Learning Success

LadderAs an aspiring author, nothing is more satisfying that receiving a good review of my work, and I’m sure you’re the same.

This article doesn’t just apply to writers, but to everyone. If you’re someone who has a passion for doing absolutely anything, then read on.

It took me years to figure out what I was good at. From a very young age, the idea of being an author seemed like a good one, yet, I didn’t know exactly what that was – yes, I knew it meant writing, I knew an author was someone who created a book, but I had no idea what the ingredients were for being a writer.

It wasn’t until Year 9 (you must forgive me, but I don’t know the US Grade equivalent)  that my teacher pointed out just how creative I was. I was always pretty bad at English, both language and literature, but I always loved creating thing. At Primary school, even creating a new game entertained me for days on end. In year 9, it was pointed out to me that I had a talent for creating stories.

Naturally, this excited me more than anything else. Finally, I thought to myself. Yes, finally! Finally, I was good at something… at least I thought I was. Little did I know, that I was far from a good writer at the time.

I remember speaking to my cousin about writing. She pointed out that the best way to become a full-time writer was to enter competitions, to get myself on the map. That certainly is one way of doing it. So, we found a competition known as “Wicked Young Writers”, and the best thing was that the deadline was only a week or to away, so my waiting time wouldn’t be too long.

I immediately go to work on my very first story, “The Baby In The Winter”. The word limit was only 750 words, but that was enough for me. I finished it within a day, and the feeling I felt was second to none. Finally, I was a writer. I had finished something I set my mind to, and the emotions were very rewarding.

Alas, I didn’t make it into the final. My emotions were dragged down to the depths of my heart, turning cold and sour. But I didn’t give in. Next year! I thought to myself, and indeed, next year, I tried again. This time, I tried something a little different: I wrote something similar to a previous winner of the competition – a fan fiction. It became apparent to myself that I had a fascination with dark literature, bleak, cold and unforgiving.

The story I wrote that year was was a much deeper and darker version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. I saw a huge change in my writing style. It was fuller, bolder, and far more descriptive than the last. I had learned what a paragraph was (somehow I missed that lesson in school…), and I understood the fabrics of a story.

Alas, that year, I didn’t get in again. I began to lose hope. Maybe my writing simply wasn’t good enough? Yes and no. My writing was solid, but it lacked originality. I understood how to write, but I was missing the one thing that makes a story stand out – NEW. I was missing my own ideas, failing to see past the curtains; there was a good story there, but it wasn’t what wanted to write, no, it was what I thought others wanted to read.

The third year soon came by, and this time, my story was strong, original, what I wanted to read. I persevered. I had hope this time. I had actually sat down and thought it through, it was my own story.

That year, and the year that followed, I got into the top 20 in the country. I didn’t win, but it was something.

Dedication. That’s what I learned. Most people fall at the first sign of failure. I almost did, but I didn’t let myself fall. I took it upon myself to never accept no as an answer, and it paid off. Now, my mind knows no limits.

Failure is the sole reason we persevere. If we succeed in everything that we do, we’ll never learn anything. When faced with failure, know that it isn’t a step back, but a ladder. It’s not going to be easy to make it to the top, it will take time, a very long time, but the end goal will never change, so long as you learn from your last step.

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Life In My Hands

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a dog nudging something in the grass. At first glance, the dog was just playing with some dirt, as they do, but curiosity got the better of me.

As I approached, I noticed something; no further than two feet in front of me was a still, small bird. My heart stopped. This tiny thing, with feathers so delicate they seemed as thin as snowflakes, was face down on the ground. The worst scenario went through my head.

As I chased the dog away, I wasted no time in scooping up the little thing in my hands, hurrying it into my home in a desperate rush. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was just doing everything anyone else would – what they could.

I grabbed a tea towel, the closest, softest thing I could find. In my head, I was preparing myself to bury the delicate creature but then, a shudder. It was still alive! Thank God.

It chirped a few times before nuzzling into my jumper. If my heart could melt…

I decided to name him Fiyero, and because I name him meant he had to live!!

Just like every person in the modern day age, I recorded the entire event on my phone (because Fiyero was absolutely adorable). He was so tame. I noticed he struggled to extend his right leg properly, but that didn’t dampen his spirit. He constantly spread his wings at flew for no more than a second. There was something in those moments where I felt a powerful amount encouragement for him to succeed… even if it resulted in him flying around my home for hours on end…

But, alas, Fiyero was born for nature, not nurture of a human touch. I had to let him go.

As I gently placed him in a soft container and led him outside, I felt an attachment for the little guy. He was possibly moments from never flying again. I had snatched him from Death’s door and held him in my hands as though I were a cradle of life.

Maybe I interfered with nature’s course, perhaps Fiyero shouldn’t have crossed my path, but as I lay him down and watch him make hos way back to the trees, I couldn’t help but feel that my good deed saved a tiny, innocent life. I quite literally felt that I held the bird’s life in my hands.

I spent the next hour listening to No Good Deed from Wicked the Musical (Fiyerrroooooooo!!!!)

(if that makes no sense, please youtube it!)

A False Motherhood

Would you say your mother was the best person in your life? I wish I could say that, I wish I had the arms of a mother who wanted me there.

Now, I’m not asking for sympathy, quite the opposite. I simply want your opinion, or simply your attention, for a brief moment.

When a child is born, is it then that their mother actual becomes a mother? In the eyes of the law, yes. Morally? I don’t think so. The Art of Mothering is what makes you a mother; the moments you take out of your own life to let your child stand, to allow them to touch the sky, giving them everything you have just so they can smile another day.

My mother, on the other hand, demanded the respect a mother deserves for doing nothing more than sleep and smoke. Take a second to look through my eyes, just for a flicker of a second – at age nine, I was visiting my mother for her allowed weekends. unbearable at the best of times, but I saw this particular day through. At the twilight of Sunday, as I awaited the time to return to my Grandmother’s home, my mother, quite carelessly, feeds a whisper into my ear as though it were nothing.

“Your dad isn’t your real dad, you know?” She said ever so freely like the wind passing the tees.

“What?” My nine year old self asked, not entirely sure what to make of it.

“He’s not your real dad. You can’t call him dad anymore.”

My question is this: should a mother burden such a thing on a child of nine? I was small for my age, and I remember feeling even younger than I was. At first, I thought nothing of it, but as I sat in the backseat of my father’s car, I wished to ask him a question. I called him by his first name.

Why shouldn’t I? Why would mother have reason to lie so her son?

It didn’t take my father long to correct me of my mistake.

“I am your dad. I brought you up.” He said solidly. It took me a while to understand fully what he meant, but I’m 21, and understand it completely.

A parent is the person who helped you take your first breath, no. A parent is someone who sees you through each day of your life, ensuring nothing but the best comes your way. They’d give their life for yours, should the time come.

 

Scared of The Dark

Have you ever been afraid of the day that is to follow?

I have. I am right now.

Tomorrow is a day which I cannot mess up, or else my days will grow worse.

It’s human to feel this way. But it’s hard to tell yourself that, hell, even I struggle to tell myself that. Worrying is what gives us that sense of wanting to achieve or impress, that desire to do something good, even if the outcome may not be that bleak.

Rejection. That’s what we fear. I hate the word. It sounds desperate and cruel, but it’s the most accurate word for the situation. I’m scared that I may be rejected as an author, scared that I may be rejected back into education should that day come.

It haunts us, but there’s no need to be scared of the dark. Rejection can be resourceful, if one knows how to harness it. Let it drive you. Only you know truly what to do, no one can tell you otherwise. They may advise you, yet that cannot control you. your thoughts are as free and as wild as harsh winds that plague the world.

Fear rejection, and you will know how to overcome in. Picture it like this: You are aware of what it is that you have or haven’t done for this terrible, daunting outcome. So, by definition, you know what you should have done. Well, what’s stopping you?

If all you need is a little push to change the tides, then there’s nothing stopping you doing anything.

Where To Go From Here?

You might be sitting at your computer, or sat hunched over your phone, thinking a multiple number of things. Is one of those thoughts about you growing up? Finding a partner, starting a family, having a successful career?

No? Well read on anyway… please? I’ll pay you in cuddled.

I remember sitting at the desk one day, writing away at a novel that I had invested at least three years of my life in, comparing my life to those of my characters. One in-particular stood out – it wasn’t a happy story line, but it was a typical one. The typical, man and woman marry, have two children kind of story. You get what I mean?

I remember sitting there, twirling a pen between my fingers mindlessly, thinking about how my life would turn out like that. I wasn’t “dreaming”, I was simply pondering the thought. And something popped in my mind – do we dream about what we are expected to do? Think about it carefully. Perhaps I’m mad, in which case, please tell me because I’ve been wondering that for years – I mean, I don’t trust people who put the milk in tea first. But just, think, just for a moment.

Your parents were likely married, or maybe not, but either way, they were likely a man and a woman who decided to have a child. You. You grow up a little, go to school and learn about the Nuclear Family, about how you’re expected to contribute to society by slaving away from a fraction of wage that your superior gains. Is it really the right thing to do? Or are we just encouraged to let go of our dreams?

Now, I’m not saying that everyone you encounter will be trying to whip you into a good adult, but why doesn’t the education system help you discover something other than the academic curriculum already set in place? Maybe your teachers pushed you down the road of your talents, but I certainly know mine didn’t.

I’m babbling on here, but there is a point to it all, just bare with me… ok? You’re still there, right?

The point of this is all is to try and encourage you not to be a sheep. You don’t follow shepherds, you find your own farm! They say “The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not want”, but that should not be applied to everything. Do what you love, even if you’re told not to. I was told that I’d never become an author, yet here I am, writing a novel. Why? Because I don’t let tradition define me.

Once a month, ask yourself, “Where do I want to go from here?”. It’s risky to play by the book. You’re encourage to read the text carefully, to take care of the book so that your children may follow. No, you shouldn’t do it by the book, you should rip out the bloody pages and find the book that you want!

Perhaps this post makes no sense, which I doubt it does, but you never know unless you try – and that’s my point. Try stepping outside the box and draw your own path. It’s your life, your rules, you’re not playing anyone’s game.

 

Take care everyone! 🙂

A Jobseeker Journey

Well this went t*ts-up quickly, didn’t it?

After a failed year at sixth-form, I ventured down the path of apprenticeships – a great way into a career for both, but a nightmare for me. What a surprise!

I won’t go too in-depth with the boring details of a career path that was worse that putting the milk in first for a cup of tea (seriously, I don’t trust anyone who puts the milk in first, like, who even are you?), so I’ll skip straight to the first time was on job seekers – yeah, the FIRST time, the second time is worse, and still on going… anyone who wants to pray for Liam?

At first, the fact i was unemployed didn’t phase me too much. For the first week, I spent every second of my time writing up a new best selling novel… don’t laugh, ok? I was four years ago, I was young! It was at this point where I suddenly felt free; I had just got rid of a dead-end relationship, and now, I was free of a horrific job that made me go deaf in both eyes and blind in both ears.

But soon the writing came to a halt, and the realisation that money is even more important than food hit me faster than my money hit the counter at Waterstones. So, I began the dreaded job search.

I got a job within a month – and may I add, it was an incredibly long month. But, a job is a job! Anything that pays the bills and keeps Death behind a door is a positive thing.

Now, I went from one job directly into the next within a year. I was finally happy in the role that I had found, as I was finally allowed to tell people off without getting a court order for assault… to clarify, I’m a good boy…

But, that role fell through, as thus JSA welcomes me back like a puppy, just not as cute or as wanted. This time around, it’s hard. By God it’s bloody hard. Within the space of a month, I had lost the best relationship I’ve ever had, and another job. Nothing more could have gone wrong, right? Wrong. I’m sure you’re familiar with money, and how it allows you to buy and keep things?

I own a pretty cheap but nifty car that I relied on for commuting to and from work, but now that I was unemployed, I couldn’t afford the petrol nor the insurance. The worst part of this was the fact that being without a vehicle makes is 1000% more difficult to find a job.

There’s only so much you can take. When you’re sitting on a job search website, throwing your CV out to anyone with a pair of eyes, you feel less of a person, having to reply on had working people’s money in order for you to literally survive. (To all of you readers who are tax payers, I thank you on behalf of everyone going through my issue for allowing us to have another chance. We’d literally be underground if not for you).

As the months strolled by, it became clear to me that this was not going to be as easy as the last time. The mind can only stretch so far before is break, and believe me, mine is near its maximum pull.

Yet, there is a tiny, very hard to see silver lining. In the darkness, there is hope, just like how in the light, there is fear. The time taken for me to find a job has given me a further, more complete understanding of how the world works, how sometimes the innocent is punished, and the grotesque rewarded. Yet support is there for both, whenever needed. It’s a bitter sweet thing to realise, but I hope that for those of you who are going through the same struggle as I am, can find and share a likeliness between you and I, and know that there is help when it’s needed, no matter how dyer the situation seems.

For anyone who feels like they have no one to turn to, or no voice to speak up, I encourage you to contact myself at: liamalexlaing3@hotmail.co.uk  and put the subject “Notebook – WordPress”

 

My Education

Like the majority of the population, after finishing secondary education, I proceeded on to Sixth Form to Study four A-Levels: Geography, I.T, Classic Studies, and Sport and P.E (I was forced to choose Sport and P.E… they may as well have held a knife to my throat).

From day one, it was great! I was finally going to study the subjects I wanted, step closer to the career I dreamed for, finally learn about… about what? Learn about how I would be stuck in work until I was 70? Contributing to a government that near forces you to work the second you can speak, up until a point where you can do barely anything at all?

No, that wasn’t me. I wasn’t suggesting that I didn’t want to contribute to society, quite to contrary, my grandmother raised me so well, and sadly she required care from a government funded care-home, so I felt it my duty to put back in what I reaped. but I didn’t want to contribute in a way that degraded the human life.

Now, any job is good, no matter how degrading. Don’t let those “above” you say otherwise. If you’re getting up day after day, working hard so that you may live, then that’s something to be proud of.

I’m forever getting on a tangent – my bad! So, I started sixth-form, a met some new people, and at the same time, made the most embarrassing mistake of my life so far (this I will never disclose, as I don’t want you to die from laughter). The lessons began, and it was great, especially Geography. There was no more R.S or learning about a city I’ve lived in for 21 years in History, no, it was just the topics I wanted to study – well, all but one.

But just as all was going well, something happened. I wrote a story. Just a story, you say? Yes, a simple, 750 word story. Not much, is it? Well, picture this; a young man of 16 writes a short story and believes it to be rubbish. Of course it is! Who on Earth would disagree?! Well, it turned out that a lot of people did – they loved it! They believed I had a talent for writing. My hopes were inflated like a bubblegum balloon. I immediately began writing more; a new idea! A bigger, better one! Longer… much, much longer… a novel!

Alas, it went to my head. I wrote day after day, well over 2,000 words per day, dreaming about reaching the end, holding up my novel in the air like a cliche Tennis Player at Wimbledon. I’d never been so happy… until I got called out of my Classics class one afternoon. I’d fallen behind… really, and I mean really f*cking far behind. Without knowing, I’d skipped the months needed for revision for exams, which were next week.

Struck with panic, I did all I could: stayed behind until 5pm, pulled all nighters, begged for help from friends, and even contemplated deleting my entire writing document out of sheer rage.

Alas, it wasn’t enough.

I failed absolutely every exams that was stuck in front of me. U, U, U and U. I can’t describe how low I felt at that point. It was like I’d just found out I was just a figment of someone’s imagination – but far more fabulous.

It’s hard to say exactly where I went wrong. I was a smart young man, but I believe I was just too tempted. I refused to accept the idea that I needed a backup plan, an education to support my writing. Now, I have next to no education, and have little motivation to write for fear of making the same mistake again.

I’d like you take something from this overly long blog. Just one thing: to think; you’ll be faced with God knows how many choices where one option is better than you other, but just take a moment and think. Is it the best choice? Are you going to be safe should all fall through? If it does, and you’re not prepared, believe me, it will ruin you/