Inspirational Mantra?

‘Dream big’ (generic inspirational remark)

‘Aim for the moon. If you miss, you’ll be amongst the stars’ (quote from a badge I had about twenty years ago)

‘We are all in the gutter, but some of are looking at the stars’ (Oscar Wilde)

These are all inspirational quotes I’ve heard, not just about writing, but about everything. I did find them useful at first, but now I think they’re a bit vague. For example, dreaming big is all very well. But what you need is something telling to do the next small step, and the step after that, and the one after that, and by the way, this is all hard work, and some luck, and a lot of effort and dreaming doesn’t get you anyway. But that’s not quite so snappy, and doesn’t fit on a t shirt.

The Oscar Wilde quote is lovely (of course, it is, it’s Oscar Wilde) and is very true, (again, Oscar). But the point is, you can’t just look. Oscar made being a genius look very easy, and effortless, but he put a hell of a lot of very hard work into his writing. He didn’t just look at the stars, he sat down at his desk and worked hard at viewing this stars.

I have two quotes on my desk. ‘Never never never give up’ by Winston Churchill. Well, it’s less of a inspiration than a command, if you imagine it in Churchill’s voice. I’m choosy about which situations I apply it to though. It’s perfect for my writing career. It’s not so perfect for ice skating, where I tend to fall over and break bones. Giving that up was a great idea.

The other one is from Arthur Conan Doyle ‘Life is infinitely stranger than anything we can imagine’. This is very useful when I’m writing a plot, and I think it’s ridiculous. I look at this and think that no matter how ridiculous my plot, it will have happened some place, some time in real life.

A good inspirational quote can keep you going. It’s a mantra to push you onwards through disappointment and never-ending hard work. But choose it carefully. Choose something carefully. It’s probably best not to choose something that’s been on a t-shirt. Choose something that helps you when you in the depths of despair, not just when you’re happy and successful (or drunk).

Dream big is a great idea. But ‘baby steps’, (meaning don’t try and do everything at once, take everything step by step and move on when I’m ready) is my own mantra for my writing career, as well as my recovery from my terrible health, and getting acting training and learning lines, has been a lot more helpful – but it wouldn’t look good on a t-shirt.


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