If you focus on something for five years and really believe in it you're going to be successful in one way or other. That's what my ex (who gets paid to travel to tropical countries to fix computers) told me while I was working on my debut novel. And almost exactly five years after I started writing seriously I had a novel published. I did focus on my novel writing and I really believed in it. But it's not always this simple ...
What is success anyway? Are you less of a novelist if you spend five years perfecting a novel, focusing on it and really believing in it and still not getting it published ...? The optimist in me wants to believe that those people don't exist, that they didn't try hard enough .... The realist in me doesn't want to wake up because I am a dreamer ...
Another person(in his early thirties)who is a poet, MC, songwriter and musician told me that he would've been successful by now if he had focused on one thing only. I'm not sure whether to agree or disagree. Surely these areas all feed into each other, but if you're pre-occupied by making a living and having a very rich social life it's tricky. It's also matter of how much you're willing to focus, how much you're willing to offer in terms of time and money.
I've been writing seriously in English since 2007, so according to the five year focus and belief I should be published by next year. But at the moment I'm all over the place ... I'm waiting for my agent to find a publisher for UNDER THE LIP (former REPLACING ANGEL). Waiting is not a very active space to be in so in the meantime ...
*I'm making notes on a new novel, note: making notes, not actually writing
*I'm writing random poetry
*I'm working with improvising jazz musicians
*I performing poetry
*I'm reading/performing short stories
*I'm taking voice classes
*I'm going to drop-in acting classes
*I'm going to drop-in 5Rhythms dance classes
*I'm lying down in the Alexander Technique semi-supine position
*I'm reading all sorts of stuff, fact and fiction
*I'm taking more photographs than my harddrive can handle
*I'm making collages (see picture)
But above all I'm working on getting to know my body. Hence the voice classes, acting classes, dance classes and the Alexander Technique. (I can't afford to do these things every week even if I wanted to do, but I try to do at least one physical thing every week).
All my life I've lived in my head, intellectualising all my actions. Now it's time for me to get in touch with my body, and I believe this will make me a better and more confident performer. Indirectly it will also help me with my novel work as a part of "the job" is to promote your novel, do readings etc.
I took out a book from the Children's Library simply titled The Inside & Outside Guide to Your Body. I'm fascinated by the fact that under my skin there is a skeleton. It's not like I didn't know before, but I finally understand that I've got a skeleton. I'm learning to breathe.
I could skip all this body work and just plunge into working on my new novel and ignore all the other parts of me. But at the moment it's more important for me to become a whole human being.