After my first failed NaNoWriMo attempt, I was looking back to see what I could’ve done differently. I found it mostly came down to procrastination. It actually made me feel more like a real writer because I hear that a lot of professional writers are very good at procrastinating. My procrastination was mostly reading, surfing the internet, TV, and movies. Sometimes I would even do housework, because when you should be writing, all you want to do is anything but writing. My favorite type of procrastination was watching movies. I found a lot of films that center on the act of writing and it made what really was wasted time feel like “research.” If you find yourself in the same boat, here’s a comprehensive list.
- Comedies: These are my favorite because they are light, they are fun, and they act as an enjoyable escape when you should be getting serious. Adaptation (2002), Delirious (1991), Young Adult (2011), Funny Farm (1988), Wonder Boys (2000), She-Devil (1989), Stranger Than Fiction (2006), The Muse (1999), Adult World (2013), Satan’s Brew (1976), Ruby Sparks (2012), The Player (1992), Sideways (2004), Sex and the City & Sex and the City 2 (2008 & 2010), Happy Christmas (2014), The World According to Garp (1982)
- Woody Allen: These could technically be included in comedies because they are comedic gems. Allen is a master auteur, but he is also a master with words. Several of his films focus on the strange creature known as the writer. Deconstructing Harry (1997), The Front* (1976), Manhattan (1979), Midnight in Paris (2011), Scoop (2006), Bullets Over Broadway (1994), Celebrity (1998) *Allen did not write or direct, only starred.
- Biopics: The lives of great writers make great stories and great stories make great films. On The Road (2012), The Hours (2002), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), Becoming Jane (2007), Iris (2001), Capote (2005), Infamous (2006), The Whole Wide World (1996), Finding Neverland (2004), The Last Station (2009), Kill Your Darlings (2013), Henry & June (1990), Sylvia (2003), Barfly (1987), American Splendor (2003), Prick Up Your Ears (1987), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), Shakespeare in Love (1998)
- Classics: Cinematic portrayals of the wordsmith and their craft is not new to today’s box office. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Leave Her To Heaven (1945), La Dolce Vita (1960), Sunset Blvd. (1950), Contempt (1963)
- Horror/Suspense: Sometimes writing can be scary. Here are some horror stories from behind the typewriter. The Shining (1980), Barton Fink (1991), Swimming Pool (2003), Misery (1990), Secret Window (2004), Romancing The Stone (1984), The Ghost Writer (2010)
- Journalism: Journalism writing is a whole other beast with its own particular dramas. All The President’s Men (1976), Shattered Glass (2003), The Front Page (1974), State of Play (2009), His Girl Friday (1940), Almost Famous (2000), Citizen Kane (1941)
- Drama: Writers are always looking to create drama, so it is a natural genre for movies about writing. Atonement (2007), Before Sunset (2004), The Door in the Floor (2004), Little Women (1994), The Accidental Tourist (1988), Finding Forrester (2000), The Book Thief (2013), The Words (2012)
- TV: The small screen is no stranger to exploring the trials and tribulations of the writer. Sex and the City (1998), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961), Castle (2009), The Writer’s Room (2013), Californication (2007)
Whether you’re a beginning scribe looking for inspiration and guidance or an experienced author looking for distraction there’s something on this list for you. Now that you’ve successfully procrastinated by reading this list, you should get back to writing or continue to procrastinate by watching one of these literary flicks.