The Importance Of Acting, For Writers

The art of writing is an integral part of theatre and film, and so, important to actors as well. After all, with no writers, our plays and films would never be written, and there would be nothing for us to act. But the art of acting is just as important to a writer.

See, the writer is more than just a writer. You are also an actor, playing out the various roles in your head. You are also a director, setting the stage for the events to unfold. You are the lighting designer and sound designer, bringing these to life through your words. The writer, in short, is a complex amalgamation of roles within a single body.

Creative writing instructor Robert McKee once said, “The finest writing not only reveals true character, but arcs, or changes that inner nature, for better or worse, over the course of the telling.” A writer who knows the art of acting will know how to delve into the character’s soul and discover what makes him or her tick. Your characters become more real as a result. Acting out your characters, whether physically or in your head, also helps you get speech patterns right, and allows you to develop your characters naturally, making for more believable scenes even for the most unbelievable of stories.  

Acting also unleashes your creative mind, lets you explore your physical boundaries and pushes you to your limits. It teaches you to be fearless and to bare your soul before an audience. After all, your choice of words, your choice of story, reveal as much about you as it does about the story itself. Recall Neil Gaiman when he said, “The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like.” Acting forces you become confident of yourself, thereby making you less hesitant about just “going for it” in your writing.

Lastly, the exercises you do in your acting classes show you possibilities by tapping into your subconscious mind. Those random exercises are usually geared towards freeing you from constraints and releasing your innermost creative impulses. By allowing yourself that freedom and by observing those around you, you may get inspiration in the most unexpected ways.