Tag: books

Your Art is crap…but that’s okay

I’ve been putting it off for too long.

Let me fill you in: I wrote a novel four years ago. My first reaction? Hell YEAH! Take that Stephen King. Eat my dust JK Rowling. James Patterson—who’s that?! So there it was, a completed manuscript, in my hard drive, fermenting in digital soy sauce. And you know what? I was happy. I was exuberant. I was feeling like a freakin’ genius.

I read it last week.

 

It was crap. Damn…

I’ve written a few rudimentary novels in my twenty-seven years alive. I really cared about this one. That’s why it hurt. That’s why it hit me hard. That’s why I’m writing about it now.

Listen up. I believe this.

I believe that all artists—directors, writers, painters, singers, rappers, poets, and interpretative mime artists—take their art seriously. Too seriously. We’re an insecure group that craves affirmation and acceptance. We want people to say: “Hey, that was awesome!” although know-one truly cares. We want people to call us a genius, when, most of the time, our best work will remain invisible.

I envision my writing craft as a Jujitsu-trained pelican. It stabs me with its bill every time I make a mistake. It hits me hard. Every time. Pelicans don’t like me. Interesting fact.

Moving on.

I had to be honest: Kane, you’re a crap writer. Your sock choices are horrendous, too. Idiot.

But wait. Was it really that bad?

Think break. It hit me when I was on the MRT. There are levels to crap. It’s true—every profession, every artwork, every piece of work. So I began to think: what did I really do?

I transformed a dream…into a reality.

We often don’t give ourselves credit, but sometimes, the simple act of creating is enough. Transforming a dream into a reality, something you can see, read and touch, is an incredible feat. It takes time. It takes focus. It takes blood, sweat and repeated pokes to the heart. So what if we weren’t so self critical all the time? Where would that lead us?

Here’s my advice: Just complete. See your creations through.

Create your own story—an oil painting, a film, a stick figure drawing—and finish it. Make it personal. Care about it. Love it. Don’t have sex with it. That’s weird. But love the process.

Sometimes we need to think of our work as crap to push ourselves forward. And it’s okay to admit when it’s not your best work. Sometimes we put in infinite amounts of effort, and get nothing back.

Know this: you are making better crap every time. Slow steps. There are geniuses in the world. The simple fact is all of us aren’t. So practice and go through those growing pains. Pain is growth.

Right now I’m editing the second draft of my young adults novel. I’m looking back at myself four years ago, and I can see the intention, the enthusiasm, the fire to finish. But…

Art will never be perfect.

There will always be a “better idea”, a “better sentence” or a “better shot”. Make mistakes. Learn to love them. Do better next time.

So keep going. Success is just over that hill of crap.

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Inspiration 3#

Inspiration 3#

Cheonjiyeon Falls, Jeju Island, South Korea.

“And so the Dragon waited silently. He watched the ripples, like the passing of time itself, and occasionally caught the sight of a fallen leaf above him. He spoke to no-one. Not even the cold lifeless fish. He could smell them above. Their stench was tremendous. It smelt of spoilt milk and greed. It had smelt like that for a long time.”

3 lessons (how writing has saved me)

It takes a while for you to find your voice.

My voice is still developing. Over the past year, I think I’ve made a lot of progress.

I am writing for the sake of writing. I’m not doing it for fame. I’m not doing it for fortune. I do it because I love to write. That’s all.

I’m grateful for a platform to do that. Kane has a Pen was an idea to force myself to write more and develop an audience. Thanks for subscribing and being a part of my journey. Onwards!

I want to talk about what my writing experiences have taught me.

Writing has saved me more than once. Emotionally, financially and maybe even spiritually too.

I don’t have a heap of achievements or accolades, but I feel I’m headed in the right direction. I’m currently working on a children’s novel and it’s going well. I believe I can get it published. I believe I have a career doing it.

Why?

This is what I keep in mind when I work.

1) Don’t allow people to tell you that you can’t pursue your passion as a living.

Everyone as the right to do what they love and get paid.

I’ve heard so many people over the years tell me that “writing makes no money” or that “it’s better to get a real job.”

You can make a living doing anything you bloody feel like. Maybe it will take a bit more effort, a bit more patience, or a bit more luck. Stick with it.

I’m making a living right now as a scriptwriter, as well as pursuing a novel in my spare time. It can be done. It just takes discipline. Stop making excuses and just do it. Which leads me to…

2) Stop complaining

Everyone’s life is hard. Everyone has problems. Don’t be remembered as a person that always puts a negative spin on everything. No-one likes a Debbie Downer. Here’s an important FACT to keep in mind…

Whatever problem you have, someone probably has it worst.

Someone has, without a doubt, been through worst circumstances and obstacles. And they have overcome them.

Go to the library and read an autobiography of anyone you admire: Michael Jordan, Eminem, Chris Gardner, Muhammad Ali, Stephen King – ANYONE.

If they can overcome – so can you. Be thankful you’re alive for goodness sake.

3) Talent isn’t enough without hard work

Talent can only get you so far. The people that go really far are the ones that continually pound away at their craft. Hour after hour. Day after day.

I learnt this lesson from writers, celebrities, rappers (that also write continually) and entrepreneurs.

Just like Macklemore says in the song ‘Ten thousand Hours’:

The greats weren’t great because at birth they could paint
The greats were great cause they paint a lot

It takes time. Make a concentrated effort to tell yourself you’re not good enough…yet. Only then will climb the ladder of potential.

Be open to learning. To making mistakes. Don’t be cocky. Put in that work.

Keep writing,

Kane

You have a power beyond measure – GRADUATION!

I’m back again!

Apologies for the lack of posts but there was a good reason! Over the last few months  a lot has happened! It’s a time of transition for me – both professionally and maybe even a little spiritually (more on that later!). And it all began with my graduation from Chapman University Singapore with a B.F.A in Creative Producing last Sunday!

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For those of you that don’t know, I have been a full time student for the past two years, learning the intricacies of what it means to be a creative producer, media entrepreneur, storyteller and writer. I delved into everything from scriptwriting, marketing, distribution, film finance, new media and beyond! And it was one hell of a ride!

I think I truly found my calling at Chapman University. Call it destiny. Why do I feel this way? Because there comes a moment, as you work, create and ‘live’ what you are doing, that things become more lucid. The more hours you put into something, the more it eventually unravels, revealing truth.

For me, it was understanding that I could not only make filmmaking and storytelling my career, but also, as my gift to other people and the world.

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I was honoured to be the Valedictorian of the Class of 2013 (yipeee!) and was able to give a (nerve-wracking) speech. At first, it was near impossible to write. I had themes, but no words were coming out. I kept thinking that I had to be better than all of those great speeches on Youtube. Eventually, I settled on telling a story about how we all have a “power beyond measure”. And of course, talking about my experiences with my fellow classmates who I admire and respect.


My belief is that whatever you do as a career, remember you can change people for the better. In fact, it doesn’t have to be just your career – just you. The realisation makes your actions, words and thoughts have a far more powerful effect. An imprint that can change people’s lives – and hey, possibly the world.

There is so much suffering in the world – so much pain. I don’t think I need to convince you. The way you think matters. What you do matters. I don’t care if it’s making a film, writing a blog post or cleaning tables at a restaurant. It matters.

Why?

Because it can make a difference in other people’s lives. And isn’t that what we all want in life? To feel connected? I certainly do.

There is nothing more powerful than a caring act or an inspirational word at the right time. It doesn’t even have to be much. A smile. A handshake. A carefully worded text message. A caring whisper.

Embrace the fact that you can change your life.

During my two years in Chapman I met a variety of people and went through an even wider variety of challenges. Everything was made easier by relating it to people – human beings – than to the work at hand.

Trust me when I say this also: keep at it. I have also been through challenges these past few years – challenges that have threatened to derail my dreams. Things have always turned around. Life’s set-backs have a funny way of getting the hell out of your way if you don’t give up. It wants you to seek out the path of least resistance. Don’t follow. Seek out your own path and a reward will be waiting for you at the end.

I now look forward to trekking into the unknown. I have a lot of dreams. One is to helm my own animation series on a network. Another is to become an motivational speaker. I want to produce films, write novels and interact with greater minds than my own. I’ll take one step at a time – one word at a time if I need to.

Embrace your ability to change the world around you. Nothing is impossible.

Writing the cartoon pt1

Writing the cartoon pt1

1) To become a sensei (in animation writing that is)…one must learn from the best!