BalanceMayIssue2017 - 54





A bit about me


I've written with Jesse Armstrong
for 20 years. We wrote Channel 4's
Peep Show for 12 of those, but now
I'm embarking on new adventures.
Yes, it's scary - you have to get out
of the boat and learn to swim again.

Take a leap
Your weird thoughts
might match what
others think. We
proved that the day
we used thoughts as
voiceovers for Peep
Show - it felt like
finding a goldmine.

D on't judge yourself

People tend to have an
inner conflict about
'It's a new age cliché, but
writing. They
we were all born to be creative
- it's our birthright. As children,
judge themselves
we had active imaginations.
harshly when their
Some lose that and some
writing's not very
don't. As adults, we need to
good. You have to
expose ourselves and have the
accept that what
courage to be creative.'
you write for the
first few months - even
years - won't be very good.
You need patience. If you have
too high expectations of yourself,
you're going to be disappointed.
Remember: writing is rewriting.

Don't get bogged down by things
that don't matter, such as insisting
you have an office to write in. Jane
Austen didn't have an office. The
key, ultimately, is finding time. A
lot of people want to write, but they
can't make the time. When you
have obligations - financial and
family - it's harder and so you have
to do it regularly and make it a
routine, such as exercise. When
it's a routine, it becomes more
automatic and a lot easier.

Use your phone

Some people carry around a pen
and paper to write stuff down when
inspiration strikes. However, I've


54 masterclass SamBain FINAL.indd 54


got this newfangled device called a
phone. I think it'll catch on. I don't
tend to have brilliant ideas on, say,
the bus, but occasionally things
might come up.

Be authentic
With comedy, it has
to come from your
heart. People like a
genuine connection.
When I see David
Mitchell on a panel
show, it's honest.


Sam co-wrote
British black
comedy Four

E mbrace dead lines

Ever since I started out on a
creative writing course, I haven't
achieved anything without a
deadline. I recommend courses,
because they provide two essential
things: deadlines and feedback.
Laziness is the enemy of writing,
while deadlines get you off your
backside and make you get on
with it. Maybe introduce a rewards
system, too: a biscuit if you finish
writing a really good bit.

Sam Bain's debut play
The Retreat opens on
2 November at the
Park Theatre, London

Eavesdropping is a
good way to pick
up funny things, as
is listening to your
friends. And listen
to yourself: the best
inspiration I get is
from my own
stupid thoughts.

the outcome

'When it comes to writing creatively, just keep
doing it. And discover what you enjoy. If you think
you should be writing in a certain way, then it's
never going to be good. But if you have found
something you love, then do that. Keep it
fun and find your bliss.' B


M ake the time

Buddy up
Writing in a
partnership is much
more sociable, and
very different to
writing on your own.
It takes away a lot of
the pain of having to
motivate yourself.

BALANCE May 2017

05/05/2017 15:49


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