Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Loneliest Road

There are some periods in our life when we find ourselves alone. We may still be surrounded by family and friends but these people not understand the journey you're taking. The path you're walking may be one relating to your career, relationships, or another aspect of your life. You may not want others to know what you're working through or they may not want to know. It's a hard choice between living a life that seems normal and following what's going on in your heart.

Taking a life journey by yourself can be one of the most daunting things. You're alone with no one to talk it and the only company is yourself. It's not a straight road, either, and one that is often fraught with sharp turns and shadowy embankments. You don't know what you're going to find around the next corner and your drive to find out won't allow you to stop.

But it's the loneliness that can become crippling. Everyone needs someone to talk to, to explain what they're doing and to find reassurance for their actions. The longest, loneliest road often doesn't have these people and the person taking this journey can find themselves isolated and depressed. They want to talk. They want to share what they've seen and what they've found. Yet, all too often, the understanding souls they can talk to just aren't there.

The creative arts are like this and I've known many people who've stood on this road and asked themselves what they're doing. They've debated turning back and giving up because they can't abide the darkness that consumes them. They hate being alone and want someone to share the joy of the journey with.

I'm going through this at the moment. While I watch my friends and family prepare for huge, life changing events I find myself sitting here with piles of paperwork as I try and get my latest project off the ground. There's no promise that it will work but I can't sit back and think “what if?”. I'm driven to do it and only I can put in the work that will make it come to life. The risk and the not knowing is part of this journey that so many people take. Yet, along the way, I can't help but feel the pangs of loneliness as I watch people I know gather, laugh and celebrate.

Yet I've also seen so many people who've reached the end of the road and found amazing things at the end. Much like the proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow, they've hit the jackpot in more ways than they can imagine.

The journey may be long and it may be hard. It may seem to be fraught with danger and darkness. But good things can only come from it. Never give up and know that you're never alone.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Let Your Weird Little Light Shine

Authors talk about a lot of things and one issue that I hear a lot is “I don't think this story is commercial enough”.

You know what? Who cares? If you're enjoying working on whatever you're writing, that's all that matters, right? If you believe in the story you're telling and the worlds you're creating try and put the “Will it sell?” aspect to one side. Enjoy the process and whatever is coming out of your mind.

If you put your frequency out there, people will respond. They'll find you and seek you out. They'll be attracted to the weird little light that's shining from your soul. The world needs a lot more of that right now. It needs people who believe in and enjoy what they're doing. It needs for like minded people to connect together through the arts.

This applies to everyone who makes something. If you want to make Bhangra infused trip-hop, do it. If you want to make a film about the life of a blade of grass, do it. If you want to make jewellery from straw, do it. Don't think about what will be if you don't go down that commercial route. Follow your heart and put out whatever you want to put out.

It took me a long time to realise that. There were many years where I thought that I had to follow the trends and write to those patterns in order to try and make a name for myself. Slowly it dawned on me that the stories I was writing weren't resonating well with me. Whenever I sat down to write, my brain felt foggy and my body felt tired. I slept a lot and did everything other than write.

Yet that all changed when I changed my tactic and began writing the stories that had lived in my mind for so many years. I found people who enjoyed them. I found others who offered to proofread or get the idea out into the world. I found a little community of others whose inner light is just as strange as mine. They may come and go from my life, but I love each and every one of them. I adore hearing from them and sharing ideas. They may disappear for a year or two but, whenever they return, they're welcomed with open arms. These people are my tribe and I feel so much better for having them around.

So write that strange story. Put those weird worlds on to paper. Send it out in to the world and see what happens. Create whatever makes you happy and try not to think of what other people will think. Because there'll be far more time to write that commercial bestseller when you more content.