Why i’m firing up the old blog again

I know i’ve said this a million and one times but i’m going to try and fire up my bad boy of a blog again.

“Why Stuart, good God why? Leave it alone, let it die for God sake, it’s suffered enough” You scream into my face whilst shaking me by the shoulders.

You’re probably right, I normally come back to it once a year with an annual post just to shock it back into life long enough to keep it’s brain function ticking over for another year. But i’ve been thinking a lot recently about where i’ve been, where I am and where i’m going. Looking back to 2003 at the early posts on my blog, hindsight has afforded me the wonderful perspective to see that i’m in a much better position and that i’ve gone out and got pretty much everything I ever wanted, to modest degree. I’m not going to run down a list of what’s in my life now that wasn’t in it 12 years ago, but I think if now me was to leave a comment on one of 2003 me’s pining, hopeful/pessimistic blog posts, i’d be able to tell him it’s all going to be ok.

Saying that, there’s always room for a few more pining, hopeful/pessimistic blog posts no matter where you find yourself in life. To paraphrase many a great quote, you should never really stop learning. So why should we stop trying to better our situation?

I find myself at the moment on a modest rung of a career in video production, i’ve cultivated what I think is a showreel of impressive work and i’ve got options, in my current job and if i ever decide to move on. In short i’m in a great position carer wise.

Thinking back though about why I even wanted to get into what I do now, boiling everything about my need to be creative and work in a field that allows me to do that, I ended up asking myself a question.

What do I really see myself as?

I only had one answer. A storyteller.

I’ve had stories in my head as far back as I can remember. The problem I had when I was a kid was realising that they were stories that needed to be written down or told to someone. Unfortunately this meant that they normally manifested as lies and as all liars, I eventually got found out and was as such branded as a liar. The lies of course weren’t coming from a place of malice, manipulation or deceit, my thought process would be more along the lines of “ok this just happened to me, but wouldn’t it be better if it happened like this instead!” or “Ok someone just asked me if this ever happened to me, it didn’t but imagine if it did what would that be like? Hmmm maybe i’ll just say that it did anyway.” It was always coming from a place that just wanted to get those stories out of my head and into the world. But try explaining that to someone who’s just caught you in a lie, all they care about is that they’ve been lied to, and apparently for no good reason too.

Further on down the line I was able to realise that you can’t just make stuff up about your life and expect people to accept it. I could tell that these ideas of mine needed to be fashioned into something tangible that other people could digest and recognise as something that was intended to be completely made up. I started doing that too and for the most part I always seemed to be in a place where I could get those ideas into the world somehow. Sometimes it was through a performance, a short film or a short piece of writing, be it a story or even a blog post!

That satisfied the storyteller in me for while. But as I learned more about the craft of storytelling I was able to develop my ideas into fuller more complex tales with characters that had layers to them. Before long i’d managed to get an idea to a level where I thought I really had something, something that could really turn heads. From then on all my ideas went into that, if they made it better, great they were in, if they couldn’t fit however they were discarded and seen as rubbish.

Then I got scared. What if I never had another good idea again? What if this was it? If it was then it better be bloody good and more importantly I can’t waste it, I have to wait until i’m 100% in the best position to get this out into the world. If you happen to be one of the few people that has read my blog over the years then you might have figured out that i’m talking about Viral. Viral was an idea I had that started out as an attempt to write a novel, it then morphed into a short film, then a feature film that I would make myself, then a feature that I wouldn’t make myself, until it finally ended up as a TV pilot script.

Basically I fell into a trap and that trap was getting too precious over an idea. I was so proud of my first real big idea that I held it close and never wanted to let it go. I carried that idea around with me for so long that I didn’t let myself consider any of my other ideas for what they really were and explore them.

Early this year I decided that Viral would best fit the television format, so I finally sat down and wrote a 45 page pilot script with the intention of sending it in to a screenwriting competition. As I was writing it though, something started to become extremely clear to me, the story was well past it’s sell by date. I’d waited too long. The characters had become a bit of a muddle, the themes of the story seemed like they were harking back to 5 years ago and not all that relevant now.

But I slogged on because I knew I had to do this, if for nothing more than the catharsis of it all. I did, I even mapped out the whole arc of the series so I knew how it all ended . I got it sent off and eventually got a polite thanks but no thanks back from the competition. But in doing that i’d put it bed and I felt so much better as soon as I did.

As a result I was suddenly getting ideas again or least listening to them now i’d unburdened myself from Viral. So I’ve started to write them down, bits of dialogue, characters, concepts, vivid dreams that hang with you. The difference is now I feel like i’m finally at a point where I know what I want and I think I have all the tools and experience to start to start doing it properly and go and get it.

Ideas have varying lifespans, Stephen King started the Dark Tower series of books back in 1982 with a paragraph he thought sounded cool, the last in the series was finished in 2004! Other ideas though need to get out into the world as soon as they can or they’ll never make it. That’s all this post boils down to really, I understand now that my ideas need conduits though which they can get out into the world and that starts with me. So I want to give myself as many places and excuses to write as I possibly can. Screenplays, short stories, articles, comics, plays and yes even blog posts! It all helps me keep this flow of ideas moving and I’ve realised there is no secret to being a better writer, it’s just about writing as much as you can and honing your craft. Like anything really.

If we could speak to that 2003 me now, he’d probably aspire to have a massive Hollywoodesqe lifestyle with all the trimmings and be a cool, creative guy that everybody wanted to be around. In truth all I really want out of this writing thing is to be able to do it for a living. I want a modest house where me and my family can spend our days. In that house I want a little room, where I can keep all my nerdy film and comic crap out of Lynsey’s way. There’s a desk in there where I spend my days getting all these ideas out of my head and down onto paper.

Hopefully (we did say at the beginning that this was another hopeful post) i’ll be able to look back in another 12 years and 2027 Stuart will be wishing he could comment on 2015 Stuart’s post and tell him it’s all going to be ok.

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