Friday, 27 June 2014

Why it is important to be inspired by others.

I am halfway through with my novel. I'm pretty pleased with myself and I never thought I could get so far. I know I'm not quite there yet, but the end is in sight and the further I get into my story, the more excited I am to keep on writing. I have found the right story but I have also found the right people to inspire me.

Because let's face it. Everybody is inspired by somebody. No matter how unique we feel we are, we always need somebody to encourage us. Whose work inspires us to create our own fantastic pieces. Of course, it is great when your family and friends tell you that you are super awesome and that they have never read/heard/seen something as brilliant as you've just created, but they are the people closest to you. It's kind of their duty to not slag you off. I really appreciate all the great comments and feedback from my friends and family, but I have found out that feedback from people whose work I truly admire are of immense value to me in my quest to be able to say: "Yes, I wrote a novel. Guess I'm a true writer now. Go me!"

There have been two people who have truly inspired me to keep on writing. When I was about 12, I stopped writing altogether because I felt like it didn't suit me any purpose anymore. I wasn't going through a good time and I couldn't cope with writing anymore because it made me relive emotions I tried to keep away from me. It was a foolish thing to do as I threw away that one thing that made me cope. But we always find out stuff like that until we are older, don't we?
I discovered Mika's music when I was 15-years old and inspired by his ability to create a whole world around his songs, I slowly picked up writing again. It felt good. I wrote lyrics and poetry which were really awful, but they helped me process my thoughts. The more I wrote, the more comfortable I became with words. In 2011, 5 years after I had picked up writing again, I wrote a short story collection based on Mika's songs. Looking back at it, those stories were really quite bad. But I was proud of myself for managing to pull through and create something. I did give it to him and he seemed to like it. Probably because of the pretty illustrations.
I decided to keep on writing and wrote a longer story. It wasn't really all that bad, but I had barely done any editing and it was filled with flaws. I had it printed, but on the day I was planning on giving it to him, I got cold feet. What if he would laugh at me? My friend Laura convinced me to give it to him anyway and I did and I am glad I did. It was just the two of us and him (and the band) so there was no rush. I told him I had something for him and gave him the book. I said it was still a draft and it wasn't really that good, but he said that he loved it and showed it to one of the bandmembers (who couldn't give any fucks). That was enough for me, so I kept going.
Last year, I wrote a collection of poems and lyrics, and got some copies printed. I called it Chasing the Sun because I have an obsession with the sun and moon (which will be evident in the novel I'm writing) and I feel like chasing the sun is a good metafor. The sun is the biggest star after all, and just chasing the stars is for pussies. I'm actually still really proud of that book (first time) and love the illustrations (thanks to Ana).
I gave it to him last year after I first had to snap my fingers in his face.

He looked at it and genuinely liked it. He said he'd look at it in the car and held on to the book until he actually got in the car, while he gave all other gifts to his assistant. I had already gone by the time he got in the car, but when I saw a picture of him holding on to the book, it made me very happy.

I don't know if he has actually read the books (it's ok if he skipped the first two), but just his response every time I give him something I've created is enough for me to keep on going. I hope that I will be able to give my novel to him by the time it is finished. But we'll see that in the upcoming months. I first have to finish that thing.

The second person who inspired my writing was Neil Gaiman. I first read Neverwhere after picking it up while on a trip to the UK and I immediately fell in love with his writing. He is a master storyteller and that is something I want to become as well. You can write the most beautiful sentences, but if you can't tell a story, you're fucked.
Anyway, when I found out he was in my country I dragged my friend over to Rotterdam and we listened to him talk for 45 minutes and then entered the back of the queue to get my books signed. I wanted to say thank you for his stories, as by that time I had read almost all of his novels and especially his last one (Ocean at the end of the lane) had touched me deeply. So I did say thank you. And we talked a bit and he suddenly asked me if I was a writer. I said I tried to be, as I wasn't really sure at that point if I could make it. He said "Good, keep writing."

 I had no excuse now. Neil Gaiman told me I had to keep writing so I did. I had started many stories and had failed at finishing all of them. I almost gave up but then I realised I had to keep on writing if I ever wanted to get better. So I started writing short stories again and poems. I wrote so many things until at last the puzzle pieces of stories in my head came together and actually formed a concrete story. The one I'm working on right now.
I tweeted that a year ago Neil told me to keep writing and that I did and that I got so far already. And without expecting it, a new interaction popped up on my timeline:

I am so sure now that I will finish this and that when the story is done I will be proud of what I have accomplished and proud of the characters I have created. There are many more writers who have inspired me (such as Angela Carter and Kurt Vonnegut) who have unfortunately passed away. I am just happy that the people who have inspired me gave me hope and confidence that this is something that I can do. That I can accomplish something. It may not mean a lot to them, but it sure means the world to me. I am still trying to find my voice and I'm certainly not at the top of my game yet, but I will continue to get better and no matter what happens with the story once I finish it, it is certain that I will finish it.

So, if you have a dream, if you want to create something but are afraid to do so. Don't be. Don't listen to those who say you can't sing or dance or write. Don't listen to those who say that you will never be a professional drawer. Believe in yourself and strive to get better. You will be amazed at the results.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.