Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Becoming A More Dedicated Writer


It's unavoidable and dirty, something we bury deep down to hide even from ourselves - but the truth is, most of the time, watching other people succeed in something you've always dreamed of doing, sucks. 

It was almost exactly this time last year that I wrote about 'The Struggle of Being a Writer in a Bloggers World', despairing about the influx of youtubers snapping up book deals and their subsequent books zooming to the top of bestseller lists worldwide. To me, this was far worse than art for art's sake, it was art for profit's sake, stomping all over something held so sacred for writers who'd slaved for years to even get a glimpse at a publishing house. I felt we'd been robbed of a dream, watching opportunity burst into flames above our heads and rain upon us in tatters.

Although my fears were legitimate, it was an unavoidable truth that I was pretty much just  jealous as fuck, too.

I realised I was just spewing negativity and it was not only corrupting my own creativity but I was generating strong ill-will toward those I had nothing but respect for. And that was just making me a shitty person, so I removed myself from the situation, had a word with myself, and worked on being less shitty.

A year on and it's follow-up-to-debut-novel season, and this time I was quick to catch my bitterness before it caught on. I've grown a lot this year, and I feel both the books I've read and the things I've done have aligned me into a more balanced person. 

Plus, with the imminent releases of my good friends and soul sisters Emma Gannon and Laura Williams' books, I feel genuine butterfly-inducing excitement, and comfort that the balance has been restored in the ~online creator/book writer~ continuum once more. (Wait is that still catty? I don't know. I'm working on it) 

However, I've realised that if I'm truly dedicated to my writing, then this actually has nothing to do with anyone else at all. Other people succeeding neither opens doors nor diminishes chances because no-one else is you. Opportunities are sought and seized, not gifted. If you truly want something, are willing to work for it, and believe that you're more than goddamn good enough to do it, then it's up to you to make it happen.

I'm a firm believer that if you are proactive, wise and continue to create under any circumstance, then Lady Fate will always take note. Like metaphysical peacocking. You gotta stand up, look her dead in the eye and unleash your tailfeathers with a dramatic and colourful flourish that says yes bitch, I've arrived. Then you get back to work. You strut past her on the way back, give her a wink, and then a big explosion erupts into a fireball behind you as your silhouette slinks into the distance and you look like a officially-certified, bonafide BAD. ASS.

So these are the things I've currently been doing to help achieve metaphysical bad bitch status:

Never stop reading, never stop writing, never stop listening

Do not leave the house for that hour and a half commute without a book safely tucked in your bag. Read everything. Read stuff you think is boring and ask why they chose that particular phrasing. Analyse and question everything. Read books you don't think you'd like. Listen to podcasts for inspiration. As many as you can, on all different topics. Sign up to people's newsletters and read what they recommend you. Talk to people about exciting things and listen to what excites them. Every waking moment should be spent reading, writing, listening or discussing - keep your fertile mind stimulated so it doesn't turn to scrolling through social media. Be a sponge and filter feed experience.


Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Every single book you read, read as both writer and reader. Take a pen to the paper every time that is necessary. Deface the shit out of books you love, have at that them with pens, highlighters, margin notes - underline everything which inspires you or makes you smile and write why. Then compile these all into a spreadsheet. Return to the start of the book and copy out every quote with page number and your commentary to it. Typing out the words in the borrowed voice of a published writer will get you into their mindset, help you to think like they do and inspire you to channel your own thoughts and personality through that frame and into something remarkable.


Be your own archivist

Don't narrow yourself to just one creative outlet. Allow your creativity to flow through all the forms you wish. Paint. Draw. Sing. Play. Write. Focus your skills into a portfolio, varying one across all platforms. Don't just write blog posts, write fiction and short stories and publish them too. Write aricles for other publications - freelance your talents. Spread yourself far and wide so you are omnipresent, you influence omnipotent. Spread your creations and pollinate the web, your work like Dandelion seeds on a breeze. Create a concrete archive of everything you've done and just how far you reach, to show everything you can, and will, do. 

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These are the things I have been doing for the past few weeks, and my mind feels electric. And definitely less shitty. You know, I always thought starting a job would mean having to forgo artistry, but working in a creative agency has only added fuel to my fire and my heart and soul feels motherfucking alive. It allows me to write and learn and be excited and I arrive and leave every day with equal enthusiasm. I feel a change, not just in me, but in everything - a certain kind of magic which is creeping into my perspective and therefore changing the whole world.

All I know right now, is the first person who has to believe you deserve it, is you. 

Then you gotta prove it