#writetip #napoleon #dynamite
Several years ago, I watched the comical Napoleon Dynamite movie. Maybe I loved it for all the wrong reasons--like the zillion eighties references: caboodles, side pony tails, moon boots etc. The other night I re-watched the classic movie for some laughs. I got more than laughs. I got inspired. Here are four life lessons we can learn from Napoleon:
1. Everyone loves an underdog. Are you feeling lousy as a writer or a person? Do you have your own personal underdog story? Maybe you're currently feeling like someone threw you under the bus. Napoleon is someone to root for. He's the lonely kid, the physically awkward kid, the poor kid, the socially awkward kid. But he makes a friend, Pedro, and things change. Try joining a writing group or a critique group. Napoleon is a pretty self motivated kid, too. When he's down, he doesn't stay down for long.
2. Get a job. Napoleon's jealousy of his brother Kip (ha!) forced him to find a job. Kip and Uncle Rico were making some serious money. Cut to the farm scene when Napoleon asks the old farmer, "Do they have huge talons?" (Why is that so funny?!) I want to gag when Napoleon drinks the OJ punch mixed with raw eggs. And when the old farmer points, does anyone know what he's saying?? Of course, the last scene is my favorite: Napoleon counts his money (all in change) and says, "Six bucks. That's like a dollar an hour!" OK, on to my point. Yes, get a job even if it's not writing based. You gotta pay the bills or you'll be living like Uncle Rico.
3. You are not "too good" for the Goodwill. When Napoleon and Pedro visit the Goodwill and stop, star struck, in front of the creepy mannequin wearing a pumpkin-colored seventies suit, I died laughing, on the spot, on the floor, rolling around. "That's a pretty sweet suit." Bahahaha! Be thrifty. You don't have to spend a fortune being a writer. You don't have to buy every writing book under the sun or join every book society and coffee club. There are lots of freebies out there. Noah Lukeman offers his book How to Write a Great Query Letter free on his website. Other authors post advice and answer questions on their blogs while writing websites share invaluable articles all the time.
4. Be spontaneous. At the end of the movie, Napoleon got creative. He went out of his comfort zone and faced the music. He even thought of someone else--Pedro. Helping a struggling writer friend find connections and sharing writing articles can help take your mind off of you for awhile (hence my blog). You might have to throw caution to the wind and try new things. You could join Twitter like I did...but that's for another blog post. Unafraid of rejection, Napoleon mastered those moon boots.
Maybe you've gotten a few cynical laughs along the way. Someday, someone will stand up and applaud you, even if it's not Summer Wheatley. OK, remember to get your own tots and vote for Pedro.
(If you haven't seen the movie, you must watch it tonight!)