Sometimes at the Endpaper Blog we get the unique opportunity to offer a platform to creative journallers from around the world. Today, we welcome Julian Herzel, a self-declared “Poet of the Soul” and urban planner, to share some tips on what to write and how to write. Julian has been using Paperblanks journals for a long time and in 2021 we featured his Paperblanks collection in our Peek Inside column.
With the accuracy of an eagle or “Courage, Dear Heart”
In the end you could write billions of words yet not know exactly what the essence of writing is. For me writing is as sleeping, eating, breathing, cycling or travelling. Writing is my equivalent of living. It is my life. It is my ease and peace, my harmony and flow. My source of energy and my nutrition. It is the beginning and the end. The single grain of sand.
So, I invite you to step into this new form of experience out of my journey and encourage you to hold the pen…
“What do I write?”
- Wishes, dreams, ideas, hopes. It all starts with a bright image of something far greater than your current situation. The highest mountain on earth will be mainly the same within the limited lifetimes of our small and irrelevant selves. But our mind as the source of creation is infinite and therefore able to perform everything.
- Get inspired. Go exploring, do walks, travel to new places, get lost in nature, use trains, jump on your bicycle and follow the signs that aren’t too obvious, collect special books and always mark favorite sentences, words, names or places. Do lists of lists of lists.
- At some point a butterfly will sit down on your left shoulder and it will stay there. You look this small sensitive being in the eyes and you realize who you are and you tell your story.
- Change your perspective. The Charles de Gaulle airport, a film set near the Carrera 7 in Bogotá, Barcelona from the top of the Tibidabo, prayers in a Coptic church in Luxor, a Jewish cemetery in your neighborhood, the Gutenberg museum alongside the Rhine, 70 km/h per bike downhill from the Cerro de Guadalupe, a piano concert in a hostel in Grenoble, hiking the Seven Sisters with your favorite playlist on or an eye-exchange with a soulmate in a coffee place in Besançon. The ingredients await all along your pathway that will in some form or another find entrance into a new poem or some not so obvious bestseller.
- Learn to describe things. Sit quietly on the most beautiful place in nature and simply be present. Then write down the sounds of the leaves in the wind, the singing of a bird or the passing of the clouds. Connect with the water and let yourself be guided by the universe within the process of writing.
- Creativity is a joyful adventure. I have boxes full of photos. Sacred mountains, holy places, old masters, fancy means of transport, traditional costumes – randomly choose five of them, put them on your desk and write a story. You can also use the small pockets at the end of the notebooks to always keep your greatest memories. If they haven’t happened so far, they are meant to immediately happen around the next corner.
“How do I write?”
- Do not be afraid of the white pages in front of you. Instead, have the courage and confidence that with each single letter there is wrapped an amount of worth that can’t be found anywhere within the universe. Maybe hidden within your ink are the stories of your ancestors, the silent voices of the dead and the unspoken needs of nowadays society. One single letter can have the beauty of the sunset on Hiva Oa, the elegance of a sooth appearance or the mystery of a pine place wrapped within strings of fog accompanied by the whispering of the top of a fountain pen. You hold the pen, you always hold the pen, you can rewrite your own story as well as the story of civilization if you only dare to believe in it and establish the skills as well as the dedication that are necessary to shine brighter.
- Ask yourself the core question bringing you to your deepest self: “Why do you write?” 38 notebooks and 6,000 pages in my back and some seas of tears later the answer for me appears in some weird Bukowskihemingwaydesaintphalledesaintexupérymurakamilem-style.
- Take one out of five fountain pens, put it into various ink, choose some size of notebook and decide. Lines or blank pages. Open it and start. Number the pages. Start with 1. Or with 0. You can decide. But first be aware that you ignore all the rules or fixed conditions and enter this infinite playground of boundless fiction with the curious eyes of a child. (Do not hesitate to forget time and space.)
- Know that the dots will connect even if you don’t know where you are going. Small me 2021 in South America found the Remington Rand in the national museum of Colombia, stumbled upon this “the boy with the comet’s tail” mural, drank thousands of coffees, sat 20 hours in a bus to Cusco, bought a magic shoulder bag, went on top of the Waynapicchu and meditated at the edge of the Rio Urubamba. I expected that something superstitious would happen. It didn’t happen. At least nothing too obvious. Yet I filled three notebooks with memories and blessings and I was the happiest man on earth. At least for the glance of an instance.
- Put it out into the world. Give it to your friends and family members, publish travel journals, put copies of your not-published books in public bookshelves or hostels.
- Keep it short and simple. And speak in real life! No matter how much you write – sometimes saying “I love you” to all of the people upon your path is enough.
“Why do I write and how can I be successful with it?”
- Within each human soul an endless amount of potential is hidden. I want to encourage other people to follow their ideals and beliefs. Writing theoretically can reach all of humanity.
- The possibility to rewrite the stars. It gives me the confidence that each new day I am responsible for my life and that I am creating my reality, attracting whatever is resonating with my soul.
- Beyond matter. The most important thing and drive though can’t be explained as it is something far greater than a sentence, than a book, than a library. It is an evolution of the human soul – a perpetual driver for transformation, change and rearrangement.
- Maybe everything would be different. There is always hate and trouble upon blue planet home. Yet we all live together and every single one of us should have the best ground to establish a fertile future. If I were to put out my thoughts, observations and flickering secrets, would everything be different?
- Love it, have faith and courage. Stick to it especially in the hardest times. The hardest and discouraging times are most significant for the long-term development of oneself and the shaping of the character to the core. Whoever is able to sit in the midst of despair and poverty with the sparkling eyes of astonishment, gazing to the stars and nourishing the raging fire of passion and fulfillment out of imagination and experience, will sooner or later imprint the world with their unique signature as a timeless stamp of eternity.
Thank you Julian for sharing your creative process with us and for your helpful tips!