It is no secret that writing was not my first love. Most of my life, my passion was performing and I dreamed of being a star of the musical stage or a singer. I imagined I'd be the one performing the words, or singing the lyrics that other people had written, and eventually be the subject of some biographer to the stars, in a tell-all account of all the rockstars I'd slept with and hotel rooms I'd trashed.
But when I look back now, a pen was never far from my hand. Through all my years of performing on the stage, singing in pubs and in bands, there was always time to write. And I always did.
Every time I found a new love or suffered another unrequited one, I wrote a song about it. I wrote poetry about beautiful places I visited or a garden I'd walked through. I captured special moments and random thoughts in notebooks, journals, emails, and on the back of beer coasters.
Without really recognising I wanted to be one, I was always a writer. Capturing my own stories in disjointed chapters over the course of time and places. Effectively, I've been writing my own memoir all my life, in moments, memos and messages. You probably have too.
HOW THE PAST FUELS THE PRESENT
Over the years, and even now, the time I spend away from my paid job is spent in creative spaces with creative people; a world I find infectious and addictive. If you are ever short of inspiration, spend a night at a concert, or wander through an art gallery or catch a midday matinee at the theatre or head off to the cinema. Even a short drive in the car, listening to your favourite CD can ignite the imagination. Creativity breeds creativity.
I was never into sport, and watching it on tv or live feels like time wasted that I could have spent writing. The only exception I make to this rule is watching my six year old and his friends playing teeball on a Saturday morning. But then I consider it research as I observe the different levels of parenting, from the competitive achievement pushers to the gaggle of gossipers, more interested in who Joanne's mum was flirting with at the P&C meeting than the game itself.
Writing is about observation, its how well you can recount the tale and make it feel real to the reader that is the talent. The same way a singer can make you feel the pain of his ballad, or the lust in the love song.
Creative talent is a gene you are born with but it is also nurtured by what you learn along the way. While you can learn the craft and refine it, like being a good singer or artist, you need a natural flare for it to start with.
My mum was a great influencer and as a teenager and into adulthood, we were always off to the theatre to watch live performances. I guess it is no surprise that I followed that path through life.
HOW FORM CHANGES
Even into adulthood, I love nothing more than using plays, shows and live performances to fuel my own ideas. And there was another benefit that came with my years of being on and off the stage.
All these things, eventually led to becoming a theatre reviewer and arts correspondent for Perth Culture an online arts magazine and news website So Perth.
Having a passion other than writing will give you great opportunities to write about your interests and is the perfect way to learn how to deliver words in a different format. Theatre reviewing, like travel writing stretches you vocabulary as there is only so many ways to describe a play. You need to find a way to keep your words interesting and readers coming back.
It is a good path for learning how to take yourself out of your work and if you're lucky, you might even get paid!
HOW LIFE LEADS YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE
While most of us spend our lives striving, studying, working towards goals, the real life is happening in-between, in the everyday. In the things we overlook as ordinary.
I had no idea when I was watching Neighbours back in the 90's that one day Craig Mcloughlin would be give me a rose and kiss me on the cheek on Valentines Day at a media call for the Rocky Horror Picture Show or that I'd be rubbing shoulders with award-winning authors at the Perth Writers Festival.
If there is a point to this article it is keep living, follow your passions and take leaps of faith, because you never know where they take you.
Remember life makes the decisions not you. You simply steer the vehicle to unknown destinations and collect little souvenirs along the way. The great exhibition in the museum of your life.
Hopefully one of those souvenirs, is an old beer coaster you wrote on the back of at Heathrow airport once upon a time. A piece that later formed part of the best story you ever wrote.