Those in glass houses…

…Should not throw stones. That’s what they told you. So you use your fists instead. You’re so angry, so confused and afraid. The only thing that helps you through is the idea of tearing down everything that you have built. The beautiful glass house on the edge of a scenic cliff becomes a twisted prison where you catch the reflection of the person you’ve grown to hate in every surface. So the smashing begins. It hurts at first. Your fist shatters the glass and your knuckles split and spill blood. Your nerve endings sting and your mind screams at you to stop. But you can’t. Not now. Not when there is still so much damage to be done.

You strike another surface, the cuts grow deeper, but soon the shock takes over and you’ve torn away the flesh leaving nothing but exposed bone, making those thick panes easier to crack. You tear down the walls and rip down the roof, until all that remains is the skeletal frame of a once stunning home. You’re bloody and tired, but still you’re not done. Just because there is nothing left standing it does not mean there is nothing left to destroy.

You drop to your knees and you rip the floorboards free. The torn flesh of your fingers catches on the splinters and nails. It hurts; oh god does it hurt. But you want to see your glass sink into the dirt and these goddamn floorboards are preventing the indignity. You toil until the boards are gone, but you can still see the reflection of the man you hate in the shards now lying in the soil, smiling manically at you as though he is somehow in control. So you punch. You punch and you punch, caving in the reflective skull of that piece of shit until his face is lost in the splinters of glass and your blood soaks into the dirt. He’s gone. That man you hated is finally gone.

So you rise and you walk to the edge of the cliff thinking that your troubles are over; and not a single stone was thrown. But your stomach drops when you see that the once calm blue waters of the ocean before you are now ink black and brooding. The storms are coming and you’ve just torn down the only shelter you’ve ever known. You realise then in that bitter sweet moment of triumph that all you have succeeded in doing by tearing down everything you’ve ever owned, is exposing yourself to the unrelenting touch of a winter’s chill.

You turn to your broken house of glass just as the first whip-crack of thunder echoes overhead, and you stare down at your damaged hands, unaware of what possessed you to cause this destruction in the first place. You move into the home and you sit amongst the piles of broken floorboards and the slivers of glass, your face streaked with the tears of a god and a fraud as the heavens release their wrath. You’re soaked in an instant, watching as your dried blood moistens and dances across the surfaces of a life left in ruins. Your bones ache as the winds cut through the skeleton of your safety and solace.

With nothing left to give you sit and you wait out the bitter cold and the brutal winds that cut through you with an intensity that leaves you breathless. You accept that there is no more hope, no more opportunity for the man who destroyed his own glass house.

But after an eternity those vicious rains subside and a single sliver of light slips through the clouds. It’s minuscule, not enough to warm you, and in your fractured mind you see it as nothing more than a taunt to a man as broken as his home, left sitting in the dirt

Then it happens.

The clouds shift again and the pinprick of light falls into a pile of broken glass, causing as flash-flood of colour to pierce your vision. A kaleidoscope of earthy browns from the soil, deep reds from your blood and gentle blues from the rains dance across your eyes and for the briefest of instants you can see the glasshouse standing in all its glory once more.

You know now what you must do; you must rebuild your home, your solace, and learn to protect yourself once more from the bitter cold of the rains. You light a fire and you gather your broken glass, heating it until it can be made whole again. You erect your walls and you replace your damaged floors, admiring the now stained surfaces of a once perfectly polished world. Your glass has been dulled, and your floorboards warped, but you would have it no other way, because this is the house that you built yourself. This is the house of a man who survived the rains.

You bandage your hands and you let your wounds heal, and soon enough the sun returns and you venture to the cliff to watch the calm blue ocean stretch endlessly before you. You spin towards the house that determination built, catching sight of the man that you hated staring back at you. He’s older now, more dishevelled; but you realise that maybe he’s not so bad after all. You take a breath and you vow to never again destroy the beautiful home at the edge of the cliff that you created. To do so would be crazy; you can’t survive those long lonely nights where the chill presses against your chest until you find yourself wishing you were dead. No, from now on if you need to feel the rains you won’t tear down the house, you’ll just take a stone and break a single window instead.

I few years ago I went through a bout of depression. I was unbelievably low and I hated myself and everything that I had become. I tore down the walls of my own psyche and I left myself exposed. But through my writing I found myself again. Writing was the pinprick of light that burst through the clouds and allowed me to see the world anew. It became my reason for rebuilding my glass house. My hands are damaged, and my once crystal clear walls are now stained with the blood and grit of my own toiling. But I would have it no other way. I wouldn’t be the writer I am now if I hadn’t sat through the rains of self-doubt and self-loathing.

For me there was no shame in being broken. There was only pride when I learned to pick myself back up. At some point in our lives we all falter. But if we embrace the better angels of our nature we can rebuild ourselves to be something far stronger than we ever believed possible.

The purge of the aggressive creative

I’ve always struggled to define myself as a writer. I’m creative, but logical. I’m a dreamer, but my feet are still planted firmly on the ground. I’m not your typical artsy writer who spends his days in a laze contemplating the wonders of the universe and coming up with whimsical tales that highlight a deep seeded emotional turmoil or tranquility that bubbles away beneath the surface of my façade. Nor am I your boy genius. I don’t have a freakish I.Q, and my writing isn’t going to reshape the way man views the world (at least not yet). So, if I’m not the artsy writer or boy genius type, what am I?

Well, recently a co-worker of mine described me as aggressive creative, and the term somehow seemed to fit. I’m a creative perfectionist who labours over every inch of my works until I break down in tears or set the manuscript alight (and yes, both have happened multiple times). I’m confident in my works, to the point where I can become narcissistic, purely because I push myself to breaking point every single time I create. My process is self-destructive and mentally taxing, to the point where I sometimes consider myself to be an emotional masochist, deriving gratification and inspiration from my own damaged psyche.

Which would explain why I often feel the need to purge much from my life. See, I’ve been doing a bit of research just recently into my own fickle idiosyncrasies in the hopes of better understanding why I do what I do, and I’ve come to realise that on some subconscious level I don’t really like myself. Maybe I resent the fact that I chose a career with no clearly defined path; or that I spent my youth striving so hard to be fundamentally different to my peers that I now feel a complete disconnection from them. Whatever it is, I go through these moments in my life where I just want to eradicate the writer from my soul and the dreamer from my heart and move forward as just another ordinary person frittering through life blissfully unaware of his many short comings.

During these times I want to completely start again. It takes every ounce of strength not to throw away my job, my writing, and my relationships and simply wander into the sunset in a quest to be reborn as something other than a tormented writer, emotional loner, and arsehole. I move throughout the world wearing a mask of composure, when inside my mind is tearing itself in two as every single component of my life is called into question and judged against my current spate of self-loathing. The aggressive creative in me sees the failures, missed opportunities and shortcomings that have befallen me and seeks to purge the weakness from my mind and flesh.

The funniest thing about these purges that occur is that people often fail to notice the cracks in the masks that I wear, and I force myself to suffer alone. I suffer alone because long ago I learned something about myself that allows it: and that is that I am an excellent liar. And I lie a lot. There are just a handful of people in this world that actually know me. And by that I mean really know me. They understand my thoughts and feelings and recognise the signs that I’m sinking into a downward spiral while everyone else sees what I lead them to believe. Call it a slate of hand, call it a fear of intimacy, call it whatever you want. I keep people at arm’s length because I don’t want to them to see the instabilities and shortcomings of a man who wishes to be so much more than he actually is.

It’s a rather interesting predicament that I find myself in. I can convince everyone around me that I am ordinary, that I am normal, when the reality is that I’m anything but. The mundane scares me, and the fear of spending my whole life in a state of perpetual torment like this causes my pulse to spike. I want to be different, and I want to be able to accept that. But the crippling loneliness that accompanies the differentiation of myself to my brethren leaves me desperate to be regular. So I try to force myself to conform to what I believe to be normal, simply because it would be easier if I could be like everyone else.

But if that’s the case then why am I writing this? Why am I pouring my heart out to readers across the globe that I have never even met? Well, because I have to. I have to change the person that I am; the aggressive creative who piles so much pressure onto himself knowing that he will eventually crumble. I have to purge him from my soul and allow myself to re-enter the world I’ve spent so long trying to differentiate myself from. I have to form friendships that are more than just a façade, and I have to do it so that I can continue to grow as a writer and as a man. I once wrote that life is sempiternal; that I will forever ride a wave of emotion that rises and falls from elation to bitter depression, but I’m not prepared to accept that anymore.

I’m not prepared to accept that I will forever feel the need to undergo the eradication of the writer and dreamer simply because I wish to feel normal in those moments where I believe I’m failing. Screw that. I shouldn’t have to give up who I am just because I’m different. Instead I must seek to purge myself of the emotional masochist and neurotic mess that dwells within me. They say nothing positive was ever achieved with a negative mindset, so until I can remove those demons plucking at the chords of my heart how can I ever achieve something incredible?

It’s time to ease up on the pressure. Accept myself for what I truly am: a writer, a dreamer, a success and a failure, and embrace everything that I am still yet to be. By doing that I can be both different and normal at the same time. My acceptance of my uniqueness and my ability to accept my failings will see a normality in my life that has been absent for so long. Purge the toxicity from my soul and embrace myself. Only then can I calm my tormented mind.

Two Weeks

“Fuck what you know. Fuck what you believe. I am the architect of my destiny.”
-James “Buddy” Neilsen.

With language like that in the epigraph, I think that it’s fair to say that this post won’t ever be making an appearance on the freshly pressed page. But then, my language is abrasive at the best of times, so I guess I’ll have to live without the vindication of being a pressed writer for a little while yet. Nevertheless, let’s kick this off and get down to why I’ve chosen to feature the lyrics of a post-hardcore band in my epigraph, and what it has to do with a page dedicated to the trials and tribulations of my writing career.

Well, the simple answer as to why I chose Neilsen’s lyrics is this: I like them. And I like hardcore music, so I thought that I would feature them just as I have before with artists like Adrian Fitiplades and Max Bemis. But the more in depth answer, the one that actually makes this whole post worthwhile is that right now those three little phrases resonate with me more than anyone could ever truly understand. In fact, the lyrics of the entire album the epigraph was chosen from resonate with me to such an extent that I spent the better part of two hours today deciding between the lines I chose to use and the following:

When you look in the mirror
Are you proud of what you see?
When you look in the mirror
Are you the person you thought you’d be?

The truth is that I’m not quite the person that I thought I’d be right now. I thought that a few things in my personal life would have panned out a little differently than how they have. I’ve been a little emotionally fragile lately, and thankfully I’ve had something constructive to focus my time on…But on a writing front, I’m more than I ever thought possible. That’s right; with less than two weeks to go until I head to New York, I’m so fucking confident in myself and what I have created that I can’t wait to pitch my heart out. Right now when I look in the mirror, I’m damned proud of what I see. I’m a writer with passion and a goal. And regardless of whether I secure a contract in the USA, I know that I’m taking positive steps in the right direction for my career.

Just as Neilsen growls in the song Canine, I am the architect of my destiny. Every single time I sit down and put pen to page I am constructing the blueprints of not just a tale of fiction, but of my life and how I want it to be. When I submit those blueprints to an editor for revision they are given the opportunity to improve and come one step closer to being completed. And when I pitch my story to agents in a foreign city I’ll have the opportunity to see those blueprints come to life. All I need is for one person to say yes and the foundation of my story and my vision will come to life.

But if I’m feeling so confident, and so enthused, why did I chose lyrics that are so explicit? Well, because that’s just who I am. When I’m confident I feel indestructible. And in true Chris Nicholas fashion I have constructed a novel and a pitch that defies what is considered the norm within the publishing industry. When I start my pitch I don’t want to be perceived as just another aspiring author; I want to be seen as a force to be reckoned with. I want to be seen as a man capable of rising above the slush pile with a story to tell and the fire in his stomach to do it. So fuck what you know about publishing. And fuck what you believe is acceptable within the industry. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Two weeks. That’s how long I have to wait until I can pitch myself against the best in the industry and see how I compare. And for all of my bravado I am fully aware that I could walk away from the whole experience with nothing. But even if I do, just by making it this far I have achieved something incredible.

An unconventional mission statement

“All I want is to dethrone God so that I can be crucified.”
-Max Bemis.

With just over three weeks remaining until I head to New York and pitch my heart out to dozens of publishers and agents, I haven’t really had a great deal of time to blog. I’ve been so busy brushing up on my pitch and tweaking my manuscript that this poor page has sat dormant, its daily hit count slowly withering away until all that I have worked so hard to create seems forgotten. I’m not sorry though. The past couple of weeks have been integral to my preparation and I’ve grown so much as a writer in such a short time that it feels refreshing to be able to step back into the world of weblogs once more.

In addition to the hours spent labouring over my manuscript and pitch, I have also devoted a fair amount of time to gaining a better understanding of myself as a writer. I mean, I know that I started doing this to cope with the demons inside my head, but I started to realise that what was once my motivation to create wasn’t necessarily the reason I put pen to page anymore. That’s not to say I don’t still have a few issues; I can assure you that my head is just as fucked up now as it has ever been, I’ve just learned to accept my fractured perception of normality for what it is.

So while I was trying to rediscover who I am as a writer I stopped and started to catalogue what defines me an aspiring author, and I came up with a rather obscure little list.
• I’ve fought depression a few times. Writing helps clear my head.
• I’m arrogant and over opinionated. But I’m OK with that.
• I want to be published. Not because I want to make millions of dollars (although it would be nice). But because I want to reach inside the mind of my reader and alter their perceptions on art and the world at large.
• I tend to write about characters that I aspire to be like. But they are often incredibly flawed narcissists and megalomaniacs.

It’s a bit of a strange list. But nevertheless those four points define me as an author. I’m egotistical, yet my own toughest critic. I’m a narcissist but only because I believe that I can open the reader’s eyes to new concepts and ideas. And just like Max Bemis above, I’ve recently decided that I want to dethrone God so that I can be crucified.

Obviously I’m not talking about this in a literal sense. If anyone shows up at my house with a bucket of nails and a cross I’d be less than impressed. And I’m not even talking about God as the omnipresent being mankind believes to be above us. I’m no Aleister Crowley, and there will be no bathing in blood. But I’m talking about the gods of literature. The big name authors who have transcended the medium and become ingrained into the fabric of our society. I want to be one of them. I want to be better than them. But only because I want to know what it feels like to be crucified for my work. I want feel the elation of success, so that I can also feel the crippling sensation of failure.

It sounds counter intuitive doesn’t it? My mission statement as a writer is to become immensely successful so that I can fail. And I want to do this so that I can peel back the layers of my soul and examine where I went wrong so that I can rebuild myself as a more formidable writer once again. I actually don’t expect anyone to understand this. How could they? I, Chris Nicholas, the narcissistic writer, want to succeed so that I can fail. But that’s not to say I will ever intentionally produce a piece of work of substandard quality in order to taste failure. Rather I want produce something so fantastic that whatever comes next fails in comparison. Only then will I ever be able to truly test myself as a writer as I try to do the impossible and out do myself.

So there it is: my unconventional mission statement. I want to become so good at what I do that I spend my entire life competing with myself; constantly striving to outperform the person that I was yesterday. I want to dethrone god, and I want to be crucified so that I can rise again and continue to grow.

Hail Mary

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Relax. It’s not a religious reference, but rather homage to American Football. For those of you unaware of a Hail Mary Pass, it is an extremely long pass made in desperation that has only a fraction of a chance of success. The pass is usually thrown late in the game when a team offers its last stand in an attempt to win the match. Anyone who has ever seen the Hail Mary Pass thrown will be able to relate to the momentary trepidation that strangles the heart as you watch the spiraling ball in flight, carrying the hopes of the team and its fan base on its pigskin body, usually to no avail.

Yet when a Hail Mary finds its intended receiver the crowd erupts and the entire match spins on an axis and forces the opposition into a play to win situation they hadn’t been anticipating.

So why the football reference? I’m a writer. And let’s be honest, writers aren’t usually great sports people. Yet here I am trying to explain an infamous play in a sport that is foreign to my own country of origin. Well the reason is that right now I feel like I’m standing on my own ten yard line staring at an end zone blocked by my opponents, who will do anything to see me fail. But this isn’t an ordinary end zone. I’m not gunning for a game winning touchdown, I’m eyeing off a far larger dream. On the far side of the field located in front of the grandstands and marching band, is a publishing contract and a life changing moment of triumph.

Right now it’s time out and my opponents are milling around in a loose huddle counting down the minutes until they’ll form a line of scrimmage and attempt to rush me and strip my dreams from my fingers. I say minutes fairly loosely, because the reality of the situation is that my window of opportunity won’t actually appear until eight weeks from now when I touch down in New York City in preparation for my Hail Mary Pass.

Nevertheless I’m using the time afforded me right now to size up my opponents and assess the threats that they pose when they try to blindside me before I break into open ground and race to the end zone.

I can see that arsehole called Finance; the big line backer with the bull-neck and ham-sized fists that grunts as he stares at me. He knows that my money situation is fucked and I’m desperately trying to scrape together any kind of defence I can against the heavyset prick who will attempt to chop me down at the knees.

Beside him is Location; the bastard who has displaced my dreams many times before. He plays dirty and chooses favourites on the field. If he doesn’t like you then he’ll hit you hard at every opportunity; and so some reason the bastard seems to loathe me.

And so the list of my opponents goes on as I run my eyes over the huddle. The other writers are there, arsehole agents too. Fear is smiling and patting self-doubt on the back as they make eyes at me, formulating a plan to hit me simultaneously. But as I stare at the congregation of damned bodies watching me through their helmets and grills, there is only one man who I feel actually has the power to intercept my Hail Mary and destroy the opportunity I’ve worked so hard to create; and he looks a lot like me.

As an aspiring writer my greatest enemy is not the industry, my competitors, publishers, editors, agents, nor my displacement from the larger markets of America and Europe. My greatest enemy is myself, and it always will be. See I’m fairly confident in my abilities as a writer. I wouldn’t have won the competitions I have, or seen my work progress so far through screening processes if there wasn’t some level of skill in what I produce. But I also know that I am a bit of an extroverted introvert sometimes and I just hope and pray that when it comes time to throw that fucking pass and chase down my dreams that I have the balls to give it everything that I have.

It’s a confusing contradiction isn’t it? How can someone be an extroverted introvert? And how can they really hope to ever achieve anything if they can’t figure out something as simple as their own personality traits? Well, the thing is that I am incredibly introverted. I like my own company and tend to shy away from others. I don’t have an abundance of people who are close to me because I don’t want to. But for those that are, I aim to protect them with bloody hands if they ever need it. It’s not that I am necessarily shy though. I used to be. Now I’m the complete opposite. I’m confident as hell in myself and my abilities. But I don’t feel the need to take that confidence and turn it into arrogance by shouting it from the rooftops. I’m your quiet self-assured type that doesn’t feel the need to justify myself to anyone… And there in my own mind, lays my problem when I hit the streets of New York in eight weeks’ time.

I have to justify myself. I have to prove to publishers and agents and that I am worth their time and I have to stifle my own ego no matter how much it tells me to revert back the arrogant arsehole I can sometimes be.

So here I stand waiting for the moment when I’ll throw my Hail Mary Pass and try to score a book deal. The clock is winding down and the arseholes in their huddle before me are watching my every move. Finance is watching as I turn my small change into small fortunes. Location scrutinizes my movements as I book flights and accommodation. The other writers gawk at how I present myself and my scripts laden with ruin and woe. The agents watch as I prepare to slide into the chair opposite them and pitch my fucking heart out. And the man that looks like me stares back with an impassive curiosity, knowing that all of his teammates can be beaten and the only man who can defeat me is myself. He watches and waits, knowing that if I am to succeed I have to learn how to be humble and how to grovel. He watches with a sly smirk that says the game is mine to lose.

I may be a superstar in my own mind, but I still need to prove it to others. In eight weeks time when I throw my Hail Mary I need to do so with as much confidence and bravado as I can muster. But I must also do so with a sense of humility that can sometimes be foreign to me.

Surfacing for air

As a writer I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. If I am going to sit down and flesh out my innermost thoughts for the world to see then I am going to devote my full attention to the task. Often times this means that I completely withdraw from the world and live within the confines of my own head for weeks at a time, barely registering what is taking place around me. I become so egocentric during these times that I often neglect those closest to me and even myself as I focus solely on the men and women that exist only in my mind’s eye. It’s a pretty shallow task to undertake, yet in my youthful arrogance I habitually chose this path of total isolation in my quest to create something of worth.

Yet despite my acknowledgement of my processes I regularly find myself disorientated and confused when I am eventually roused from my state of comatose and returned to the land of the living. Relationships that once prospered are now fractured and require urgent attention, my image has dwindled away to the point where I look like a homeless person, and the house looks like a bomb hit it. I find myself left asking just when the fuck did everything veer off course and why didn’t my prose-fuelled brain notice that something was amiss? I guess the question that I really want to know is why because I choose to be a writer does isolation have to be a by-product?

Well, the truth is that it doesn’t. There’s hundreds of thousands of writers all over the globe that manage to indulge their creative tendencies and still maintain some semblance of normality. Yet here I am retreating into myself every time my creative urges flair. I guess a large part of my behaviour can be attributed back to the fact that I’m actually a pretty timid man. I’ve never been in a fight. I’ve never stood up in the face of great adversity. And If I’m being completely honest I’ve never really expressed myself in an external fashion until I decided to become a writer. Ever since I was a boy I have internalised my thoughts and feelings, pushing them to a place so deep that I must now undertake an expedition to my very soul just to fuel that flame to create.

But what does this all mean? Does it mean that if I want to write then I am destined to be a perpetual disappointment to those closest to me? Well, I sincerely hope not. But it does mean that from now on when I choose to slip into that creative mindset and delve beneath the surface of my own thoughts, I’ll have to make a conscious effort to surface for air a little more often.

Over the past few months I’ve been putting the finishing touches to my manuscript in preparation for my journey abroad. In that time I’ve distanced myself from just about everyone and forgone the pleasures of the real world to focus on the chaotic realities of the one that I have created. But now as the end is in sight and my work feels greater than ever I can take a little more time to surface and show those closest to me that I really do love them, and can’t thank them enough for constantly putting up with the frustrated, egotistical arse that I often am.

Bone collections & Sonder moments

As writers we often choose to move through the world unnoticed, toiling away at our craft in solitude until we feel that we have created something worthy of sharing with the masses. We are deeply emotional people who moving along the fringes of society, our ever watchful eyes shifting between souls as we try to understand their stories and use them to fuel our own.

We writers are amongst an incredibly small number of souls with the pleasure and pain of understanding the true nature of experiencing a sonder moment; a moment of pure clarity where we stop and realise that there are others out there whose hopes, dreams, and realities differ exponentially from our own. It’s a moment of mixed emotion, filled with pleasure and pain when our own lives are revealed to be just frivolities in space and time which can oftentimes bruise the ego of the selfish man. However there is something truly beautiful in understanding how singularities of flesh and bone that we encounter each and every day differ from ourselves.

So we watch the world and we learn. We learn how to remain on the periphery whilst unravelling exactly what makes others tick. We learn their stories and their dreams and we use them as inspiration to create our own tales of triumph and woe. We writers are the bone collectors of the world. We hunt out the darker impulses of man or the stains those impulses leave behind and we gather up the bones, take them home with us and we study them. We reconstruct and manipulate them, and we create our own stories out of the gristle and marrow.

As despicable as it sounds, we writers seek these moments of sonder not because we care about the lives of others. Instead we long for these moments of intimacy with complete strangers so that we can better understand how to make them feel when we put pen to paper. It sounds unnerving, but I want to know what makes my fellow man feel love, so that I can show him romance. I want to know how he feels hardship, so that I can show him compassion. But most of all I want to understand his fears, so that I can extort them, exposing his bones to the bitter chill of uncertainty and terror.

I don’t expect all of you to understand this. How could you? What kind of man actively chooses to stand on the periphery of society and pick at the remains of egos and shattered dreams like some kind of tormented vulture? The entire concept is reminiscent of sociopath-like behaviour, and yet there are hundreds and thousands of writers just like me all over the world that watch the lives of others through a kaleidoscope of hope, fear, love and anticipation. We don’t actively wish for someone to fail, that in itself would be sociopathic behaviour. We simply wait until the inevitability of failure arrives so that we can scoop up the bones of a dying world and turn it into something beautiful once again.

Perhaps a better title for this post would have been scrimshaw. Since we are on the subject of creating the beautiful out of the bones of the dead why not name the post after the art of doing exactly that? But somehow it just didn’t seem fitting. Why? Because sometimes as writers the bones that we collect don’t always become beautiful pieces of art in the end. Sometimes those bones are too brittle, or too hard, or sometimes the story within is just too wild or convoluted to be told. Sometimes when we collect the bones of our society we end up doing nothing more than examining their intricate curves and faults before discarding them onto a pile of stories that will remain untold. Sometimes, we collect simply to add to our ever burgeoning bone collections.

We are collectors and story tellers, and sometimes a difficult choice must be made between a story that needs to be told, and a story that doesn’t. We must connect with the remains of tales and dreams and feel that moment of sonder so that we know others will feel it to. For if we can make our readers feel something from a pile of broken bone, then we have delivered to them a story worth telling.

Inspire

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
-Steve Jobs.

Edit

Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.
¬-Simon Sinek

About twelve months ago I wrote a post in which I referred to the editing process as the bane of my existence. And at the time it was. I went through a phase where all I wanted to do was create. It didn’t matter if what I was producing wasn’t the best quality, I just wanted to pump out pages and pages of my thoughts and lay my soul bare for the world to see. I would write stories that had no purpose or point; they would simply waffle on and on until a cataclysmic event bought the story to a close. I never wanted to edit. The very idea of tracking back over my work and ratting out the imperfections filled me with a sense of foreboding so great that I would do just about anything to avoid it.

But lately I’ve been working back through one of my pieces with the help of my editor to smooth out the finer points of my plot lines and layout, and I’m actually really enjoying myself. I think that the reason behind my sudden over-zealousness for editing stems from an idea presented in the header above by Start with why author Simon Sinek. The concept of Sinek’s quote is simple. If you are passionate about something, and by passionate I mean you truly love what you are doing, then you immerse yourself completely in the task at hand and enjoy the hours of hard work required to reap a reward. If on the flip side you really don’t give a shit about what you are actually doing, then all that hard work that you are putting in manifests itself not in positivity or achievements, but in stress.

At the time of writing my previous entry where I responded so negatively towards the editing process I was viewing it with a slightly immature mindset that was forcing my works to fall well short of their true potential. I had taken the viewpoint that editing was a tedious, unrewarding task that did nothing but serve as a distraction from what I actually wanted to do: write. But now I’m starting to learn that there are so many wonderful benefits to the editing process, and that if I do want to excel at my craft, then I need to learn how to not only embrace the concept of editing; I need to learn how to fucking own it.

Right now this whole editing thing is quite cathartic. It’s allowing me to really go back and re-evaluate a piece that I spent years creating, as well as analyse myself as a writer. And while my previous edits have been ego-filled affairs in which I’ve poured over my work and told myself just how fucking great I am, this time it’s been an incredible journey of self-discovery, aided by the kind and sometimes brutally honest words of my editor. I’m sure that at some point I’ll fucking hate the editing process again; it’s just how the world works. But writing is my passion and editing is a large part of being a great writer. So far all the hard work and hours that I’m dedicating to polishing my script is already reaping great reward. I’ve just to starve off that stress until I’m satisfied that my script is all that it can be.

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