Don’t compare – Lucy Knott

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By Lucy Knott

I’ll always remember that quote from the Gilmore Girls when Paris Geller was talking to Rory Gilmore and she mentioned Jack Kerouac. It was a simple quote; “I have one word for Kerouac; edit.”♥

I’ll always remember it because one: I love the Gilmore Girls and two: I love Jack Kerouac. I remember smiling at the mere mention of his name but then also being slightly offended that she felt the need for Kerouac to edit. (I know it’s a TV show but stay with me.) I thought, how dare she criticize one of the Beat Generation’s most-loved writers, how dare she think his work needs revising.

When sitting down to think about what I wanted to write about for this article that quote and that feeling popped into my head and it made me smile. I knew right away what I wanted to write about; that being:

No two people ever read the same book and no two writers ever write the same book.

While Paris Geller may not have loved the works of Jack Kerouac, I did. I adored and admired that he could just write; that he poured his thoughts on to the page without care or concern for what others would think of it. It was his story, his ramblings and they needed to be told. I liked his ‘stream of consciousness’ style of writing; that write without pause or worry as to what is hitting the page and whether it makes sense. The way he writes, you feel like every word has purpose, it was meant to be on the page simply because he thought it and he put it there, there was no right or wrong.

To me On the Road is a masterpiece. Since I read it at sixteen years old I have been fascinated with Kerouac and I have very much wanted to visit The Beat Museum to see the famous On the Road scroll in all its glory for the longest time. To me it represents that love of writing and what many writers will tell you is the number one important thing when you want to be a writer: “write, write, write.” Simply holding a copy of any of my Jack Kerouac novels makes me want to write. I can feel the desperation he had to write within the pages of his books and it inspires me.

A few chapters in to writing my first novel I felt sad and disheartened. I couldn’t write like Kerouac, my writing didn’t sound like his, I wasn’t smart or clever like him, I couldn’t use big words like him. I stumbled, and my stream of consciousness would get blocked and stuck. It took me a little time to realize that while I admired Jack Kerouac’s work, I was not in fact Jack Kerouac (I know) and no matter how much I might have wished I was penning a piece of American literature as fascinating as the likes of the ‘Dharma Bums’, I had to accept, and love, the words that I was creating on the page in front of me, for I am me.

No writer, even when given the same topic, will ever produce the same story. Our emotions, our points of view, how we react to situations, deal with events and see things in our minds are all different. The confidence in which Jack Kerouac had to stand tall and give the world ‘On the Road’ is the kind of confidence you should have when writing your story. It matters. You matter. Your words matter.

Pour your heart and soul into your book and love it, love it with all your heart. Laugh while you are writing it, cry while you are writing it, clench your fists while you are writing it and feel the words on the page, don’t stop to compare yourself to others or to worry about it not being like your favourite authors. Be inspired by others, learn from others, listen to advice, but when you sit down to write, knock down any walls of doubt, pretense, fear and comparison and write like only you can write and know that your thoughts, your ideas and what you have to say in your very own unique way, it all matters and it is good enough.

As for ‘no two readers ever read the same book’, as I mentioned above Paris Geller and I have two differing opinions on Kerouac, the world over, that will apply to every book ever written. How many times have you heard someone disregard a book only to pick it up yourself and fall in love with it? I know I have read books that when I come across a review of it I simply don’t understand what the reviewer was talking about.

Being that How to Bake a New Beginning is my first novel, I’m not going to lie, I’m a little nervous to see what readers think. This book is 80000-plus words that came from the inside of my head. Now, there’s a lot that goes on in my head daily, so the fact that a part of that is all there in book form for people to read is quite terrifying. But, you know what? I love it and I am incredibly proud of it. I truly hope people enjoy it and that it makes them smile. I hope that it connects with those that it was meant to connect to, like On the Road did for me.

So, if you’re a writer, go forth and write; be a little Kerouac and be a whole lot you. Your story will find its way to those who it was meant to find.

Lucy Knott is a former professional wrestler with a passion for storytelling. She is a self-professed hopeless romantic. Be it romantic movies, books, moments, fairytales, she’s all about the love. Inspired by her Italian grandparents, when she is not writing you will most likely find her cooking, baking and devouring Italian food, in addition to learning Italian and daydreaming of trips to Italy. Along with her twin sister, Kelly, Lucy runs, where she enthusiastically shares her love for books, baking and Italy. How to Bake a New Beginning is out now.


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