than to start writing about it?
3. Put honesty in writing
At the beginning of the first movie, Bilbo's voiceover captures the attention. It's in fact a monologue, but he addresses his nephew. For me, this is one of the best first lines: it has mystery, anticipation, and honesty.
'My dear Frodo, you asked me once if I had told you everything there was to know about my adventures. And while I can honestly say I’ve told you the truth, I may not have told you all of it. I am old, Frodo. I am not the same hobbit as I once was. It is time for you to know what really happened.'— Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Building a story with honesty is what makes people feel, live, and empathize with what they read. Honesty makes a story more human. If you put it in your writing, that story will be more credible and get through the words. Isn't this the purpose of writing after all? Honesty can be used in many ways: through your experiences, other people's experiences, or even crafting new ones, through your writing style or pronouns.
4. Be a storyteller
Get inspired by Gandalf: he's one of the best storytellers. A pillar character in the movie: he keeps the group (the hobbit and the other dwarfs) together in good and bad circumstances, he empathizes with people and situations, he sees good traits in people when no one does. His storytelling parts are just incredible and memorable.
'There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are all over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.' — Gandalf, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Whether you write a fiction or non-fiction piece, be a storyteller and create the world for the reader.
5. Find the unexpected
In The Hobbit, an unexpected journey leads to great friendships, finding the courage you didn't know you had, and an adventure-filled quest. With hard work and passion, your writing can build a great story. Good stories have something surprising and unexpected. What makes them compelling is when they are challenging reality or changing it in some way. Put the surprising or unexpected factor in your writing. Either it's a different writing style you try, adding an element to the story, or express a powerful message. Make your writing special every time you can.
Don't wait for ideas to find you. Find inspiration for writing everywhere. Words can come alive in an unexpected way and this is when writing can lead to a great adventure. An unexpected journey that will shape your writing in time and make you a better writer.
Read more: writingcooperative.com