It can be hard sometimes, to find that spark that sets fire to your passion. Once you have it, you need all the kindling you can get to keep it going. If, like me, you have experienced prolonged periods of time where all the wood is damp and dirty, it can feel daunting and hopeless; to think you may never write again.
I’m going to tell you something now – you will!
More, you have that kindling within you, you only have to seek it out.
I think each of us in our own way fantasises about what the writerly life would be like. How would it be, for instance, to just sit without a care in the world and to spew out that 300,000 word novel you’ve had mulling around in your daydreams, to have instant success within your genre and be able to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour of love.
Sounds ideal, no?
Of course it’s ideal – we’re writers, and most of us are idealists. We are the dreamers, the fantasists. Through our work, we can express what others cannot. We see the world differently, often because our perception of it is different, based on our own experiences.
And therein lies the key – experience.
As my blog tag-line notes: Experience is food for the creative mind. To keep with the earlier metaphor, it’s the kindling.
Here’s a tip, from one writer to another: look everywhere for inspiration. It can be found on your morning walk to classes, as you stand in the Starbucks queue, as you listen to each other sharing stories. Pick up a book from when you were a kid, remember what it was it made you feel, made you think… Has your perspective changed? You’re not the same person as you were then.
Listen to your tutors, and take on board what they have to say – they are the ones who know, they’ve got the experience.
Above all, you have to WANT to succeed. If you don’t, then what are you doing if not wasting your life away?
You have to be fearless and persistent in your pursuit of writing. Take the time to figure out what is holding you back, take the time to figure out what you want to write, but write daily. Even if it’s only a throw-away comment that made you think deeply about something – put those thoughts down on paper. If doesn’t matter if it’s a load of hogwash, no one else is going to see or judge it unless you let them, so what are you afraid of? Keep it all, locked away in your writers’ journal – not locked away inside your mind where it can become lost among the hubbub. Found a quote that resonates with you?
WRITE IT DOWN!
Found an author you connect with; whose work you enjoy? Find their creative influences and read those too! Build a database of authors and books, brainstorm themes that resonate with you, go for that drink with your fellow writers… Do the mundane things, like budgeting – it helps to train your mind, keep you focused. Go on long walks for the hell of it.
Above all, you must be selfish. It can be hard sometimes, to find that balance. Of juggling work and social and familial obligations… You have to tell yourself it is your real job. This here, now, the blank page before you. Your job is to turn this page into something magical, for yourself and for others.
This is what you were meant to do with your life, so do it well and shine.