Writing Journey

What Happens When The New Year Is Hopeless?

It seems that 2021 isn’t the new year we were all looking forward to. And though that statement might sound discouraging, the question we have never asked is why—why must every year be a fresh start? Why are we so quick to disregard the year before when perhaps… a new year isn’t meant to be new, but a continuation of our story?

After an arduous and uncertain 2020, many of us hoped for a better 2021. We wished for a semblance of the life we once had, where the cares and struggles we used to face now somehow seem trivial. We yearn for some form of normalcy without the face masks and the lockdowns—a time when we had some control over our lives. Alas, life has reached a level of unpredictability that attempting to plan, hope, or even survive is a daily challenge. So what do we do when 2021 isn’t a new year?

Many would like to pretend 2020 and 2021 didn’t exist—that we have skipped two years in this lifetime. Unfortunately, these two years are as real as they can be. And maybe… just maybe… these are the years where we learn to appreciate life. Instead of constantly chasing a new beginning every year, in hopes of forgetting what we deem as horrors of the past, we now embrace the continuity of life. Because life… doesn’t restart at every January 1st.

Life is continuous. And a new year is a façade. We believe in better things to come every new year, forgetting that better things do come at different stages of our lives. We shun the obstacles and the troubles of the past, forgetting that those challenges made us who we are. So perhaps, a new year isn’t the answer to hope. The answer to hope is in life itself, where the memories of the years before remind us of our storms and rainbows—both the bad times… and the good times, too. Simply put, it is our experiences in life that give us hope.

So yes, 2020 was bad and we may not know where 2021 will lead us. But if there’s any consolation, the uncertainty includes a brighter and better possibility in the entirety of our continuous journey. After all, if we take some time to look back, we will realise… we’ve experienced it before.

Writing Journey

Finding Inspiration When There’s None

Once upon a time, I posted a story on this blog every Thursday without fail. The only times I skipped a week or two were perhaps once or twice a year when I’d go on vacation—almost as if I took an ‘annual leave’ from blogging. Alas, inspiration is getting pretty hard to come by. What was once a story a week became a story every fortnight, which eventually led to a story twice a month regardless of the weeks. Heck, I didn’t even post two stories last month!

So, what does this mean? The truth is… I’m struggling to find both inspiration and motivation. And yes, this is coming from someone who, I dare say, used to have plenty of those. Looking back at how I was able to write a story every single week amazes me. Now, where did this person go? She seems to have vanished.

Honestly, I’m unsure if this has anything to do with growing older and tired, the current pandemic, or the lack of overall creativity. I’d hate to think I lost my spark as a writer because I still love storytelling—with plenty of stories left to tell! Hence, I often wonder… where on earth can I find enough inspiration and motivation when there seems to be none?

Unfortunately, if you’re asking the same question, I don’t have an answer for you. I’m still searching—sometimes forcing myself to create just for the sake of creating, even when I know it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi without inspiration. Often, I merely write in fear that my skill would stagnate… or worse, deteriorate. And when I do hit publish on those stories, I am well aware that the process was far from enjoyable. I guess, there’s no sugarcoating it—writing is now harder than it used to be. But, if there’s any consolation, I know that I’m not alone.

If you’re in the same boat, you’re not alone, too. And I believe there’s nothing wrong with struggling to find the joy and spark in our art. After all, isn’t that part of the journey? If our adventure is free of wild winds and dry deserts, can we even call it an adventure? Every good story has its highs and lows, its victories and its losses, its celebrations and its tears—it wouldn’t be a story worth telling if there were no obstacles to overcome!

So Jeyna, and my dear reader, fret not. You’ll find the inspiration and motivation again. It may take awhile and you might have to search a little harder. Perhaps, you may even grow weary from the quest. But if there’s one thing you know for sure, it’s that your story… isn’t over yet.

Writing Journey

Magic Rain, The King Is Dead, & I Turned 30 Yesterday

Oh yea, I finally turned 30. But… that’s not the reason for this post. The reason for this post is, once again, Whispers of the Wind.

The last time I rallied support for Whispers of the Wind, it was in the running for publication on Swoon Reads. This time… it’s in the running for publication on Inkshares!

Now, I could’ve written a whole appeal post again, but I’m sure you’ve read enough of it. This round, however, I’m asking for one simple action… and one simple action ONLY:

Click This Link > inkshares.com/books/whispers-of-the-wind
This link goes to the book page and any form of traffic helps with its ranking! Or, so I’ve been told.

If you’ve clicked the link and feel like doing a bit more, for this now 30-year-old author, here are 5 other things you can do to help:

1. Follow the book!
Following will add numbers to the book, which reflects public interest to the publisher. If you’re not 100% interested, just follow anyway! I won’t spam, I promise.

2. Share the book!
Maybe your second cousin from the other side of the world would enjoy it…?

3. Read the book!
Magical raindrop portals and the search for a dead king—if this intrigues you, why not give the first chapter or two a read?

4. Review or Comment on the book!
The algorithm says, the more engagement the higher percentage of being published.

5. Pre-order the book?
Nah, it’s 2020. I just made that option available for the book page to look complete instead of a draft layout.

That is all, my dear reader. In this book writing slum, I do hope that joining the contest on Inkshares will help me get my groove back. After all, I have 3 more books to write in this book series. So thank you for your support! A little… goes a long way.

Writing Journey

Have You Lost Your Creativity?

Oh, what a scary notion for us creatives who need our wild imaginations and out-of-this-world ideas to create. Yet, sometimes, we feel like we are losing it. We seem to be missing our creative spark. ‘Where did it go?’ we ask. The once blinding light-bulb isn’t lighting up our heads with grand epiphanies. And all that remains is a dull sponge squeezed dry by our reality.

Alas, feeling uncreative isn’t foreign to us. And in certain seasons of life, our creativity dips and dives like an unexpected roller-coaster ride. From moments of great ingenuity to days of zero artistry—what is happening? Why are we failing to concoct anything worthy? Are we growing too old to be creative? Have we, perhaps, lost it?

Let’s be honest, we would like to think that creativity is an eternal engine fueled by passion and determination—if we have enough drive, the sweet juices of our childlike creativity would keep flowing, churning never-ending art that we can be proud of. After all, creativity is second nature. It is instinct. And, we’re right! The good news is… our creativity is indeed eternal. Unfortunately, it is not an engine.

In moments when we feel uncreative—when fresh perspectives and novel concepts fail to surface—perhaps, it has nothing to do with our imagination. Perhaps, it is the result of the ups and downs of life. Or perhaps, our creativity is now being expressed differently—presented in a different mould, through different means. So if you wonder, ‘Have I lost it?’ Fret not.

We will never lose our creativity. It is impossible to lose this hardwired part of our identity. You may not be able to harness it now, but it doesn’t mean you’ve lost it. Your creativity is still there! After all, there is no such thing as an uncreative… creative.

Writing Journey

Who Are You… If You Don’t Create?

I tried hard to write a short story last week to be published on this blog—pulling up my work file about 3 to 4 times in hopes of completing it. Alas, I just couldn’t get past the 200 words. And it wasn’t because I was lazy. After staring at the page for minutes on end, I knew that it was simply because my mind drew blank.

So, I did what I rarely would do and missed a week of posting. Despite wanting to create, with attempts at forcing an idea into fruition, I was unable to craft. And I wondered…

‘Was it okay to skip a week of posting? Was it okay to… not create? As a creator, who are you if you’re not creating?’

Now, I know that these days, most of my readers are not following my blog for the stories. Yes, despite being an author, somehow… you guys are now into this kind of content—content that is less fictional and more personal. So perhaps, you didn’t even notice the lack of a story post last week. Perhaps… it is only I who insists on being disciplined at writing week in week out. Still, who am I… if I don’t actually write?

I am STILL… an author.

And if you’re asking yourself the same question—who are you if you take a break or can’t seem able to create—this post is for you.

You are STILL a creator.

Yes, discipline is good. Yes, being consistent helps you to hone your craft. I advocate creating and creating often! But there’s nothing wrong with taking a break. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that sometimes… you just can’t create because of reasons you might not have. And it doesn’t mean that you are lazy or that you’re giving up—you know when you’re trying! It simply means that you are human with creative struggles all humans face. And being unable to craft something new doesn’t mean you are any less of who you are.

At the end of the day, doing what you love shouldn’t be a burden. Doing what you love should be an expression of your very being—of who you are from the inside out. And if you can’t create today, fret not. You will create tomorrow… because creating is what you were born to do—it is what you do best, and it is a part of who you are.

Writing Journey

Why You Should STOP Aspiring

Someone once told me, and I paraphrase, “You are not an aspiring writer. You write, so you are.”

Now, I forgot who this person was—it was many years ago, when I first started this blog and called myself an aspiring writer. But ever since I read that comment, I stopped using the word all together. Why? Because I realised that truly owning your ambition isn’t to aspire but to do. And when you do, you become—when you become, you no longer have to aspire. You are what you say you are.

Of course, that’s not to say that the word ‘aspire’ or your aspirations are bad. This word holds a positive connotation. But there will come a time when you will have to stop aspiring—a time when you have to disown the word and take control over what you want to do. After all, you can only aspire so much before you actually have to take action. But if that time never comes… then the word carries no meaning—to a certain extent, it becomes a roadblock because you grow comfortable simply… aspiring.

So, if you’re aspiring to do something or be someone, it’s time to stop. Stop aspiring to be a comic book artist, stop aspiring to be a baker, stop aspiring and start doing. Ditch the word the first chance you get because… you don’t need it! You are what you say you are and it’s high time you own up to it.

Writing Journey

You’re More Resilient Than You Think

You probably entered 2020 with hope of a better year—that perhaps, this year would be kinder than the last, that you would finally achieve what you’ve set out to achieve, or that you would get the break you long deserved. Alas, it seems that 2020 isn’t going too well for you. In fact, it seems to be the worst year for almost everyone with all that is transpiring.

So if you feel like you’re on the verge of giving up or breaking down… you’re not alone—that’s a pretty normal human response. After all, you’re not made of steel. You’re taking on new challenges head on—learning to adapt and react as quickly as possible for your survival. And being that none of us are immune to fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, tackling these unforeseen circumstances is no easy task. But in the midst of it all, know this: you are far more resilient than you think.

Whatever obstacles you’re facing, whatever emotions you’re feeling, and whatever life throws your way in this season, you’ll survive it. Things may not get easier, you may not achieve all your goals, and you might find yourself stumbling along the way, but you’ll make it to the finish line nonetheless. And when you’re forced to make changes in your life, it’s a show of how capable you are at maneuvering around those roadblocks—all of which will prove that you are a fighter.

So if no one has told you yet, let me be the first to tell you: you are more determined and tenacious than you could ever imagine—abilities that are hardwired into your being, only to be unleashed in difficult times. You may not believe it now. You may even be at wits end, unsure if you can bear the crushing weight of reality. But when it is all said and done, you’ll find yourself stronger and braver than before.

Don’t lose hope, my fellow warrior. You’ll get through all of this… because that is simply who you are.

Writing Journey

How To Focus On The Journey

What does it actually mean to ‘focus on the journey’?

We have heard it countless times—a passing statement turned cliché. A phrase that leaves us wondering with no one telling us how—how exactly do we focus on the process? What does it actually mean? And… is it even possible?

Well, I think I’ve found the answer—the how and what that makes this statement more than just a string of words. And, it’s pretty simple! When we choose to focus on the journey, we’re not taking our eyes off the prize. Instead, we’re shifting our focus from being end-driven to living in the moment. It is us, keeping the goal in mind, without allowing it to dictate every decision we make—decisions set on solely achieving our dreams as fast as we could. For if all of our actions and plans are made in the hopes of reaching our goals today, what then are we doing for ourselves?

I know—as dreamers, we love projecting our future. And, there’s nothing wrong with that—a dreamer has to dream big. But often times, while forecasting the ideal life, the decisions we make are steered toward turning our dreams into a reality ASAP. And much like our fitness goals, believing that dreams can be achieved overnight not only causes disappointments but could lead us down the wrong path—a perceived fast track where our actions may not necessarily be what we should be doing, nor would they help us grow and improve in our craft. In fact, that mindset could affect our mental and physical state—a plethora of negative thoughts and emotions that could result in us giving up.

So, how then do we focus on the journey? Just like achieving a fit and healthy physique, achieving our dreams will take time. And no, we’re not putting our dreams aside, we’re simply not sold on achieving it now. To truly enjoy the process is to accept that ‘our time will come’ while focusing on what matters most—becoming better at what we do. And once we’re free from the pressure of achieving our dreams at breakneck speed, we can work on expanding our skills and honing our crafts. With that focus in place, who knows what we could achieve—for some, the end you’ve been dreaming of might come to pass… all on its own.

Writing Journey

[NEW] Music Meets Story

There are times where I rely on music to complete a story, to set the mood, and to inspire creativity. And seeing how music has the power to shape a tale, I’ve decided to embark on a writing challenge inspired by original compositions.

Collaborating with ten composers from all around the world—amazing and talented artists from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Denmark, Azerbaijan, and the United States—I’m ready to push the boundaries of my imagination as I attempt to write stories thematically in sync with their creations. Sounds interesting?

Truthfully, this idea is both exciting and daunting. And it’s something I’ve been contemplating since the middle of last year, though not entirely ‘new’. I have done a similar piece in the past—a Harry Potter fanfiction accompanied with music. But… it wasn’t easy. Thus, I am at it again—the challenge being the main reason I’m on this ‘new’ adventure. So, will you join me on this quest?

The first story will be posted in February, and I do hope to see you there. Until then, don’t forget to stay awesome!

Writing Journey

My Thank You Note To You

As we enter a new decade, I just want to say a huge thank you for your support, your readership, and your encouragement. Thank you, so very, very much, for sticking around—embarking on my different endeavours in the past years.

Since 2011, I’ve transitioned from fanfiction to original fiction to crowd-funding novels and to videos. And honestly, I wouldn’t have done it all if I didn’t have you by my side. So whether you’ve just come on-board or have been around since the start, I hope you know that your presence means a whole lot to me. After all, everything I do would be in vain if not for you! For if I make no difference through my words, it would all be for nothing.

With that being said, I’m moving into this new decade with an exciting new plan for this blog, more videos on my Facebook page, and a book series I intend to keep writing. And though I do not know what the future holds, I do know that I’ll have you—or at least, some of you—who would still stick around until the very end. So thank you in advance for another decade—who knows where we’ll all be in 2030. Perhaps… in space!

Keeping this short and sweet, I’d like to wish you a Happy New Year! And may your next decade be filled with amazing adventures, wild escapades, and a great story worth telling for generations to come. Stay awesome and keep dreaming, my friend!

With lots of love, Jeyna ❤️