What keeps us going? What keeps us writing, painting, filming, knitting… What is it that makes us want to continue creating?
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot recently. I turned twenty two last month and since then I’ve been trying to figure out what I’ve achieved. What had I done to be proud of?
I came up with a short list:
- I got 9 GCSEs and three A-Levels
- I got a 2.1 BA in English and Creative Writing
- I’m engaged to a wonderful human and we’re planning the wedding for 2020.
It might not be a long list but each item on it took me a long time to do. My GCSE and A-Level results were more luck than anything – even then they are terrible! – but my degree was hard and I that was at a time when I was struggling with depression and addiction so I can be proud of myself for that particular achievement.
I won’t go into any details about my relationship, but suffice to say, I am incredibly lucky.
So, I’m 22. I’m doing a distance learning MA in Creative Writing and I’m hoping to do a PhD afterwards. I’m also planning a wedding.
Is that all?
Yes, those things are exciting and wonderful and new and extend further into my future than I could have possibly imagined several years ago. But there must be something else I want to do. Something else I want to achieve, be good at, learn.
My first thought was that there was nothing else. But then I realised that I wanted to write a book. I realised I wanted to write more posts on this site. I wanted to try new restaurants and visit new places.
But how am I supposed to do these things? Well, I watched a few interviews of people I admire, and I watched YouTube videos by people like Leena Norms. How did these people do the things they loved? How did they stay motivated? I tried to use the snippets of their lives that I saw as an inspiration to succeed at my own goals.
After six weeks I gave up. I looked at what I had achieved so far. I’d written 2000 words towards an idea for a book and I started writing reviews for all the TV shows I watched. Nothing of significance and certainly something I’m particularly proud of.
The TV reviews were alright for a bit, and by that I managed to keep up with writing them on time (most of the time), but the content bored me and I recently decided to stop doing them as much (I wrote a post about that here).
I’ve also deleted those 2000 words. They were terrible and the story felt shallow, meaningless.
Recently, however, I’ve had an epiphany. There is a way of doing and creating the things I want without resorting to a meaningless, one-sided relationship of inspiration with other content creators.
I am my own inspiration.
Now, let me explain that before you think I’m crazy or self absorbed or anything like that!
The art of becoming the person you want to be is not in looking to others but to yourself. So, if I want to write a book, I have to stop reading about how other people write their stories and focus on my own. I have to sit down, open a blank document, and write the story that seeps through my skin. That’s what I need to do.
So I did it. I’ve written 31,000 words of a novel and I can’t wait to write more. The story is exactly what I want it to be (the writing itself is abominable though, of course!). What I want to get across is that now I have stopped looking so much to others for inspiration, I find myself more inspired than ever.
Now we come to the blog post you are reading now. I had to think a lot about what I wanted to do with this site. For many years it was just a place where I went to talk about books and bookish topics. I tried to write a few posts about politics that interested me or other, more society-themed essays, in the past, but I was never really happy with them. My site was for books and that was it.
I have realised now that this site is an extension of me. It’s the parts of me that I am willing to share with anyone who reads it. Yes, I will still talk about books or films or even tv shows that I find exciting and interesting, but I won’t subject myself to a formula because that’s what I feel is “expected” of me. I will write what I wish, what I feel like I need to in order to be content. I want to look back on these posts in the future and know that I was happy, that I was doing something I loved.
So, that is my message to you; be your own inspiration. Whatever you are doing or want to do does not have to be constricted by the guidelines set out by others. Just because other beauty bloggers and vloggers do hauls does not mean that you have to. If you want to talk about your favourite curtains instead of your favourite foundation, go for it!
Create what makes you happy, not what you think is “proper” for your brand. There is too much emphasis success being defined by financial or follower wealth. If no one reads this blog, it won’t affect me. I will still be happy having written what I feel is true to me.
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