When You’re Climbing Mountains

We all dream of having wings and perhaps the ability to fly,
but when a man’s wings take him to the top of the world
he has no further to go and begins to look down.
He looks down on less trivial things and they begin to appeal
more so than his abilities to build new worlds
as he feels he loses interest in conquering new challenges.

Perhaps this can relate to more than just myself. I frustrate myself as a writer, I’ll be honest with you. Without sounding full of myself I know I have undoubted talent and an ability to find inspiration in hard to reach places and make something special out of ordinary fragments of kindling. What frustrates me is maybe a ridiculous idea of desire to achieve. My competitiveness and desire, whilst good for a writer to have, often leave me losing faith with myself temporarily and wanting constant success. Success is something I’ve attained, and whilst I tell myself it has dwindled deliberately as I take my time with projects and leave myself without stress, it can’t be denied I have achieved little in the last year.

So, as a man stands at the top of his conquered mountain he has options: Climb back down and start to climb another or sit on his pedestal and milk it for all it’s worth. I regularly find myself somewhere in between these two options and that in its essence is what is frustrating. I’m hoping readers can relate to this as I have reached this conclusion myself after a year or so going between the two ‘options’. Ideas come to me regularly and often I have faith in them, but shelf them. Sometimes this is to return to the ‘massive project’ when I have the discipline, time and fully-formulated plans and admitting this makes me embarrassed as I know I have all of these (perhaps the latter less so, but this develops as you work, right?). Perhaps the truth is that I simply don’t push myself to give these ideas a good go. Lets face it- if I have an idea that could change the face of literature for ever I wouldn’t just let it sit in the back of my mind for a couple of years would I?

It’s now almost 5 years since I got an idea for a novel, one I went with strongly and created fragments of for a successful University portfolio only to ‘shelf’ as I developed my talents for poetry and short fiction. Once Tears From Abaddon was released I had my study walls covered in post-its as fragments, ideas and notes for the novel- keenly anticipating its completion and the next success in my life. A few months down the line and I hadn’t bothered making a go of it but not to worry my idea developed into something spectacular and I spent days planning something I knew could be special. That was last New Year. Don’t get me wrong, over the last year I’ve continued to develop the idea further (I now feel it really really really has legs!!) and discuss it with intention to carry it out, but the point remains I haven’t. And that won’t do.

Blueprints is coming along nicely because I did the right thing in allowing myself pressure-less time to carry out the project but failed to realise I need to be putting stuff (mainly myself) out there all of the time. I plan to change that in 2015 and not be content letting my reputation go before me. It’s time for the prince to become king or stop bothering.

If you’ve made it this far congratulations!! Sorry to have taken so much of your time but I hope you can take away a message. We as writers, or in fact we as human beings in any career, must keep finding challenges to conquer. It’s about what you did lately whilst you’re alive and I want everyone to keep pushing themselves to be the best, otherwise someone will take your place. Get out there today and find a new chapter to write, a new beginning to commence and a new mountain to climb.


Finding Inspiration

Often as writers the hardest part of the craft is not finding the words but finding something to talk about. If we have an idea we are enthusiastic enough about, the words will simply fall onto the page.

I’m not the sort of writer, or person really, who wakes up on a morning and writes a set amount of lines like they often tell you to do in the classroom. I’m a man who needs to let inspiration hit me, and when it does, I find the ability to write freely. There’s no need to pick up a pen and paper and free write for a while, it just flows. When it does, I need to get it written down.

I agree with the tip of keeping a little notebook with you at all times. It’s amazing how often I’m just staring out the train window and suddenly an idea or a line or two hit me. If you don’t carry a notebook do what I do- open the memo pad accessory on your phone and jot some notes, you’ll find as soon as you start going over these notes, more and more will come to you. When you get home get it written down as quickly as you can.

You see, that’s how inspiration finds us. Often when we least expect it, out of nowhere. But if you’re anxious to write, to find an idea, then maybe you do need to go looking for it.

Inspiration is all around us, the world inspires me every day. Take a deep look at it, and then look a little deeper. Depict everything that goes on around you, everything you see day to day. Ask yourself questions about it. Why is this the way it is? What is wonderful about it? Make time to simply put some headphones in, listen to music and take a walk. Get lost in your own thoughts, you’re shut off from the world and yet at the same time marvelling in it.

Take for example the stars. Few of us even notice them, and yet there are so many right above us each night. Each one, like our Sun, gives light to a whole galaxy and is part of a bigger constellation, each with a story of its own. Every river we pass is connected to every sea and ocean in the world in some way. Every person we pass on our journey through life has their own story. What is their story? What is the story of your life? Which parts are worth telling?

How do you see the world? What is in it? How COULD the world be in YOUR mind? Ask yourself the what ifs and if only-s.

Music is a good way to find inspiration. Listen to the words, how would you have written them better? Why are they good, why are they perfect to you? Read poetry, read writing. Ask yourself the same questions. What are they talking about? Could you have written it better? What if this part was different?

When I write poetry I like to experiment, to test the field and be different. I have written narrative poems, multiple-part poems, trialled different forms and structures to create a stand-out piece that people may appreciate for its originality and value. Think about what you could possibly produce that will make people take notice. I’m happy as I put together my new collection with the variety of pieces in there, from real-life to fantasy, from structured to free verse, from conventional to outrageous. What they all have in common is they all started from a tiny piece of inspiration; a line, an image, an idea. Be on the lookout for them, they may just come from nowhere.

You have to be prepared to look and be open to discover.  Just the other day my partner and I were walking to the kid’s nursery through a park. I found myself zoned out for a while, looking around and taking it in, without realising and when I came back to reality she was looking at me and smiling. ‘What?’ I asked. She replied ‘I’m just admiring you admiring the world’. The world in itself is the biggest inspiration you will get, before long you won’t even notice it working its magic.

And take notice of those thoughts and fantasies playing out in your head, the ones keeping you awake a little longer than planned at night, they might just be golden too.