Girls is back on Monday (Sky Atlantic at 10pm – as if you don’t already know) and we’re super excited. So excited that we’ve brought together some of Lena Dunham’s (creator and star of Girls) best advice for young people who want to follow in her footsteps. You’re welcome.
One of the hardest things when writing can be looking for inspiration. Lena says that the characters in Girls are based on her and her circle of friends, combined with the lives of the people who she writes with. She even had her best friend star in two episodes of the show.
On the subject of getting started and getting the creative juices flowing, Lena says: “I take naps, I eat snacks, I do transcendental meditation which I find extremely helpful. I call Jemima on the phone and shoot the shit. I walk the dog and look at people on the street. Stuff like that.”
Obviously as an aspiring writer, you do need some kind of talent at writing but you can develop that with practice. “I think if you feel like you were born to write, then you probably were,” Lena says. “Write a lot. Write all the time. Make a gang of creative people who you can claw your way to the top with.
“If you’re writing, you’re starting in private. It can really be this amazing, private, freeing experience. Forget that it’s for other people – that comes in later.”
It’s worth realising that it’s really hard to just ‘become’ a writer and will almost definitely not happen overnight (the exception to this rule being, obviously, Lena Dunham). You’re going to have to work hard and probably do other jobs in the meantime. “When I graduated college I had a series of just humiliating jobs that I couldn’t believe I was at,” she told GQ. “I was raised by artists who I now know were working really hard, but as a kid it appeared that they were doing what they wanted to do all the time. I was ill-prepared. So the idea that you had to do things – I mean this sounds so bratty – but the idea that you had to do things you didn’t want to do was shocking to me.”
Girls has had great reviews since it started in 2012. But it’s important to not focus too much on reviews, although Lena admitted to The Hollywood Reporter that she loves seeing what the audience think. “It’s crazy. It’s so addictive. It’s so weird,” she says. “I wish that I wasn’t so addicted to reading the tweets about the show.”
“I don’t really read reviews… That’s not where my attention goes. But I love seeing the real-time reactions of people who aren’t critics, who are just experiencing the show at home,” she adds. “I’m consistently surprised by my audience and also amazed by their sort of wit in the things that they pick out as themes in the show that I didn’t even see.”
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