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

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.

Original Works

Tattoo | Cut | Window

A new beginning gleamed—the break of dawn with its inspiring hues, stretching across the horizon. There it was—hope within my reach—the fresh start I had dreamt of. But despite my inmost desire for the first light of day, something was in my way. Something so fragile and breakable yet capable of inflicting pain. Something that framed the world beyond yet kept me imprisoned within these four walls. Something I treasured in my solitude—a kaleidoscope of my aspirations—yet unyielding in its design. And the only way I could seize the opportunities beyond was to break free—shatter the only window in the confinement of doubt, insecurity, and fear I called my mind.

I have tried to escape. I had armed myself with the wobbly oak chair that often stood beside my study table. With all my might, I had swung the old furniture against the window. And it broke. The glass fractured. The warmth of the sun streamed through the rough edges, kissing my skin in delight. The cool breeze from beyond swept into my room, embracing me like a long lost friend. And the sweet scent of Spring, in full bloom and all its glory, rushed to fill the dead space—an amiable hello from a beauty I’ve never known.

I wanted out. I had a taste of the world I was missing out on—the adventurous and meaningful life that could be mine if only I was brave enough. So, I gathered my courage. I reached through the aperture in the window, bearing sharp edges in attempts to discourage my curiosity. And just when I returned the handshake offered to me by endless possibilities, my inner demons awoke. My forearm brushed against the uneven contour of what was once whole. The sharp edges tore my skin with the fear of the unknown. And there was blood—a deep cut that scarred my soul. Could I ever be free without a scratch? Was there a way to leave this dreary room without affliction? I didn’t know which was worst—to be stuck in the gloom of yesterday or to bear agony for a tomorrow. Should I try again?

Hope was still within my grasp. It was a new day—the first blank page of a book I was given to write. Every word and every sentence was mine to decide. The moment I chose to break free, my story would begin—the tale I was meant to tell finally told. It would be an epic journey with a fulfilling resolution, encapsulated within the final pages I would call my epilogue. But first, this prologue had to end. I had to make a choice—choose to try again or choose to remain in an introduction that never becomes a story. And so, I chose to live.

I chose to escape the lonely tower that rose high above this prodigious land of past, present, and future. I chose to be like the ones below—liberated from the restraints of the swallowing darkness that once plagued their souls. I was ready to embrace the pain—to home the markings of the cage. For despite the ink that blackened their skins—the tattoos that depicted their history—they were living. Those outside of these walls were truly living.

There—the rickety chair I doubted could carry my weight—my saviour. The study table wouldn’t mind if it departed. They weren’t a pair—they didn’t belong. And neither did I in this state of mind. This time, I swung the chair with the intention to let go. And I did. The chair crashed through—the window shattered at a force fueled by an ache for freedom. It was a sound I would never forget—the announcement of my new beginning.

Snatching for the covers of my bed, I wrapped it around my right hand—I had to clear the merciless serrations. I was ready for scars but if I could lessen the pain, why wouldn’t I? When only the chippings of glass remained—adamant about leaving the frame—I tossed my protection aside and reached for my exit. And, as I expected, the first weight upon my palms broke flesh. The warmth of blood brought hesitation. But, I wasn’t submitting to it this time. This time, I pushed down further to climb over. This time, I was taking a leap of faith. Even if I fell, breaking bones and tearing flesh, I wasn’t returning to the tower. I was going to live—truly live the life I was always meant to live.

And there it was—the start of my story.


Tattoo, cut, and window were words given by Caroline Guisson on Facebook

Since it’s the new year, I decided to write a little piece of encouragement for all those who are still hesitating to take a leap of faith. I know it’s scary and it can be painful, but the world beyond your fear and doubt offers endless possibilities. So make the choice to start writing your story this year!

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story of your own with the three words given. Perhaps this is the start to your own adventure? Give it a try! You never know what can happen.

*To download the banner, left-click then right-click to save.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

Writing Journey

Imagination: A Key To Staying Motivated

Motivation is something we need to get by. We need it in all of our decisions – to get up in the morning, to keep pursuing our dreams, to hold a conversation, to even take a shower. Yet, it is one of the hardest things to come by. Unlike inspiration, motivation doesn’t fall from the sky. It doesn’t pop up at random hours of the night. And to an extent, motivation is intentional. So, where do you find motivation? How do you become motivated?

I often blog about the importance of having a ‘reason’ – believing it as a great motivation to keep our goals in sight. I often say that without ‘reason’, it’s hard to keep a dream alive. But I also know that many people don’t have a ‘reason’. And it’s not because they don’t want to have a ‘reason’, it’s because they cannot find a ‘reason’. No matter how hard they try, there’s no reason to leave the bed, to try something new, or to care about anything or anyone. There simply isn’t an answer to the ‘why’s’ in life. And it’s not their fault – it’s not your fault if you don’t have a reason. In fact, it’s okay to not know the reason for your existence. It’s okay to not know ‘why’ this and ‘why’ that. Heck, you’re struggling as it is – to live this seemingly empty life – finding a reason feels like an added burden. However, you shouldn’t stop looking for motivation. Because even without reason, you can stay motivated… with imagination.

Imagination is a powerful source of magic. I say it’s magic because it isn’t bounded by science. Science cannot dictate the extent of imagination, unless you allow it to. You can think up the craziest situations – involving winged cows and one-legged frogs – and nobody can refute because they’re your imaginations. Who is to say they’re wrong? This makes imagination magical – it makes imagination powerful. And though the odds of a wild imagination coming to past may be low, I believe it’s enough – when it comes to magic, a little goes a long way. But, a question still remains: how do you use imagination?

Imagine with me… when you leave the house today, you’ll meet your favourite celebrity who incidentally needs your help to fix a punctured tire. Imagine with me… when you share your short story, a publisher stumbles upon it and says, ‘hey, this person has talent. I should contact them.’ Imagine with me… when you buy yourself a meal, you’ll walk into a tall and handsome man who happens to be a prince from a faraway land. If you just imagine – as crazy as your imaginations may be – your day might be a little less dull. And as an added bonus, you’re now in a world of countless possibilities.

More often than not, imaginations are as impossible as fiction. But when imagination drives you toward something, it opens doors of possibilities. It creates opportunities you never knew existed – it can make things happen. So, if you’re in a spot where all else has failed – when nothing can motivate you – start harnessing the power of imagination. Use the gift you were born with to slay your dragons. Learn to wield its instrumental nature, and you’ll be the warrior you’ve always imagined you could be.

Original Works

It’s Broken

It's Broken

Josh sat staring at the snow globe. The one he loved so much as a child. It was now broken because he was not holding it tight enough and it slipped from his hand. Josh hated himself for breaking it because it held so much memories… memories that were slowly slipping away as the carpeted floor sucked up the liquid from the shattered globe.

As Josh continued staring, he began grasping on to all the memories it carried. This was the last time he would relive them, before they were all gone… before he was gone.

The latest memory he had was 15 years ago, when he was not old and sickly as he was then. His children had visited him during Christmas and they just wanted to have a good time. It was then that his youngest son told him he was contemplating on leaving medical school, and Josh did not like the idea. “What a waste of time and money,” he scolded. His boy was almost done and he could do something with his life if he was a doctor, why was he thinking of quitting? His son told him over and over again that he wanted to be a musician, but he just scoffed. He remembered retreating to his room that night, angry and unsatisfied. His snow globe was placed by the night stand on top of a book he barely read, titled ‘Out Live Your Life’.

The next memory that came to him was when his wife died. She was very supportive ever since the day he met her. She was always telling him to go for his dreams and that he was never too old for it. Even on her death bed, she told him she still believed in him and that he could still do something with his life. “Forget the little store in town and go volunteer where help is needed,” she said. But he remembered replying, “I’m not young anymore.” She didn’t like his answer, but she still smiled at him. Josh wished she was still around because she died too young. On the day she left, she requested to see the snow globe and Josh brought it to her. She held it to her chest and made a silent prayer. He couldn’t hear what she was saying, and the only thing he heard that day was the flat tone from the heartbeat monitor.

The memory that flowed in after was when he was at the peak of his career. Josh was working hard in a company that met all his needs. He was earning a lot and he spent thousands on his house, his car and his family. One afternoon, while he was walking down a busy street, he saw an ambulance rushing to the nearby hospital. Josh briefly thought of donating some money or paying a friendly visit. He was rather well to do and his childhood dream was a good motivation then. But when he finally wanted to act on it, he did not have the time. He remembered giving up that ‘spur of the moment’ desire as he planned his next meeting with a client. His snow globe was on his office desk that night, waiting to be shaken.

That memory soon led to when he graduated from high school. He was smart, but not smart enough. He applied to all the medical schools he could find, but unfortunately, everyone turned him down. He then reevaluated his future and wondered if he should just take the easy route, where one university’s scholarship was already waiting for him, or continue trying to enter medical school. Josh was still determined to reach his dreams but when he graduated from business school, he decided to work for a while before pursuing medicine. That ‘a while’ never ended. When he finally remembered his dream, he wondered if it was even worth it. The snow globe was in his bedroom then, and every time Josh looked at it he wondered. He never acted, he just wondered.

The globe finally pulled him back to his earliest memory. It reminded him of the first time his dad took him on a little trip. His mother was diagnosed with cancer when he was 7, and his dad did not want to see him cry any longer. Josh remembered how scared he was, always staring at his mother’s breathing chest afraid it might stop moving. Sitting next to his mother as she laid eyes shut on the hospital bed was the worst memory he had, and his father put a stop to it by taking him to a fun fair. Josh didn’t want to go as he wanted to stay with his mother, but his father forced him.

Josh remembered hating his father for forcing him. But at the fun fair, he forgotten everything. It was only for a couple of hours that he was a cheerful and happy child, but it was all he needed. His father bought him a snow globe of a little house to remind him that they will always be a family. Josh remembered being so excited to show his mother the snow globe, but on the following day, his father quietly sat down with him and told him that his mother was gone. Josh cried so much he felt himself choking and barely able to breath. His father had to rush him to the hospital and it was there that Josh told himself he would one day make a difference in the world, so that no other child would have to suffer like he did.

Josh remembered that day the clearest. He was holding the snow globe in his hand when he said, “Daddy, I want to be a doctor.”

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This story was just me wanting to remind everyone that our dreams are important. No matter what stage you are in life, you should never give up on your dreams.

Each of our dreams have a reason and those reasons could change the world. So even if life tries to rob it from you, don’t let it. You might end up with regret for not chasing your dreams at the end of your lifetime.

Keep dreaming people! And as always, let me know what you think of this story in the comments below!

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)