Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a growing hostility towards creative people that have a vision. This vision can be one to “better” a work environment. It can be a story that you know will change the world. You can have a vision of a wonderful apartment of your own, or a grand vacation to remember.
But what happens to those of us that share our visions with others? “Yeah right, what – do you think you’re gunna be the next Steve Jobs?” -My question is: why not?
I don’t understand why there is a negative stigma against people who want to go great things? Are these people jealous? Are they so steeped in their own cynical worldview that they cannot see their own potential dangling right in front of their noses?
The same goes for writers.
I have spoken with many writers over the past month or so, and whenever I give a positive suggestion as to how they can change their work habits, I’m always met with “That’s unrealistic” or “That’s not possible” … Guess what kids – you have to make it possible. You have all the tools you need to change your lives.
I know it’s not easy. I’ve been sucked into this mindset quite a few times. Some people do their best to undermine your best of moods. They suck you dry of whatever vision you may have. “I want to write a story about hero that can change the world” … “pfffft! That’s already been done dude!” – but you can’t take people like that seriously. You know why? Because they have no creativity. They have no VISION.
Having a vision is a fantastic way to change the world around you. Don’t be one of those writers that can’t see past their own cynicism. You need to trust in your vision, and see to it that you do your best to chase your dream. Don’t say “I don’t have the time” … don’t say “I can’t do this, or that”.
Find the time.
Make the time.
Make your vision a reality.
I leave you now, with one of the greatest visionaries there is:
Willy Wonka Roald Dahl. If this song doesn’t leave you scratching your heads and questioning why you aren’t doing more to make your vision become a reality, then I don’t know what will.
Willy Wonka – Pure Imagination
Writers could learn a thing or two from the prisoners in the 1963 film The Great Escape directed by John Sturges. All of us need to learn to be great escape artists.
One of the most difficult tasks that I’ve faced as a writer, is finding a balance between time for others, and time for my writing. Friends and family start to look at you funny when you tell them how you can’t hang out or go anywhere, “I have to do some writing.”
“You already wrote once this week” one family member may whine, as if writing once a week was all we needed.
You aren’t being selfish when you take time for yourself, just as you aren’t being selfish to your inner writer when you decide to take time to be with other people. The importance is a balance.
Roald Dahl, author of many famous children’s books such as Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and James and the Giant Peach would retreat to a writing hut in his backyard for many hours of the day. The windows were blacked out, and he demanded not to be disturbed while in his ‘sanctuary’. However, once he had finished writing for the day, he would emerge from his retreat, and spend time with his family.
Other people give us energy. They are refreshing, and can help us emerge from terrible writer’s blocks. The point is to not let people take all of your time. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way (A book I cannot recommend enough for creative recovery) suggests to take one day a week, in which you practice an ‘artist’s date’. One day that’s all yours to explore an old shop, to go see a movie, or to take a walk through a park. The point is that this day is set aside for you, and you alone.
One of my favourite authors Stephen King, marches himself up to his office everyday. Once he shuts the door, King claims,
“The closed door is your way of telling the world and yourself that you mean business; you have made a serious commitment to write and intend to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.”
Stephen King, On Writing
Then however, King suggests that once you’re done your first draft, it’s important to open the door, letting the energy of others flow into your work. The point is finding a balance.
I know that sometimes, it feels like you have to crawl on your hands and knees for miles just to get some time to yourself, especially if you are a mother, or work a full time job to support a family,
but just think of how great it’ll feel once you taste the sweet victory of freedom.
So don’t be afraid to tell people you’re off limits for a few hours. There is always a power button for your cellphone. There is always a switch or a way to unplug your internet. Sometimes we have to be great escape artists, and high-tail it away from others keeping us from our blank page.