Who had the biggest influence on you as a writer and why?
Writing is one of those strange skills that just gets better with time and practice. For people like Ricky Gervais, it was an exercise in getting to know himself and figuring out what he could share with the world.
But if you get too serious about it, he will tell you to fuck off.
Check out Gervais' storytelling capabilities in this video from Fast Company, and let's talk after the jump.
Look, there's nothing more fun than Ricky being Ricky. His snark and attitude talking about why we wouldn't care about his opinion made me chuckle, as did the numerous "fuck offs." But when you get down to it, there's something for us all in Gervais' story.
He was just forcing empty genre down people's throats and trying to be clever for so long.
It was the words of a teacher that put him back on track—"Write what you know about."
He heard those words not as a challenge but as an affront. So he went home and tried to think of the most boring story he could, just to get back to his teacher. He wrote about his mom helping out the elderly woman next door. About the smells in her house and the way she walked.
But what he didn't realize was that he was putting his soul on the paper.
He was writing about the stuff that really matters.
Even though he tried to be funny and boring, instead he unlocked something about his life and about the tragedy and comedy he saw every day. He made the ordinary extraordinary. That skill earned him an "A" on his next paper but it also influenced the storyteller he would become.
I think that's a challenge for us all.
Let me know what you think in the comments.