Inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime.

From The Sky Down

Over the last few weeks between playoff games I watched documentaries. 

 I know it’s weird to admit it, but I mostly watched them to get my mind off the Bruins playoff run. 

 Since I’ve started writing, I’ve been fascinated by stories of how others handle the creative process. 

So for the last few weeks, I’ve watched U2’s From the Sky Down

My brother introduced me to U2 back in the 80’s and they have been one of my favorite bands ever since. 

The documentary showcases U2’s journey leading up to their breaking point.  

At that time, U2 was on the verge of breaking up over ‘artist differences’. 

Things looked grim, but through it all, they made and wrote an amazing album. Achtung Baby is arguably the band’s best and most popular album. 

In the past, U2 relied on improvisation and playing in the ‘big room’ to sort things out. It clearly wasn’t working. 

As a writer, my mind rarely shuts off, I’m always searching for the next story, planning and organizing my thoughts, and improvising story ideas.

In the midst of a crazy playoff run, I found inspiration in a documentary that I’ve probably watched thirty times. 

I found two quotes from the film extremely impactful. 

Why did those specific quotes make me reflect and reevaluate my passion and journey in writing?

“As an artist, your biggest enemy is your own history.” Brian Eno

Brian Eno has worked with U2 for years and is one of the best producers in the business, but his quote got me thinking about what fuels my passion and the search for the next story. 

Everyone has a story, and the best stories are always in front of us. 

That’s been my focal point for a long time, especially covering and showcasing local sports. 

By no means am I an artist when it comes to the written word, but is your history really your biggest enemy? 

As a former competitive golfer, you are taught from a young age that golf is a game of misses and that you are only as good as your next shot.

It took me a long time to figure that out, but when I did it changed everything. 

I’ve carried that perspective throughout my journey in broadcasting and writing. 

In my mind, the next article, the next interview should always be better than the last, or that’s what I’ve been striving to do since entering the game.  

Is that the game changer? 

Is that the answer? 

I don’t know, but clearly that’s not the case. 

I have the desire to be better every time out, but as a writer that comes with a tremendous amount of pressure. 

Every story is unique. 

Every article is special. 

It’s flattering to see the page views climb and my article get a lot of attention, but I’ve learned to look past that, it’s about the story, it’s all about the subjects journey. 

It’s not about me. 

It’s not about past articles. 

It’s about the next story, the next moment in time. 

Every story is unique. 

As a writer, I feel your history is your guide, your compass, but you can’t stay in the past, as Eno, said it can quickly become your enemy.

Personally, I’ve tried to find a formula that works, a certain style, but it requires a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. 

If you can write, you can write. 

I’m trying to learn from my past, trying to evolve, trying to stay current and cutting edge, but at the heart of all of my writing is the story. 

That’s what drives my passion. 

 Capturing the story, capturing a moment in time and capturing local sport stories and human-interest stories that people may not be familiar with. 

That’s what I want to share. 

That’s what I want to showcase. 

U2 was at a crossroads, they had to trust each other, they had to trust the process, they had move on from their past. 

One can learn a lot from their journey. 

A journey to find their identity. A journey to find themselves as a collective. A journey to find new common ground.  

History is my guide; my search for common ground is the story. 

As writers we try to make it relatable, but it’s not about that it’s about the capturing the story. 

From U2’s Concert in Moncton 2011

I hope history or my writing past never becomes my enemy. Each story is unique; each article is a moment in time. 

So what happens when you can’t tell the story? 

What happens when there’s nothing there, just a blank screen? 

“The way through writers block is always by being truthful.” Bono 

I will never forget experiencing writer’s block for the first time. 

I was in full panic mode. 

In that moment, my first thought was I have to call my writing mentor. 

The wise former scribe calmly told me to, write from the heart and write something meaningful. 

U2’s hit song ONE came out of the bands division and disunity, that song was the pivot point. 

Every time I sit in front of my computer and start an article, that’s my pivot point; a new journey, a new story to explore. 

Watching the film and hearing Bono utter similar words, took me directly back to that critical conversation. 

At the time I thought my writers block potentially meant that I was losing my passion and love of writing. 

The thrill was gone, self doubt was escalating.  

Was the thrill of telling the story disappearing? 

Nothing was there, everything was gone. 

Sitting in front of my computer was the last thing I wanted to do at that point. 

I had been working on another freelance project, which I enjoyed, but found very taxing. 

It felt forced.

I couldn’t express myself. 

I couldn’t stick to my style, I had a specific word count, which at times is crippling and demoralizing. 

Some stories need to be more than 700 words, some songs need to longer than three minutes. 

The radio station won’t play it if it’s over three minutes long. 

 If it’s over 700 words, no one will read it. 

As a writer, I want to convey the subject’s entire journey. If that takes 5,000 words, so be it. 

Writing human-interest stories shouldn’t be a cookie cutter process.

You see Bono’s quote on writers block was very impactful to me, because I see the word “truthful” as being authentic. 

Every time I sit in front of the blank screen, I try to tell the new story in a unique way. 

That’s my passion, that’s what drives me, that’s what inspires me as a writer and broadcaster. 

Inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime. 

We just have to be willing to embrace it, follow the passion and new direction. 

From The Sky Down, to the Stanley Cup playoffs, to the QMJHL, to the local sports’ scene, there’s inspirational stories everywhere. 

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