Sometimes, you have to cross the streams

As the world mourns the incredible comedy genius of Harold Ramis, let’s recount the badass things he taught as Dr. Egon Spengler.

Ladies and gents, I give you the top five take-home lessons from the single best movie of the 1980s, Ghostbusters.

#1 – Dr. Egon Spengler: Vinz, you said before you were waiting for a sign. What sign are you waiting for?

No really, what are you waiting for? What’s holding you back today, right now, from doing what you want?

Maybe you have a story to tell but no time or energy to get it done. Or maybe you’re afraid you’ll fail. Accept those as real possibilities and then find a way over or around them. Do it anyway.

#2 – Dr. Egon Spengler: I collect spores, molds, and fungus.

Do what you want, even when it’s not popular. Say what you feel, even when those around you don’t understand. Your only obligation on this planet is to be yourself.

Yeah, Dr. Spengler collected fungus. He also invented every piece of equipment the Ghostbusters used to save the world from the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. We all have quirks – and hidden talents. And where would we be without Dr. Spengler’s unlicensed nuclear accelerators?

#3 – Dr. Egon Spengler: Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic?

That shit inside that’s tying you in knots needs to be addressed. Get it out onto the page. Mentally vomit and write anything. It will bring you inner peace faster than a shot of whiskey. And that peace will last long after the whiskey has worn off.

Writers, we cannot substitute the feeling we get when we create. Writing is therapeutic, healing, revealing. It makes us who we are. Don’t feel well? Try writing.

#4 – Respect the rules.

Generally speaking, writing rules are your friends. As you learn your style and preferences, rules guide you to writing with clarity. This is good. Readers like clarity.

#5 – ‘I have a radical idea.’

And sometimes, you have to break the rules. Once you already know what the rules are and why they exist, you can break them. Sentence fragments. Excessive em dashes. Things you couldn’t have attempted as a novice writer become fun and especially useful as plot devices. (Short, clipped sentences to build suspense, for example.)

Your assignment: Right now, in the comments, tell me what you’re allowing to hold you back. Fear? Lack of money? Lack of time? Spill it. THEN, tell me how you could overcome it.

Bonus points if you tell us what Ghostbusters taught you.

Thank you, Dr. Egon Spengler. Thank you.