2014: Sailing Away From The Safe Harbour

It’s a New Year and with it comes a fresh opportunity to shape our world. 

So this is my wish, a wish for me as much as it is a wish for you: in the world to come, let us be brave – let us walk into the dark without fear, and step into the unknown with smiles on our faces, even if we’re faking them. 

And whatever happens to us, whatever we make, whatever we learn, let us take joy in it. We can find joy in the world if it’s joy we’re looking for, we can take joy in the act of creation. 

So that is my wish for you, and for me. Bravery and joy.

– Neil Gaiman, 31 December 2012

I took Neil Gaiman at his word in 2013 and did a number of things that scared me. It’s not that I joined the Peace Corp and went to a war zone but I pushed myself to do things that were well outside my comfort zone.

I left a highly comfortable and easy job to venture into a career where I really had no idea what I was doing. I started a blog, recorded some of my own songs and put them on SoundCloud, sang a solo for the first time at my community singing group, submitted a book to a publisher and attended a number of workshops that pushed me into unfamiliar territory.

All of these things frightened me but also, once achieved, brought great joy.

I usually prefer not to make New Year resolutions. I don’t need a year of guilt that I’m not doing what I promised myself I would. I tend to be the Make It Up As You Go Along type.

But for 2014, I resolve one thing: To continue to do the things that scare me most and to always find the joy.

There’s a quote, often attributed to Mark Twain (falsely as it turns out), about sailing out of the safe harbour and pursuing your dreams.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

This is my resolution for the new year and my wish for you.

Chase your dreams and find your joy.

May the coming year bring you new adventures and
may your trade winds always be favourable.

HNY

 

 

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Secrets of Success

advice

I’ve been conducting exhaustive research into the advice from established authors to aspiring writers. After compiling results in a spreadsheet and undertaking extensive statistical analysis, I can confirm that 92.47% of successful authors advise the following:

1. Write

2. Read

Yes, that’s it. That’s the big secret to success. You need to continue to pursue two of the three Rs you began at school. (As a qualified mathematician, I also continue to pursue the third R which may grant me bonus points but is probably irrelevant.)

Only 1.38% of respondents advised taking a writing course.

Analysis of a subset of values for Advice Point 1 revealed the following crucial advice:

Find your own voice and write from your passions.

In other words, don’t try to be what you are not. Don’t attempt to second guess what publishers and/or the public may or may not want to read. If you write it your way about things you love, the rest will take care of itself.

What a magnificently freeing thought.

“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.”

– Neil Gaiman

*NB: All statistics quoted in this post are completely fabricated. As all good statistics are.

 

 

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