Matt Nable on why writing is better than acting

If you’ve ever heard the term “someone who wears many hats” to describe a multi-skilled person, then you may need to be an expert milliner to fathom Matt Nable.

Notably he has played top level rugby league for Manly and earned his keep as an actor in a number of high profile productions including Riddick, Underbelly: Badness, Gallipoli and the latest season of the American hit series Arrow.

But his passion is writing. His latest book, Guilt, received rave reviews since its release in June this year. Valerie spoke with Matt as part of episode 59 of our So you want to be a writer podcast, and he had this specific take on improving your craft:

mattnable“I think the arts is very innate and intrinsic – you can either do it or you can’t. And, that’s not to lessen what it is. I just wholly believe that’s the way… there are people who construct wonderful sentences, they’ve got degrees in creative writing, but they can’t tell a story.

“If you can tell a story, you can tell a story. If you can act, you can act. If you can hear a music instrument and play a music instrument, that’s very innate. If you can draw and paint, that’s innate. So, there’s a big part of it right from the start that’s there.

“As far as writing is concerned, the best way to get better at writing is to keep writing. To write a novel, it’s about telling a story; it’s not where you overuse words and it sounds extraordinarily descriptive and wonderful. You’re influenced by the people that you read and you want to be seen a certain way, but inevitably to get better at writing. First of all I think you have to find your own voice – something that you’re comfortable with and that you’re not striving consciously to create. It’s just there.

“I don’t read as much as I should, I don’t think. But, that’s also a double-edged sword a little bit, because I think you can be influenced by writers at different stages. Although I’ve written three novels and I have my own voice and it’s quite unique, there are still similarities with other Australian writers – it’s always going to be that way.

“For me, to continue to write is the best way to get better.”

And on choosing between writing and acting (if money weren’t an issue):

“It would be a very easy decision. It would be writing, 100 per cent. When I get to write, it’s where I feel the best about myself as a person, because it gives me such a very, very strong feeling of identity. This is what I feel very comfortable with. I know that this is coming from within me and this is who I am.

“Acting… often you’re pretending to be other people all the time, so you can get lost in that world a little bit sometimes, and that’s not a place that I like to dwell that often… I never feel that as a writer.”

Want to find your OWN voice? Start with the 5-week course Creative Writing Stage 1. Find out more here.

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