3 Things La La Land can Teach Us About Writing


La La Land is the new musical that’s sweeping the awards season. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in this bittersweet romance about two struggling artists trying to make it in Hollywood. As someone who is always trying to write or create something and get it off the ground, I left the cinema feeling elated and hopeful about my creative endeavours.

Gosling plays jazz pianist, Sebastian, who wants to open his own club, along side Stone’s Mia, an aspiring actress, and together they try to follow their dreams and make it work. That’s all I’m going to tell you about the plot, but I will reveal the three things La La Land can teach writers and all creatives.

  1. Hold onto your Dreams: It sounds a bit schmaltzy, but this is one of the main themes of La La Land. The film manages to carry this hopeful message without becoming merely a frothy distraction. Instead, La La Land reminds us that it’s easy to lose sight of why you started a project or wanted to be a writer, which is a one-way trip to disillusionment and giving up. People are constantly telling us to ‘get real’, but the world needs dreamers, so don’t give up on yours.
  2. The Right Path isn’t Always Straight: The path to success or achieving your goal isn’t always the one that leads you straight ahead. Or there may be more than one route over the rainbow. Sometimes you might need to give up something or compromise in order to keep going, but as long as you stick to number one on this list, you’ll get there. Don’t let those compromises blind you from your real goal – reaching that dream.
  3. Positive Things can come from Your Failures: The fear of failure often holds us back. We never finish anything or we finish it, but never submit it anywhere. You won’t show your writing to anyone and you say it’s because it’s not ready or because they might steal it, but really because the voice in your head says ‘what if it’s shit?’. La La Land tells us that it’s okay to be shit. You have to let yourself fail because that way you grow and learn and become better. Sometimes you’re your own worst judge and if you never put your work out there, you’ll never know if it’s shit or not. Every mistake is one step closer to being better and reaching that goal.

Sometimes we need a film like La La Land to remind us that there’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer. So keep dreaming because someone’s got to make it and why shouldn’t that be you?

Which films have left you feeling inspired to carry on?

8 thoughts on “3 Things La La Land can Teach Us About Writing

  1. It may sound odd, but as well as fear of failure I think fear of success can also stop us in our tracks. Even a little success can knock us out of our comfortable nest and begin to change our self image.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup. True, but just not relevant to La La Land.
      It’s definitely a genuine fear though – what if I succeed and can’t write anything as good? A new set of pressures that most of us don’t have to worry about 🙂


    • That’s so true, Leanne. As well as the fear that, once I’ve succeeded, what next?, there’s also the, what if I can’t do this again? Or, the illogical, what if someone figures out I’m a fraud?


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