Tag: stories

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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Three steps that have made me a better writer

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!

Keep writing,

Kane

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once Kane got a pen

Once Kane got a pen

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.

baby kane2

 

Are there any cool lessons/quirks that made an impact from your parents ? I’d love to hear them!!

Keep writing,

Kane

If his backside could tell you stories….

If his backside could tell you stories....

…it would tell you a lot of stories.

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.

Dark Island – Episode 1 (NEW WEB SERIES!)

Hey all! Here’s episode 1 of a new web series I am working on! It’s entitled Dark Island.

I can’t say too much. It’s up to you to explore and find out more, but it’s my first attempt at making a project truly ‘Transmedia’.

Tell me what you think! I’d love to get feedback!