The Wizard of Oz is probably one of my favorite movies of all time. I was always enraptured by the story of Dorothy traveling to a lush beautiful land, full of magic and wonder, only to want to go back home in the end. The message in The Wizard of Oz is timeless. We’re all a work in progress, each and everyone one of us, and we’re all on some kind of journey. And there are always lessons to be learned in everything we experience. Especially when it comes to us writers. Sometimes we just need a little nudge to juice the muse again.
So, here are 10 writing lessons from the Wizard of Oz to help you get back on track.
- Running away doesn’t solve anything. When it comes to writing, some of us run away by procrastinating, some of us do it by feeling sorry for ourselves, some of us do it by getting is distracted, giving in to writer’s block, etc. Whatever way you “run away,” know that the only way to get back to your writing is to write (trust me, this is a lesson I learned the hard way).
- Sometimes you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature. Yes, things happen. Tornadoes can literally and figuratively rip through lives, disrupting things, throwing us off our game, halting our progress. That’s okay, just remember that it doesn’t last forever and make sure to hold on tight while it’s happening.
- Don’t get sidetracked by your opponents and naysayers. Writers are feral creatures. We are overly-sensitive, neurotic animals and we’re going to occasionally run into one or two people that want to get us and our little dog, too. Don’t waste time on mean, green witches and flying monkeys. What goes around comes around, and you’ll be a better person if you stick to your yellow brick road.
- Listen to the little people in your life. They’re the ones that will help you reach your destination. Whatever your goal or destination, don’t forget the ones who helped you get there. Be thankful for all the help and generosity of everyone along the way.
- Follow the yellow brick road. We all have our own path to follow. Don’t let yourself get sidetracked along the way (whether by someone or something). Many of us stray from our path at some point, but that’s okay, just don’t stray too far for too long. It might seem like it takes forever to reach your goal, but it’s worth it in the end.
- Friends help you get where you’re going. We all need friends to help us on our way. And true friends will accept you for who you are—flaws and all. Especially if you become a coffee-guzzling keyboard monster whose eyes have turned red from staring at a blank screen for three straight days (not that I know what that’s like!). True friends will also be the ones to help you find your way home when you need it (or give you a swift kick in the pants when you aren’t writing like you should be!)
- Don’t try to be something you aren’t. Authenticity is important and pretending you’re something you aren’t will come back to bite you in the butt. Don’t try to write in a genre that you aren’t comfortable with or try to be a certain kind of writer when you aren’t. Follow your own natural flow. Because it’s entirely too much work keeping up with your created persona. Be true to yourself and the right people will adore you (and hopefully you’ll sell millions of books!).
- Don’t give up your ruby slippers for anyone. Hold tight your values and principles. Keep a good rein on your own passions and don’t let them get watered down by someone else. In the end, those “ruby slippers” may just be the catalyst to get you where you’re trying to go.
- The real power is within you. It always has been. Don’t let yourself be fooled by gimmicks and props. You are the key to reaching your goals, you just have to believe…and stop playing on the internet.
- Dream in as many colors as you can. Dorothy said it best. “Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue. And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.” So don’t limit your imagination. Dream big and dream hard. And write like there’s a storm a-brewin’!
There you go, 10 writing (and life) lessons from The Wizard of Oz.
Do you have any others to add from The Wizard of Oz? What’s your favorite writing lesson from a book or movie?