Tag: novel

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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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

Show up in 2014

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Happy New Year!

2014 is the year of getting it done. No more excuses. No more time wasting.

2013 was the foundation. I worked hard last year. It started with graduation and ended with a wonderful job writing for children’s television. Along the way there were some ups and downs. Somethings that had a lot of promise, didn’t happen in the end. I realised one thing.

Nothing great ever came easy. If it did, everyone would do it.

Last year I realised I wasn’t that good. I wasn’t the best writer I could be. It’s my craft and my one true joy. Somewhere in the middle of the year, I chose to be better. To read more. To write more. To start that bloody book. To stop being lazy (I was).

I did! I even managed to win my first literature award for a children’s short story. It paid off. 

I also took time off for my family and friends, to spend time with the people I love the most. I had a wonderful Christmas and an end of year holiday in Seoul and Jeju in Korea with the love of my life (the picture above is the top of Namsan Tower, Korea). I even got to see snow fall for the first time in more than a decade. It was magical. 

However, there’s more to do. I know I’m not where I want to be just yet. I want to provide for my love ones and family more this year. There’s more mistakes to make and more growing to do. 

Choose to make your 2014 special.

It’s the year to get it done. In whatever you do – make a choice. Choose to complete. To go that extra mile. To work harder and faster and longer than everyone else. 

Show up.

It will pay off.

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Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

A wonderful read. Although I didn’t like the main character, Toru, all too much, the poetry of the prose and the dream-like pace captured me. His sentences are divine. Here are some simple ones I wrote down:

The ragged end of the last word she spoke seemed to float in the air where it had been torn off.

The moonlight splashed the walls in a touch of diluted India ink.

A heavy pall hung over the forest as if all the animals were holding their breath.

And my favourite:

The sky was a fresh-swept blue, with only a trace of white cloud clinging onto the dome of heaven like a thin streak of test paint.

Oh Murakami – how you humble me with your skill. 🙂

If his backside could tell you stories….

If his backside could tell you stories....

…it would tell you a lot of stories.