What inspires you to write

I have recently been through various personality style / assessments at work as part of some training. I am deeply fascinated by this sort of thing. I love exploring personality types, both my own and others. I love trying to figure out what makes people tick, their goals and aspirations, their life journeys, and what makes them unique.

The main one I have done is called Life Style Inventory. If you are not sure what Life Style Inventory is click here to the link. Basically you answer comprehensive list of questions. You, your peers, your manager, and your subordinates all complete this questionnaire, and you received detailed feedback on your thinking and behaviour styles. Not quite the same as a personality type, but sort of similar.

I have a coach who works with me on reviewing all the feedback and, as if I haven’t already done enough questions, he sent me a separate questionnaire to help him better understand how to work with me as my coach.

Amongst the many questions was…What inspires and motivates you?

Ok, I love questions like this 🙂

Lets look at inspiration first.

The immediate thought that came to mind was no one, as if only other people could be an inspiration. You often hear people talk about being inspired by other people who have succeed in their chosen field. For example athletes, humanitarians, great writers or poets, pop stars etc.

I was feeling a little, nope, thats not me.

Then I turned it around and asked myself what makes me want to write?

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This was instantly easier to answer. I love looking out at nature, and I have an amazing view from my writing room (above). But I also feel inspired by beauty and art of all kinds including music, stories, buildings, etc. If I was also going to get into specifics I would add, myths, legends, fables, and any tale with a theme that resonate with my inner hero.

I love travelling and history, and there is nothing more moving to me that standing at a historical sight and letting my imagination run wild. I find this very inspiring. Wherever we go on holidays I always work it around something I know I will find inspiring, and afterwards it’s pretty much an ideas avalanche.

Below. I find castles to be be a huge inspiration personally. I find they both tragic and romanic, particularly ones like Raglan in Wales, shown here. Raglan has such a dark and traumatic past that it is hard to walk around it and press your fingers against the ancient stone without feeling a little of that history seep into your own soul.

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Below, taken on a walk along a stretch of the Great Wall of China, just outside Beijing. I saw some amazing historical sights while travelling through China. I love hearing about the history, the culture, and events that happened at the places I visited.

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So in conclusion, for me, it is the product of amazing people, not necessarily the people themselves, that inspires me. I wonder how these genius creators would feel about me stating that?

I think that if anyone ever said a book I had written inspired them, even in some very tiny way, I would be beyond delighted. So I think, and I hope, they would be happy to know I find the results of their hard work so inspiring.

And, if I had to choose between someone remembering me or my book. I would choose my book every time.

Part 2 coming soon. What motivates you?

The English Question – choosing your flavour / flavor of English

As a child in the UK I grew up grappling with the ungainly language known as English. I will be the first to admit I find English a baffling language. It’s full of contractions, rules that have a list of exceptions as long as your arm, and obscure principles steeped in the mists of time that make no sense at all.

For all its quirks and problems, I still love English, and for better or worse, for a large part of the planet, English is here to stay.

English comes in flavours, and other countries have their own set of slightly different rules that go some way to removing a few of the more extreme pain points. Additionally, we batlle with the concept of colloquialisms, that British people say one thing, but Americans, Australians and other English speakers may say something else.

As an English expatriate, who now lives in Australia, I have become desensitised to this variation in the spelling, and in the colloquialisms. I watch American TV, Australian TV, and British TV. I buy books from Amazon.com so it’s fair to assume that most of these are in American English. In short, I have become immune to the subtle differences in the language such that I don’t even notice them anymore.

When I first made a decision to look at publishing a book, I realised the vital first step was enlisting an editor. I am not a person constrained by boundaries, and it did not cross my mind to look for a local editor, or even necessarily an editor who was from Australia or the UK, I simply looked for an editor I felt I could work with and connect with, and as it happens, my editor is based in America.

One of the first questions she asked me was what ‘English’ do you want to edit in.

Until this point, I had just assumed I would stick with my native language but now I questioned that presumption.

After some discussion I settled on American English, and in short, it’s the biggest market, and even in the other markets, it’s not unfamiliar.

Given my perceived language immunity I assumed this was a simple flick of the dictionary once I finished writing and, ta-dah, all would be good.

This was my first mistake. It’s actually a lot harder to write in your non-native language than it is to read or listen to it, and while you think you understand all the subtleties you really don’t.

With hindsight, it was actually a good move to pick an American editor since I wanted the finished book in American English. My editor picks out all kinds of subtle things that I would never notice, and I think an Australian or UK editor may also not notice, or at least not notice as easily.

Picking your final audience is an important decision when finalising a book. I am happy with my decision, and time will tell if this was ultimately the right choice.

Just for fun I thought I would leave you with a few of the colloquialisms picked up along the way  🙂

English American
Lift Elevator
Bloke Guy
Mad Crazy
Got on Get along
I’ve not had I haven’t had
Messing about Messing around