Monday, March 28, 2011

Top Ten Movie Quotes* to Get You Unstuck

Rut. Funk. Writer’s Block. We’ve all been wedged at one time or another – in a routine, a project, the middle of a blog post or a novel. Luckily, it’s nothing a night at the movies can’t fix. So grab some popcorn and enjoy the show! (*Top ten movie quotes according to The Guinness Book of Film)

1. "...Bond. James Bond." (Sean Connery, Dr. No (1962)

Okay, now look into a mirror and say that with your best British accent. I’m kidding. But this quote made the cut because James Bond does have the coolest toys. An invisible car, a jet pack, an Omega Seamaster watch with a laser beam cutter – they helped him save the day. The good news is we don’t need anything nearly as fancy to save ours. Heck, even a Play-Doh or a box of Lego will do. Find a toy and play with it. Playing relaxes your mind and sets your thoughts free. Who knows? Your imaginary friends might even come out to join you.

2. "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine." (Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca (1942)

Try working from some place new. Even if it just means picking up your laptop and moving from one end of the couch to the other, the move may help you see things from a different perspective. 

3. "Well, it's not the men in your life that counts, it's the life in your men." (Mae West, I'm No Angel (1933)

Take a hard look at each of your characters. Are they as fleshed out as possible? While figuring out where to take your story, examine your characters to see if they need to be developed more. This exercise might help you determine where your story needs to go next.

4. "I'll be back." (Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Terminator (1984)

Take a break. Step away from your project and breathe. Come back when the urge to throw your laptop in the bin has passed.

5. "Won't you excuse me for a moment while I ... slip into something a little bit more ... comfortable?" (Madeline Kahn, Blazing Saddles (1974))

If you wear pants while working, slip into a dress. If you usually wear shoes, go barefoot. Shaking up your routine should help get the creative juices flowing.

6. "My Mama always said, 'Life was like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get.'" (Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump (1994)

Keep a box of writing prompts handy. Draw a prompt from it when you’re stuck. It may not be an exact match for the particular writing project that you’re working on, but it may help to get the wheels in your head turning. (If your project isn’t writing related, I recommend keeping an actual box of chocolates on hand.)  

7. "I could dance with you till the cows come home...On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows when you came home." (Groucho Marx, Duck Soup (1933

First of all, skip the cows, but do turn up the music and dance. Sing! Let the music carry your thoughts away and inspire you.

8. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!" (Clark Gable, Gone with the Wind (1939))

As “The King” said, don’t give a damn. Write, write, write regardless of whether you think it’s crap. You might find a shiny little nugget in the steaming pile the next day.

9. "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Well, who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well, I'm the only one here. Who the f--k do you think you're talkin' to?" (Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver (1976)

Sit down with your characters and have a chat with them. Ask them about their family, their favorite food and what they think about that last episode of Fringe. Their answers may surprise you. And if turns out that they don’t like Fringe, kill them off. 

10. "Gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on side. And don't be stingy, baby." (Greta Garbo, Anna Christie (1930))

Enough said.  ;-)

Do you have any favorite ways to get unstuck? I'd love to hear them. Go ahead, make my day :D


Kathy said...

Thanks so much for the ideas! They are great, as a new writer and blogger I am always looking for ways to get unstuck. Great post, thanks again!

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Thanks, Kathy! Glad you found it useful! :D

stacey said...

Lovely! When I get stuck I try to spend some quality time with my posse of peeps (my girlfriends, of course). Sometimes all I need is a fresh perspective to find that shiny nugget already hidden in a steaming pile, LOL. Loved remembering all these quotes and reading your perspective on it. ; )

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Hi, Stacey! So true. Hanging out with the posse is a HUGE help. Thanks for sharing your tip! :D (And isn't nugget mining sooo much fun? ;-) )

Connie said...

The best way for me to get unstuck is to take a long, hot shower with the lights out and the candles lit. I don't know why (maybe sensory deprivation), but it works every time for me.

ps Loved the quotes.

Kate Evangelista said...

I would have thought "Say hello to my little friend" would have made it. That one was iconic too.

Anonymous said...

For some reason, a good shower always helps!

An aunt of mine once said that the bathroom is the most important place because 95% of your good ideas come from there. Haha.

Thanks for the tips! Anything that helps when you have toddler and baby distractions? ;)

Andrew Leon said...

"I find your lack of faith disturbing."

Wait, invisible car? What invisible car?

As I tell my younger son when he has a writing assignment: don't sit there staring at a blank page, just write. Write anything. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't even have to be good. Just write something. After all, it's not set in stone.

Kenya D. Williamson said...

Thanks for not being stingy, Sam! I laughed out loud when you mentioned Fringe. (I fear I'd have a lot of dead characters on my hands if I followed that rule.) I like to turn everything off -- including the computer when I'm stuck. Then I lie down, close my eyes and let my characters entertain me. Usually, my eyes pop open after what seems like a great idea. If they don't, it's probably because I just needed a nap. :)

Anonymous said...

Agree with mymommyology, add Psycho to the list because the shower is a great place to get ideas!

Jamie Poag said...

What an excellent, original idea! This was really great, and I can't wait to put your "cinematic tactics" to good use!

Anonymous said...

I have usually gone for a walk, a bike ride or in the winter a quick shovel. From now on, I am going to scour over your posts and just let the juices just start flowing on their own. You are hilarious, witty, creative and so much fun to read!

Thank you.


Elizabeth Young said...

I'm with Forrest Gump - life is like a box of chocolates and you never know what the next one will hold. I find the smallest everyday things bring inspiration for writing and there are never enough hours in the day for me to write like I wish.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Great post, Sam!

When I'm stuck, I find changing POVs helps. I always write in third person, but when I'm having a hard time getting into the character's head, I'll switch to first for awhile. Gets my juices flowing (and of course, I'll revise it back to third later).

Also, it helps to write longhand. Not sure why, but putting pen to paper makes me think differently.

Anonymous said...

My favorite of all these quotes is the one from the movie, Forrest Gump. I just LOOOOOOVE Tom Hanks! Loved him since Bosom Buddies. I'm biased, I know! :D


...Stepping back. Playing with Maia. Taking a shower. Smoking (well, I used to do this...not anymore!). Fixing files. And yes...napping! Those are just some of the things I do. :)

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Connie - Your tip sounds so relaxing that it almost makes me want to get a bad case of writer's block ;-)

Kate - True! I think Guinness missed out on a LOT.

Mymommyology - Haha! I think it's easier to cure writer's block than to manage toddlers running around the house!

Andrew - Agree 100%. The important thing is to get it on paper. Trying to be perfect can be paralyzing. (The "invisible car" was in Die Another Day.

Kenya - Haha! I hear you! Naps are good for the soul :D

OCMom - I'm all for showers -minus the knife-wielding maniac. hehe.

Jamie - Thank you! I hope they help! :D

Meagan - Awww...thanks!!! :D Walks work for me too. As for bikes...they don't like me as much ;-)

Elizabeth - Well said. Inspiration is out there - you just need to keep your eye out for it. :D

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Jennifer - Thanks! I haven't thought about trying to write in the first person before. I'll give that a try! (My handwriting is too awful to attempt writing longhand. Hehe)

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Mia -This is soooo funny. I'm getting old. I thought you posted earlier (another commenter has
the word "mommy" in her blog name). Haha! I got the two of you mixed up. Oh gosh. LOL Fixing files - I'm sooo with you! It's quite relaxing. I think I need to do it now. Haha!

Anonymous said...

Uh-Oh! :D

Hahaha! Nah, you're not getting old. You're getting confused because of having too many readers and commenters!

If you must know, I got a little confused (minutes ago) back there too. :P

I find fixing files soooooo therapeutic! Thought I was alone in thinking that way. Hahaha! So cool Sam!

- Mia (just making sure) :)

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

LOL, Mia!!!! I'm sure it must have been really weird seeing your name there earlier. :D

Anonymous said...

Not weird...more like, "Oh, Sam has another 'Mia' friend..and why wouldn't she? I'm not the only 'Mia' in the world, am I?..." and so on. I'm being weird. :P

- Mia (just making sure again)

Anonymous said...

I love this list, Sam! I'll add one more thing I do. I read. Reading great authors helps to inspire me and get me past the writer's block.

KLZ said...

That right there? Is an awesome collection of movies.

I would ask my characters why we aren't more afraid of skynet. I mean, we've all seen terminator right? So why do they think we aren't more afraid?

JoJo said...

my sister's fave film is Gone with the Wind. She loves it so much that she's going to call her daughter Scarlett! x

Anonymous said...

Uncluttering my cabinet is the best for me.

Love your post! :-D

Suzanne said...

These are GREAT!!!!!!!!!!! (isn't that a Tony the Tiger quote???)

angel011 said...

Thanks for the great tips!

Watching cats can help too. Or put you to sleep, depending on what you're doing.

My psychology professor told us about a method to get unstuck: she'd call her ex-husband and tell him she wanted to marry him. They both knew she wouldn't do it, the trick was to do something out of the ordinary (of course, not in such a way to hurt someone or to jeopardize your safety), and she told us it worked for her.

M Kathy Brown said...

Love the format of your idea!!!!! One of my ideas for a blog post was to do recognizable celeb quotes, but I never could seem to get it to the drawing board. This is sooo excellent, Sam. Tasteful, great commentary and enjoyable presentation. Thank you for inspiring us :~)

Anonymous said...

love this! writer's block is the worst... i love your idea to get around it!

MuMuGB said...

I love your suggestions! Thanks for this advice. When I am stuck, I go out for a run, I drink a nice cappuccino, or I meditate 2 to 3 mins- that's all I can manage anyway...

The Sisterhood said...

Those pictures of Clark Gable and Cary Grant are pretty inspiring, too. Ha! I actually have been inspired by both movies and books (seeing how other writers craft their plots or solve a similar situation can spark our own imaginations.) Talking to other writers has also helped or relaxing under a hot shower. Sometimes it's just a matter of giving an idea some time to develop.

Great post!


Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Mia - Haha! Sorry again for the confusion :D

Kelly - Great tip! Reading awesome books can be very inspiring (although I will admit that sometimes doing that can make me feel like such a loser in comparison to their authors. LOL) :D

KLZ - True! you think this blog is secure? *furtively looks around* ;-)

Jojo - I love that movie too! (p.s. it's a good thing your sister's fave movie isn't any of the Austin Powers flicks. I don't think your niece would appreciate being called Foxxy Cleopatra ;-) )

Malen - Agree! There's something about organizing things that helps us organize our minds :D

Suzanne - Haha! Cereal character quotes - I think you've given me my next blog topic. LOL :D

angel101 - Your professor sounds like such a character. Haha! But I do agree that stepping out of the box is a great tip :D (and watching cats too - which, in my case would be out of the ordinary since I'm a dog person ;-) )

Kathy - Aww...thank you! I just thought it would be a fun way to tackle a pretty serious topic. :D

Sherrod - Glad you liked it! Thank you!!

MuMuGB -Thanks! Sometimes the biggest challenge is actually finding the TIME to get unstuck. Hmm...I wonder if it's possible to run WHILE drinking coffee and meditating? ;-)

Lorena - (So with you on Clark Gable and Cary Grant! They don't make 'em like they used to, that's for sure. LOL) I really like what you said about "giving an idea some to develop." So true!

Cathy K said...

LOL, great stuff. You're so inventive dear Sam. I get unstuck by doing a headstand and trying to read upside down!

PS - what's the meaning of this new, teasing backdrop?

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Haha! Thanks, Cathy! I think your tip would break my neck. LOL! (And I'm glad you noticed the background - it's from a critical scene in Before Ever After. :D)

Meredith said...

This is too cool! Perfect writing advice. Especially #10. :)

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Haha! *Raises glass* Cheers, Meredith! :D

Diana Hallare said...

Hi, and great blog post again!

Sometimes, I get out of the writer's block by daydreaming (going back to memory lane), talking to a friend, and reading.

Traci said...

Cute post! Very creative!

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Hi, Diana! Thanks! Daydreaming is a great tip. (Although sometimes I'm guilty of doing to much of it ;-) )

Thanks, Traci! Happy you liked it :D

(Florida) Girl said...

I def. agree with shaking up the routine and writing from a new place. All of this helps me.

When I really get stuck I like to write a scene completely unrelated to the project. It helps me to get into a new creative space where there is less pressure.

Serendipity's Library said...

I swear when i was reading that last part about Fringe I thought....if they don't like Fringe they won't make it into my book...and then saw you wrote kill them off. So funny. These are great suggestions and I plan on using them as I have been staring at a blank screen for over a week now.

Donea Lee said...

Oh, I love this! So clever. I love how you tied these famous quotes with writing tips. "I'll be back." Too funny. (Although - "You're gonna need a bigger boat" should be in that top ten...hmmm...ties to writing as - when the conflict isn't working quite right - make things worse?) :)

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Florida girl - I like that tip! I've never done that before. I'm definitely going to try it. Thanks!

Serendipity - High five! Fringe ROCKS. It's one of the few shows that never fail to surprise me. :D

Donea - Haha! True! I can't believe Guinness missed that Jaws line! :D


Love what you said about getting dressed in something different to get the creative juices started. Excellent idea.
I'm off here to figure out what I'll wear today.
Should I go with my orange heels and jeans. Or the brown wedgies and something a bit dressier.
Thanks for getting me thinking.
I have a time staying on the writing horse. I'm easily distracted but my writer friends are all getting pubbed so I have to get off here and get busy.
Blessings, Barb
Writing: the ups and downs

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Hi, Barb! :) The orange heels have got my vote! ( I want to buy a pair for myself!LOL)

C.M. Villani said...

Best ways for me to get unstuck....
1.) Hit ITunes and get a whole bunch of new music.
2.) Take a hot shower to relax and quiet my mind
3.) Take a drive and let my mind wander.

P.s. Favorite quote of yours has got to be "Gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on side. And don't be stingy, baby." :D

Anonymous said...

Here's something different - I clean. There's nothing liking cleaning to feel like you've accomplished something - after that I'm usually good to go. Organizing and decluttering ? Even better! Love the movie quotes - of course there's always the famous scene from When Harry Meet Sally - that helps too ; )

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Christina - Bottoms up! :D Ah, yes - MUSIC! For my fix, I rely on the inspiration you post on your cool blog :D

Wynnie - LOL! You naughty, naughty girl Wynnie! But yes, I have to agree with you on that scene! :D

Sophia the Writer said...

hahaha I love the one about dressing differently. I should totally put on my fanciest Betsey Johnson when I'm writing the ball scenes. Talk about getting into character...

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Haha! Why not? This will sound weird, but I sometimes like to wear different rings depending on the scene I'm writing. LOL :D

ONID said...

uhmmmm . . . . RUN?

but, that's just me . . . :-)

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Haha! Why did I know you'd say that? Congrats again for RUNNING a full marathon! :D