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  • Writer's pictureMatt Woodcock

#36 Script.

There's few things more exciting to me than a blank page or screen.

The creative possibilities always feel endless.

Yet to fill one in with anything half decent - that’s the tricky part.

I’d pontificated for years about writing a book.

Bent the ear and bored the pants off countless relations, friends - and anyone else unlucky enough to be in my vicinity.

I talked like I was on the verge of putting the finish touches to a runaway bestseller.

In reality, I’d barely written a word.

I lacked the confidence and the commitment required to bring my idea to life.

My fingers remained paralysed over the keyboard for far too long.

That all changed one afternoon in Hull when a clergy pal came to stay.

Over a few pints, I trotted out my usual book spiel until his eyes began to roll.

With refreshing candour, he suddenly stopped me mid-flow.

‘Matt,’ he said.

‘Stop talking about it. Just write the bloody thing.’

It was the jolt I needed.

Everything changed from that point on.

I dragged myself into Costa for 6.30am most mornings and made it happen.

Once the typing started it didn’t stop.

Before long I felt ready to send it to someone.

Of course, that’s the second hardest thing about writing - letting someone else read your work.

For many of us, the fear of possible rejection - of it not being good enough - is agony.

My dad - one of the best writers I know - has written a couple of books.

Sadly, though, he’s the only one who’s ever read them.

They sit useless and unseen on his hard drive.

He can't bear them not being up to scratch - no matter how hard I try to reassure him.

Somehow I plucked up the courage to send a draft of my first book, Becoming Reverend, to a trusted, honest and well connected friend.

To my amazement, he liked it - and within six months it was on the shelf in Waterstones (entertainingly, in between the latest work by two proper Christian heavyweights, Pope Francis and Rowan Williams).

Since the release of my follow up book, Being Reverend, I’ve embarked on a new writing challenge.

A script for a TV comedy.

I’ve been bashing away at it in my spare moments of this current lockdown.

I’ve just started on Episode Two.

Is it any good? Could it be the next Only Fools and Horses?

Almost certainly not.

But at least these days I have the motivation to do two things:

  1. Finish it.

  2. Show it to my friend (who’ll soon tell me if the script is telly or bin worthy).

I have my priest pal to thank for this increased confidence and determination.

For life’s creative endeavours to come to life, sometimes it’s really helpful to be bluntly told to ‘just write the bloody thing.’

It worked for me.

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