Friday, June 27, 2014

Week Twenty-six – Halfway through!

This week I reach a milestone in my quest to write a weekly blog for a year and turn it into a book, and here we are, halfway through!

First of all, I want to thank you all for continually supporting me by reading my weekly blog, the great news is that we are halfway there! And without you I would not be here. So whether you have read all 26 blogs so far or only a few (even just one) you have contributed to my commitment and dream to push myself as a writer to produce 52 bite-sizes blogs with my experiences and views in life, which in turn may have, so far, given you inspiration and ideas on how to better live your life. All 52 blogs will then form part of a self-help book which will be entitled “A pack of cards, 52 ways to raise your game” a title inspired by my son who in a conversation about my book reminded me that there are 52 cards in a pack, the same number of weeks in a year and of blogs I will write. It’s amazing how and when inspiration comes to you and everything around you gives you an idea.

So to celebrate this milestone, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you one of my first writing pieces I wrote back in 2011 when I began to blog. It is entitled “A writer’s world – Everything is an idea!” and it is appropriate in the context of how I’ve come to be here today and how my son inspired the title of the book. So enjoy it, keep on reading and once again, thank you for your support, as long as someone out there reads, I will write!

A writer’s world – Everything is an idea!

When I was a young kid, my mother worried about me. Not because I was not good at school (which by the way I was terrible) or because I hanged around a bad circle of friends (which I didn’t) or because I was perhaps into drugs or drinking (which I was either) but she worried because I had a very vivid imagination… strange thing for a mother to worry about!

But as a parent, you always worry about your children and whether they are going to be socially awkward or outgoing. If you see your child at a party, standing in a corner, not talking to other children, you’d think there is something wrong with them and so we enroll them to attend a drama class to help them come out of their shell. I was one of those kids whose mother worried about being a social outcast (I know, hard to believe hey?). She also knew that I had a very vivid imagination and her love and passion for Theater inspired her to take me with her to do theatre. And I will thank her for the rest of my life as she gave me the greatest gift any mother could give to a child, the encouragement to do what I enjoy most, using my imagination.

I grew up as a child actor, working from the age of 10 in theatre (and no, it was not child labor and I was still going to school, which I hated!) and unlike most children my age; I was doing something that let my imagination run wild. Being in the theatre and playing different characters was just what my head needed; it helped me transport myself to different worlds. You could almost say that acting was child’s play; it was for me! I was not in the yard with other kids playing; I had my own playground and an audience who appreciated what I was doing.
Now at the age of 47, I work in Human Resources and in the past I’ve facilitated training, which is like acting. As a trainer, one of my opening lines to relax the participants and introduce myself is “I was a child actor, but I was a rubbish actor” People always look at me in astonishment that I call my self a rubbish actor, so I follow by saying “and do you know how I know I was a rubbish actor?” no one ever dares to answer but I’m sure many think of a few things to say. I wait and then proclaim, “Because I am not famous today!” That always gets a laugh, and then finish by saying “If I had been any good I would be in Hollywood and you would be watching my films!” There is some truth in that, me being a rubbish actor, but a major factor for not being famous today is the fact that I never worked hard at it (I was a lazy Actor). I did continue to fulfill my need to exercise my imagination as an actor working for an amateur group but I haven’t acted now for over 10years building up my frustration and locking up my imagination.

The other great gift my mother gave me was the passion for writing; she knew that another way to get all those ideas out of my head was to channel them through pen and paper. As a child I used to write stories, which never left the scrap piece of paper upon which I wrote them, but they were out of my head! As a teenager I used to write drafts of movies I used to conjure with my childhood friend, often taking center roles as the heroes and good looking leading actors, these where often action driven adventures inspired by blockbuster Hollywood movies we would watch. We used to create different characters and occasionally we were able to bring some of these to life at my father’s social parties, in short sketches, where he enjoyed showcasing his son, the actor. And all of the time I was exercising my passion to create stories and characters that live in my head and needed to come out!

And as a young adult I worked for a theater company down in Putney, south London, where I had the tremendous opportunity to put my vivid imagination to good use. Group 64 Theatre, as it was know back then, provided me with the platform to showcase some of my work; plays that I had written and nurtured for years like a farmer nurtures his crop until it grows and he is able to harvest and share with the world. Unfortunately, I left Group 64 to pursue a more mature career in Human Resources and forgot all about my world, the world of imagination and adventures, the world of acting and writing.

And then I was given the opportunity to take a new role in training for my company, a job that consisted in traveling a lot to deliver training across Europe. This new career would take me away every week discovering new places and new adventures. Little did I know that this job would be the starting point to re-kindle myself with my old passion and help me get my head clear from all those characters asking me to put them on paper again! Traveling took a lot of my time in the working week, and this new job was all work, from the moment I left home to the moment I got back, 24 hours a day. And at home, the weekends were not mine, but my family’s, it was full on, every minute of the day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

A year went on and I loved it, but there was something missing. I had a good balance, spending good quality time with the family and giving 110% at work, so what more did I need? And then it dawned on me; what was missing was what I would call from that moment on as “me time”

I was not doing anything for me; I was doing stuff for everyone else, but not for me. And I discovered I had around 10 hours traveling time, which was dead time. Most travelers use this “dead time” to read or watch a movie or listen to music, I also did at times but that wasn’t enough, I needed to do more, something that would fulfill that “me time”. In one of the trips I opened my personal laptop and looked at it. I didn’t want to watch a movie, listen to music or play solitaire. I didn’t want to do any work either. So what else could I do? And as I stared at the blank screen I had that eureka moment; Write! After all, laptops are the modern portable versions of typewriters! And I was off!
Since then I’ve written a array of work from full-length musicals, full-length plays, comedies, several short plays, a monolog and several episodes of sitcoms and movie scripts! These are all still just drafts except for the comedy, which the first 20 minutes of it was performed at the Soho Theatre in London for “the first 20 minutes” competition.

I’ve revived my passion for writing and everything I see is an idea I want to write about: a new play, or a book or a film, a blog. The more I look the more ideas I get and my travels keep on feeding these ideas. I see so many people, different places and situations that I just have to write about it.  And I guess primarily I am a scriptwriter; I love putting dialog together for those characters in my head, although I am also working on a book. I believe in writing because someone, somewhere maybe is interested in reading my thoughts, the ideas that pop into my head, those ideas that make a good play or TV series or even a film that one day many would enjoy, ideas that come from experiences and observations from my travel, the people I meet and the different situations I find myself in every week. I want to share with everyone my world, the world in my head, the world of a writer.

I don’t know if I am any good at this, but what I know is that I love doing it. I love putting thought to paper and to me that is 90% of the job done. I’ve heard of  “writer’s block” which I guess means you run out of ideas and you inspiration stops. Well not with me! I feel that if I don’t put my ideas on paper my head will explode! And by they way I am a firm believer that writing is not just about using clever words, I don’t have many of those; writing is about painting a picture that your readers will be able to see, and some times the simplest of descriptions can paint a thousand images. If like me, you have a very vivid imagination, you need to give life to some of those stories, characters and situations for everyone else around you to enjoy!

I hope this week’s blog has inspired you to do what you believe in, with determination and passion. Getting half way through my project has not been easy and I know there are twenty-six more blogs to write. I can’t wait to continue brining you more “short bursts” of inspiration, get the rest of the cards out of the pack so you can raise your game!

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