Beau Taplin is the guy who gifts us with philosophical thoughts on love by way of his Instagram account on the regular. At 26, his sage words of wisdom would have anyone believe he’s lived a thousand lives over. Which begs the question -- what’s the story behind this young writer’s heartbreaking lessons?
In his first ever profile, Taplin spoke to The Huffington Post Australia about his journey into the written word, how you don’t need a million dollars to have a voice anymore and finally -- what ignites his desire to share his experiences so honestly with the rest of the world.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
It’s a funny thing. I’d always believed writing was something I developed a passion for quite late. I was a fairly ordinary English student and never kept a journal growing up. Writing wasn’t something I even considered for myself until a councillor suggested I try it the year following my graduation.
But I see now that a writer is really just somebody who captures a moment or feeling and translates it into words we can all understand. And that’s something I’ve always been passionate about. For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in people, their stories and perspectives, why they do and feel the things they do, and what all of us share in common.
So although I don’t remember ever making the conscious decision to become a writer, I do believe that ultimately life pushes you toward the things you’re passionate about, to the place you’re supposed to be. And now that I’m here, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Your work speaks to anyone who’s ever had their heart broken. Was there a defining moment in your life when you realised you wanted to share your own experiences of love?
One of the few things I’ve come to understand about myself is that I’m attracted to difficult things. And my early twenties in particular were riddled with an awful lot of hard lessons.
I suppose, over time, writing became my way of coping with that. And the desire to share my experiences stemmed from this idea that all those difficult lessons had provided me with an interesting perspective that I could channel to help others.
Your insights into relationships are so wise -- what brings you the most joy as a writer?
Oh, it’s definitely the opportunity to connect. To give people something to think about and help them make sense of whatever feeling or predicament they are currently facing. I don’t need admiration or critical acclaim to be content with what I’m doing, if I can be even just a small positive part of someone’s day, that’s enough for me.
What brings you the least?
As you might imagine my career and personal life are very closely intertwined and occasionally distinguishing between the two gets tricky.
It’s not so much that I can’t switch off, but more that I can’t exactly put my feet up at home when I want to relax because, I mean, that’s where I work. I can’t sit down with my mates and talk about what I’m going through because that’s what I’ve been doing all week, you know?
So unwinding to me means getting out of my head, really losing myself in interesting people and moments. Most of the time that’s a good thing. But this constant need for distraction can be challenging and honestly a little exhausting at times.
You have 259K Instagram followers (and counting). In your opinion, when did things start gaining traction?
You know, almost right away. Although I had already been posting my work on various other platforms such as Tumblr and Facebook for a while, Instagram was incredibly responsive from the moment I posted my first piece.
As for what has made Instagram such a surprising and effective tool for myself and other writers, I believe it’s because Instagram is all about experiences and moments. It’s about showing the rest of the world who you are. And nothing captures that like language can.
I count my blessings everyday that I was fortunate enough to be born in an age where you don’t need a record deal to be a rockstar or a large bank account to start a business. We’re all *safe* made. You don’t need a million dollar marketing strategy to have a voice anymore. If you’re passionate and determined, people will respond. And I’m really grateful to be a part of that.
Regardless of popularity, what are you most trying to achieve with your work?
In a world where so much divides us, our cultures, our interests, our faiths and values, I like to think of writing as a method of breaking some of those barriers back down, as something that can show us how alike we all really are.
It doesn’t matter where you’re from, who you are, or what you believe in we really do all share the same heartbreaks, fears, and feelings of doubt and wonder. Unity, you know. I think we need it now more than ever.
If my writing is to achieve anything at all, I think I’d be content with just reminding a few people of that.
What are some of the things that influence your writing? Do you have a muse?
Yes. Much of what I have written over the past few years has been inspired heavily by something I let get away. I was young and naive, and held the foolish belief that everything around me would just work out. But it’s clear to me now that the things we do have consequences, that a single decision really can change the course of a life.
But I’m not complaining. If I never made that decision all those years ago then I don’t think I would be here today, pursuing my passion and waking up each morning with a sense of identity and purpose. I’m beginning to feel myself let go of the past and move on with my life.
It’s an easy enough thing to look back and wonder, what if? But I’ve decided that, at the end of the day, you’ve really just got to get on with it. You’ve got to pull yourself together, face your eyes forward, and ask yourself, what now?
Do you read the comments?
Oh, listen, it’s the strangest thing, sometimes I’ll be reading through the comments and I’ll come across a couple having an enormous argument. Usually when one partner doesn’t feel as though they’re getting as much romance from the relationship as they’d like. Seriously, I’m talking paragraphs and curse words and day long exchanges. It’s savage. It’s like, what do I do? Do they know I’m here? I can’t just duck out. I have nowhere to go. The notifications just keep going on and on and on and soon I realise that somehow I’ve become the third wheel in this crazy brutal online break up. It’s absolutely mad, haha. That’s a mostly rare occurrence though.
Fact is, the comments of the people who appreciate my work are incredibly encouraging and I read them whenever I want to smile. The community is very accepting and supportive of creativity and it’s a fantastic space to grow and share.
Talk us through your writing process -- what does a typical day look like for Beau Taplin?
Most mornings begin with a huge cup of black coffee and a few solid hours of writing. In the beginning I did most of my writing at night, but I quickly realised the incredible toll a nocturnal life can have on your health, so I made the decision a few years ago to keep semi-regular hours and it was the best thing that I ever did.
As for my process, I always start with a single idea. It could be an emotion I’ve experienced, a conversion I’ve taken part in or overheard, a moment from my past or even one I’ve imagined entirely. It doesn’t matter, whatever it is, I always start with the bones.
The next step is all about capturing that idea in the simplest, most honest way I can. I think writing is a simple thing to overcomplicate, you’re always going to feel the urge to use big, beautiful unusual words, but if you’re needlessly pretentious you’re going to turn people off. You’re not going to put a guitar solo in a symphony, you’ve got to let the words fall where they want to fall.
Beau Taplin's latest book, Buried Light is out now.