What would you do with six million dollars?
I have a lot of flaws as a writer. I don’t finish what I start. I read really slow. I think too much about style, rather than substance. And yes…I get lazy.
I’m far from a perfect writer. But there is one thing I do know. I know how to change it.
Ever since I graduated from University last year, I’ve made writing a part of me full time. I’ve continued to ask myself: Who am I as a writer? What do I want to say? And even, how do I help others create theirs?
Right now, I only have a few answers. But I’ve stumbled upon a secret. It’s what I keep in mind whenever I feel lazy or if I forget my writing goals. Here goes:
I’ve decided to pursue this, with all of your heart, until I die. I know that sounds morbid. But it works. That’s the secret.
In order to be good at anything, it can’t just be a simple choice. It needs to be a realised purpose. No back-up plans. No ifs or maybes. It needs to be a full throttle, 100% realised part of your psyche. You need to BULLY yourself into doing what you set your MIND TO.
It has pushed me to change my ways, step by step, day by day.
As soon as you pursue something with all of your life-giving passion, you start to do it even when you are not doing it. In the coffee shop. Whilst you’re at your desk. Or even in the toilet. I get my best ideas in the toilet!
Every moment then becomes an opportunity to become better. And you know what? You will suddenly realise that you are becoming better without doing anything at all.
So here are 3 steps that I try to keep in mind wherever I go. I keep it pasted to my wall as I write.
1) Study your work:
Understand what you do. Why you do it. Study the look of the page, the words you use and the message you are trying to get across. Just study it. No changes yet. Know your style.
2) Critique your work
Here’s the hard part. You don’t need to write like everybody else – but you must still follow the basic rules that everyone else is playing by. Even if you are the most naturally gifted pro footballer in the world, there’s no point, if you decide to kick the ball into the stands rather than the goal. So compare your writing to top writers in your field. How does your page look compared to theirs? It only takes ONE PAGE to know if you are good. Is it good? Why not?
3) Reflect on your work
The most fun part. Read it and digest what you have written on an emotional level. Would you buy it? Does it do everything you set out to do – the suspense, the story, the characters, the world. Do you feel that you have grown with this piece of work?
Not everything you write has to be gold. It doesn’t have to become a bestselling book or an award winning piece of fiction. But if it is good – pat yourself on the back! Well done! Go out and bloody treat yourself.
Write because you want to become better. Because you love it. Because there’s nothing else you’d rather do for the rest of your life.
I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me. Do tell me your thoughts!
One of the most amazing things my mother encouraged was drawing and writing. Even if it was on the wall. She would always say that we could clean it off. It wasn’t a big deal. She was much more interested in what I created. This was in my old home in Battersea, London.
Of course, if I overdid it, I would eventually end up like this.
Are there any cool lessons/quirks that made an impact from your parents ? I’d love to hear them!!
The past few months I’ve gained a new perspective on myself. I’ve learnt that I’m not the filmmaker or writer I thought I was. I may not even be the person I first thought I was. INSERT <DRAMATIC MUSICAL STING>
When I first pursued a diploma in Film, Sound and Video in 2006 (or how time flies), I wanted to be the next Steven Spielberg. I was full of so many dreams I didn’t know what to do with them all.
I made some truly shitty films. I studied hard and did well. I still love making films – the scripting, the artistry and the editing process – but something has changed. I’ve found something else that I love even more.
Making children laugh and learn.
Over the past few months I’ve been scriptwriting for new exciting TV channel that is about to be launched here in Asia (Singapore). It’s all about the awe-inspiring world of animals and features a zany crew of animal puppets.
At first I thought it would be simple. It wasn’t. It was extremely challenging. I had to adjust my writing mindset to a whole set of rules. But something else also happened. I found my zany, crazy and funny side.
I call that person – Kane the Silly Writer Mark 2.0.
I don’t consider myself a super funny person. I’m not the type to create numerous uproarious laughs at a party. I am, in fact, a introvert. I prefer more intimate (and sometimes funny) one on one conversations. I reflected and learnt one important lesson.
We can’t be afraid to try new things and venture down unexpected paths. Even if they were not a part of our dreams to begin with.
Work hard. Study your craft. But be flexible to change. Don’t be afraid of moving towards something you didn’t know you were good at. Sometimes you have to give up the little dreams that got you in it in the first place.
But you know the other great thing? Dreams can change. They are flexible too.
It doesn’t mean your past aspirations are gone. It doesn’t mean you are settling. It simply means to are evolving towards a part of yourself that was there to begin with.
Looking back, many of my pet projects, little books, home movies and sketches were all aimed at children.
I’m a man-child. I admit it. I love learning, I love words, I love strange new worlds and I love that part of you that jiggles when you let out a huge belly laugh.
I may not become the next Spielberg in the future but that’s ok. Matt Groening, Seth MacFarlane and JK Rowling have done pretty well haven’t they?
It’s awesome to be shortlisted and having best selling author Tim Weaver read my work! It’s enough to push myself even more.
Keep working. Keep improving. Don’t give up.