Tag: JK Rowling

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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Don’t be afraid of what you’re good at

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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?