Monday, April 2

Make Up Your Literary Mind

When you aspire to be a publisher writer, plenty of people will look at you with disbelief. They may tell you that you that there is a high probability you are going to fail. If you are not an adult, then they might feel it is their right to speak to you in the most patronising manner ever. After all, you’re just a young idiot who must be writing a vampire romance novel.

I’m here to tell young writers that one day when you are an official adult and have embraced your self-esteem, you will pity those pessimistic individuals and will have the decency not to be as patronising about their career aspirations.

It’s easy to let people’s scepticism get to you. I left high school early because everything washed through me and I had no motivation to do anything. When my peers learned that I was leaving, plenty of them gave me that look that says you’re a nutter.

My situation ate away at me and I felt that I needed to do something since I was no longer at school. I was enticed by a course in make up artistry. It’s easy to get sucked in by something that interests you. Of course, you can love acting but that doesn’t mean that you are cut out to be a professional actor. I know that makes me sound like the people who patronised me over wanting to be an author…but I was not cut out to be a make up artist.

Still, I joined the course. It didn’t help that they offered me a $50 gift card to a book store if I joined then and there. I know it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but to me it was like saying, ‘Sign up for our rehabilitation center and we’ll give you a plentiful helping of your drug of choice.’

It was horrifying. Instead of having two classes, they had merged them so that the atmosphere was hectic and individual attention was practically non-existent. Also, my fellow students (almost all girls) were catty and gossiped about each other to no end…and I associated with the nicer people.

Make up artistry is like story writing, only the deadline is now and there are no rewrites. There are also several better stories being written all around you and sometimes yours will say snarky, patronising things to you that are not just a figment of your imagination.

I don’t want to say that all make up artists are horrible and rude. They aren’t. In fact, we were all told not to be gossipy and such. I just happened to attend a huge make up artistry course with those who did.

The reason I hated the course wasn’t the people. It was the way I felt stressed all the time, while doing something which I admired but didn’t love. I liked make up artistry but I did not like being a make up artist. While working on the World of Wearable Arts I did two regrettable things with the use of mascara. One – I put mascara on the auburn eyelashes of gorgeous young girl, which I’m positive is a criminal offense. Two – I was working the mascara station with my epically shaking hands and brought a little girl to tears when I got some in her eye. Shamefully, I feel worse about the former.

I’m not going to even get into how I felt when I had to work back stage on that show with the models needing touch-ups now, now, now. Who knew that so many little boys dressed as soldiers needed lip gloss and how tall models really are when you’re on your toes to touch-up their eye make up?

Spoiler Alert: I didn’t make it to the end of the course. There was a test which involved working on models (regular volunteers) we didn’t know which was practically impossible to repeat if we didn’t pass. I didn’t even start. I had managed to clean all my brushes perfectly only to forget them at home. I spent the day chilling with my friend (who was to be the model I contributed) in a book store and talking about things like Twilight and the probability of Voldemort’s asexuality.

To some I may seem like a quitter…but in the end I decided to screw the patronising voices in my head and just focus on what I really wanted to do. While trying to prove myself to nobody, I had stressed myself out, wasted valuable writing time and read only one book – ‘Breaking Dawn’ by Stephanie Meyer.

I’m certain there are some of my fellow students from that course now working on ‘The Hobbit’ movies but I could never envision myself among them. I’m a writer and I’ve embraced my literary mojo.

Do you find other people’s scepticism over your writing getting to you? How do you stay focused on what really matters to you?

P.S. You are literarily awesome.

1 comment:

Siân said...

I think the only thing that stressed me about writing was that when my relations realized that when I was at home I was writing 80% of the time, they began to ask the question, 'When are you going to be published?'
I started writing when I was ten, so over thirty years ago, and it was never with being published in mind. I initially write as an escape. I realized that when I wrote I could control the lives of the characters, whereas I had no control over the things that were happening to me. When I wrote, I went through a secret door, and closed it fast behind me. Absolutely no-one was coming through it behind me.

I hid my writing, was too embarrassed to let any-one see it. I was raised in a very literary family of teachers, and read few childrens books. By the age of twelve, I was reading adult books, and I knew damn well I was not in that league. But as the years went on, through my teens and twenties, people did notice I drawers, an ottoman and a bookshelf filled with files of writing. Not unnaturally, they did wonder why I was writing if I had no ambition to be a published author. There was sometimes pressure, impatience and anger at my wasting time, which only triggered an explosion. I didn't (and still do not) feel I need a reason to write. For me the act of writing is the whole reason for writing.

I write fanfiction nowadays. I gave up writing o-fic to write in world I had loved for decades (Middle-earth) and so now people do read what I write, but I could easily go back to writing privately for myself.
I meet people through fanfiction who do wish to try for publishing, and I encourage them all I can. Had I children, I would be thrilled if they enjoyed writing, and want them to love the act of creating in words without the pressure that I lived with for years. Were I were to meet any-one who confided they were a writer I would probably clap my hands and give a little scream of excitement. I support writers. (all writers, fanfic or profic) They've transported me to different worlds, made me laugh, cry, feel rage, sorrow, horror, shock and triumph. Through books, I have lived thousands of lives in different worlds.

So, any-one out there with a dream of writing, any-one who is writing now, do not let any-one smudge your dream with cynicism. Pursue it with all your heart.