An Important Lesson For Writers And Artists

Writing is a massive part of who I am. I would honestly say it defines me. In truth I have no greater passion than writing and of course gaming as well. These two joys have stuck with me for most of my life and I would certainly hope that they continue to do so long into my future.

However long or short that is.

As you may know I am aiming for publication of my first novel, and a nervousness has entered my system. It was expected I suppose. I’m nervous about the quality, I know it won’t be a great piece of literature that changes the world as I’m barely an infant in my career and I am wondering how it will be received since no one but my significant other has actually read the book.

Natural worries I’m sure. But I was discussing my thoughts with my awesome EGMR friends in our Whatsapp group last night, and we touched on practice versus academia and various other important topics. We were talking about how you should never try and learn anything you’re passionate about from a book before you actually practice it yourself. If you don’t love doing it and don’t have a passion for it, then learning it from scripture is not going to give you that fulfillment. Either you can do something naturally, or you can’t. And if you can’t, learn to. Practice, practice and more practice. After all, things seem impossible until you do them.

When I expressed my worry about my first book to the group, my “boss” (read: drunken sage leader) Dean said something quite profound. I’m certain that he wasn’t trying to be at the time as he was most likely in another one of his hazes, but I found the words really inspiring nonetheless. Just don’t tell him that – he has an ego, and fuelling it makes him become slack.

I digress.

What he said to me was: “You have to write the excitement and stupid shit out to get to like the deeper stuff.”

Of course we were speaking casually, but what he said resonated with me deeply. If I think back to when I started writing for EGMR nearly five years ago (then known as eGamer), I was pretty much nothing as a writer. Sure I’d been writing since I was eleven, but I had not written anything real or out there for the world to see. But if I think back to how I’ve improved over that time and how I’ve changed and if I go back four or three or even two years ago, I can see how I’ve written the immaturity and child-like excitement out of me with regards to my journalism.

I’ve written the things I just had to say because they sounded “cool”, and gotten past the ideas that were spawned from excitement for the idea itself rather than a focus on the execution of them. I wrote away the inexperience and under-developed sides of my youth.

And I brought that back to the novel I’m currently working on. During the final stages of editing right now I can see some things I wrote that mimic those old days. And I’ve come to realise that it’s not a bad thing, thanks to Dean. Sure I remove where I can, but sometimes just being aware of what your problem is doesn’t cure it. It needs time and effort. This quote has made me realise that instead of taking it so seriously and worrying, I should simply pledge to keep improving and keep writing. And if I give it the right amount of heart and dedication I will get there.

That is something I think all writers should keep in mind. I once watched an inspirational speech by Neil Gaiman, in which he addressed the University of Arts Class of 2012. Seriously you should watch it – you’ll be blown away especially if you’re one for creativity and the arts. I would almost call it essential to listen to words as inspiring and sincere as Gaiman’s.

But anyway something he and many successful authors have said countless times has stuck in my mind. It’s that we as writers and artists often take our work way too seriously. Now, that’s not saying that you must treat it as a joke or take it lightly. Of course not. You must have pride in your work and make the most amount of effort humanly possible.

But their point is: never forget to enjoy it.

It’s your passion. You should be enjoying every minute of putting pen to paper or brush to canvas or hand to instrument. Cue sexual innuendos for that last one. But I feel that this idea is one of the most important when pursuing your passions.

Then again I’m just a beginner. But I like to believe that in ten years time I’ll have remembered to follow this advice. And I’d like to believe that in the near future I will continue to mature as a writer and cease to worry about the journey, but simply always love the ride.

2 thoughts on “An Important Lesson For Writers And Artists

  1. Thanks for your blog and thoughts and for putting me on to that Neil Gaiman speech. It was just wonderful and just what I needed today. Sometimes you write and you don’t think about why and other times you wonder if you are wasting your time. It will never be a waste of time if it teaches you something about yourself and you enjoy it, whatever happens after that. Good look with your novel, I hope it is successful for you in many ways.


    1. It’s my pleasure :) That speech really moved me – it’s perhaps the best I’ve heard as it resonates with my dreams and passions.

      I agree completely. I think an important part of it is to do it for the right reasons :) And if those reasons benefit and grow you as a person, and give you joy, then it can never be a waste of time. Even if I don’t make it anywhere, I would much rather want to sit back one day and say that I tried, than know I gave up just because I had doubts.

      Thank you for your wishes! It means a lot. Even if it’s not a commercial success, I will still be happy because I will have the book and my future ahead to write more.


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