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

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 Find Your Passion

There are countless voices across the internet, sharing tips and tricks on how you can discover your purpose in life. It is, after all, one of the most common questions—one we ask ourselves at least once in a lifetime. And so I thought, perhaps I could share my take on this too—perhaps there is something in my past that aided in my own process of uncovering my passion for storytelling. But as I scoured high and low, I realised that there was nothing. I didn’t undergo a process. There wasn’t a lightbulb moment. And that was when I knew… I didn’t find my passion.

If you haven’t found your passion, this is for you.

It’s great that you’re trying, testing, and exploring—embarking on new experiences in search for that uncontrollable love for the very thing that will define you. But as you set out on this quest, remember this: you don’t find your passion, your passion finds you.

There’s nothing wrong in the hunt but knowing that passion isn’t forced will put you in the right mindset. Just like how you can’t ‘make’ yourself fall in love with someone—no matter how hard you try, no matter how great that person is, no matter what others say—the same rule applies with your passion in life. And strangely enough, you’ll find that the one you connect with the most is sometimes the one you least expected.

The fact is, I didn’t choose storytelling—I neither tricked nor trained my brain into crafting tales and adventures. My passion for storytelling came from within—it was an innate desire to imagine, to create, and to push the limits of my reality, without any effort on my end. I didn’t look for it. I didn’t strive to make it mine. My passion found me… all on its own.

So if you haven’t found your passion, fret not. We uncover our own passion and purpose at varying stages. Even at crossroads—in moments of uncertainty and wonder—our passion is within us. And don’t be surprised when it changes. Because passion and purpose can change to meet the different seasons of life. Simply believing that you’re not left out—that YOU have it too—will remove the very burden that is perhaps stopping your passion from finding you.

Writing Journey

How Many ‘Passions’ Is Too Many?


One passion is all you need.
Once you’ve discovered what you are truly passionate about—the sole thing that will make your life meaningful—focus all your energy into growing that single passion alone. After all, passion is hard to come by. And because it is a rare commodity—critically endangered like the Amur Leopard—you must give it all your time, attention, and resources. But, if you have two passions…

Then two passions is all you need. Having more than one passion means equally dividing your time between them. You will need to focus your energy into growing both of them at the same pace. If you love to run and love to sing, be sure to clock in enough hours each week for both of them. It’s important that you don’t neglect one for the other. But, if you have three passions…

Then three passions is all you need. You can now balance your time between the three things that make you happy. If you’re burning out from one of your passions, you should switch to another. But because they are all your passions, you must be committed to all of them. They are your passions after all, and your passions are lifelong. But, if you have a collection of passions…

Then this post will keep going with silly and non-applicable rules.

Guys, there’s no number of passions you’re allowed to have. There is no limit—there are no rules. I, myself, have more than one activity that I’m passionate about. And guess what? I’ve taken on new passions and dropped passions over the course of my life too. So if you have a single passion, that’s fine—you don’t need three. But if you have three passions, that’s fine too—you don’t need to sacrifice any of them. You are allowed to be passionate in different ways and areas. You are not obligated to grow each passion at the same pace. And you most certainly can let go of the things that no longer bring meaning and excitement to your life.

Personally, having a few passions give me the opportunity to take a break from one or the other. Collectively, these passions make my life more meaningful—writing gives me purpose, exercising gives me focus, and travelling gives me rest. However, this does not mean I’m free from doubts or the thoughts of giving up. But the very essence of passion—the desire and love that stirs within—keeps me going despite the ups and downs. So whatever your passion is, and no matter how many you have, don’t box passion with guidelines. Nurture your passion but don’t redefine its nature.

Now, if you’ve yet to find something that you’re passionate about, don’t fret! Finding the thing and activity that brings you joy is a journey of trying, challenging, and exploring. Some of us take longer to find what we love while others are quick to uncover their desires. At the end of the day, you move at your own pace—just like passion itself. So give yourself the time to understand yourself better and soon, you’ll find the very thing that you can call your own.      

Videos

The #1 Cause Of A Creative Block

Guess what? It’s not a lack of inspiration or ideas.

A creative block occurs even when you have everything laid out. So no, it’s not because you’re NOT CREATIVE enough. It’s definitely not because YOU DON’T HAVE TALENT. There’s something else… and it always seems to get in the way.

Want more videos as such? Head over to my Facebook page now!

Writing Journey

[PRE-LAUNCH] A FREE Success Guidebook

Tap into your fullest ARTISTIC POTENTIAL with the RIGHT MINDSET AND GOALS that will strengthen your creative passion and propel you toward CREATIVE SUCCESS.

Are you not good enough?

As a creative, you are constantly in doubt. You find it hard to believe that you’re decent, let alone good. With everyone else succeeding, it must be you—you must be doing something wrong. Perhaps you need more practice. But… will practice alone help? Maybe you’re just not talented.

Do you believe you have talent?

Maybe you lack success because you’re not gifted. You weren’t born with the ability to write, draw, dance, or act. You’re not like that cousin of yours, who has an amazing voice. You’re just… you. Now, if only more people believed in you—if only you weren’t so alone—maybe you would be able to believe in yourself too.

Does no one think you can succeed?

Great, now you’re truly alone. Why don’t you just throw in the towel? Call it quits! Forget about trying at all. It’s difficult to keep your passion alive, so why are you striving… for nothing? It’s just a waste of time.

Guess what? You’re not alone. I was just like you. I didn’t know how to believe and persevere. I didn’t think I was ever going to be good enough. But then… I began to realise how my perspective can make a difference—how a shift in my mindset was all I needed to keep me going on this journey. And today, I want to share it all with you.

This e-book is a collection of posts from this very blog that has resonated with my readers the most. I have consolidated them for all creatives that need a little encouragement when the journey gets tough. Everything you find in this book was written based on my personal experiences—the lessons I’ve learned while chasing the author dream. Just like you, I doubt myself and I struggle to persevere. But these experiences have grounded my passion and I hope that they can help you with yours too.

Believe me when I say, you are good enough. You have a talent. If no one else thinks you can succeed, I think you can. You simply need to believe in yourself… and all it takes is a shift in your perspective to unleash your true potential.

The chapters in this e-book covers topics all creatives can relate to, such as, What To Do When No One Believes In You, How To Master Perseverance, and The Art Of Handling Rejection. I also wrote on sensitive subjects like criticism, failure, and plagiarism. Every subject was written with the aim to help you (and remind myself) to stay on the track: the track toward our dreams. So if you’re struggling in your own personal quest, this might be the book you need.

Being The Best In What You Do is 96 pages long and is completely FREE. It makes no sense for me to put a price on this e-book, as my goal is to help as many creatives as possible in their quest of living the dream. My only hope is that it truly, truly helps you.

So, are you ready to change your mind?

All you have to do is fill in your name and email below, and I will personally drop you an email with the e-book as a PDF attachment. You are also invited to join a private Facebook group, Chosen Generation, where we will exchange our creative skills and be encouragers of each others’ dreams!

It’s high time you shoved those doubts aside, fellow dreamer. Your passion is worth pursuing! And you should never ever let anything stop you from achieving success.

GOT YOUR E-BOOK?
JOIN MY CREATIVE COMMUNITY NOW!

Others

Join The ‘Chosen Generation’ Community!

I’m officially launching the Chosen Generation Facebook group in January 2019. But before it becomes official, I’m inviting YOU to be an early member! But wait…

What is Chosen Generation?

Chosen Generation is a community created for creatives from all walks of life to come together to share, support, encourage, and build each other’s art, craft, and skill!

It’s a place where…
POSITIVE and CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM is encouraged,
… you can EXPLORE other forms of ART,
… you’ll have a SUPPORT ECO-SYSTEM that genuinely wants to see you succeed,
… and, a place where I’ll personally SHARE RESOURCES (and connections) that can assist you in your creative journey!

It is a PRIVATE group. I’ll personally approve each member, as well as the posts in the group. Why? Because this group is NOT A SALES GROUP.

It is NOT a group you would want to join if you…
… only want to sell your art,
… don’t see the need of a creative community,
… want to fly solo in your dream chasing endeavours.

So if this sounds like a community you’d like to be a part of, put in your request now!

Additionally, I will be posting videos in the group based on my upcoming book, Being The Best In What You Do. The videos are meant to facilitate discussion—helping us to connect with one another and grow as a team!

Writing Journey

Is Genre Important?

I think we’ve all wondered, at some point during our creative journey, if genre is important. We question if fantasy sells better, if post-apocalyptic is hot this season, if memoirs win more awards, if our genre – the one we love and consider mastering – is worth pursuing. So, let me just clear this up today. This is a personal statement. I am in no way claiming my thoughts are based on a rule, and I’m speaking from my belief: personally, I don’t think genre is important. What brought me to this conclusion? Why – why I write.

Genre isn’t important, because I’m not trying to be the next bestseller. Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to be the next bestseller. Heck, if that’s your goal, go for it – I’ll cheer you on! But, personally, my goal isn’t to write the next hit novel. I have no plans to craft what the majority of people want to read. My goal is to write what is meaningful to me and what I think is important to share. And if I end up being a bestseller along the way, that’s a bonus! If not, it makes no difference in my authoring career. I’m still going to write what I want to write.

Genre isn’t important, because I’m also not trying to win any awards or competitions. Again, if that’s your goal, please don’t take any offense at my personal statement. I know what type of a writer I am – far from literary and a fan of simplicity. And through my past experiences, writing for awards and competitions, I’ve found myself pretending. Well, it feels like it – it feels like I’m ditching my voice and writing to suit the preference of another. And I know… that’s not me. That’s not how I write. Though there’s nothing wrong with challenging myself and writing outside of the box, I don’t enjoy doing so for the sake of winning. Personally, it doesn’t feel right. And, well, it’s just not fun – it kind of feels like work.

Genre isn’t important, because it doesn’t fit my writing goals. But of course, the same cannot be said for you. Perhaps your goal is different. Or, perhaps, you’ve yet to find your genre.

If you’ve yet to find your genre, I encourage you to try them all. Play around with bildungsroman, attempt a crime (story), and dive into satire. Don’t limit your ability to be creative just because science fiction is gaining traction, or because zombie novels are adapted into movies. Find your genre by exploring them. But more importantly, know why you write.

Steven Furtick once said that if you have a strong ‘why’, the ‘what’ doesn’t matter. What genre you’re writing doesn’t matter if your why is the force behind it. So, if you’re questioning your choice, I encourage you to uncover the reason behind your passion. If your reason is to win awards, then write to win awards. If your reason is to be the next J.K Rowling, then write to become a bestseller. If your reason is to inspire, then don’t let anyone tell you to write otherwise. And if your reason is purely for entertainment – because you love writing – then don’t be ashamed, just write!

In the big picture, genre pales in importance. Yes, it’s a facet of writing. But, it doesn’t make a masterpiece. It’s the pastel in the background – the base on your canvas. The real art are the strokes on top – the story that stands out and makes a statement. Your story holds greater value – it is your artwork and skill that sells by the millions, not your chosen base colour. So don’t focus on the genre. A good story can be written in any setting, but a bad story finds no success even under a popular label. It is what you say that matters most. And you can’t say anything substantial without a solid why.

Writing Journey

Why Do I Write?

I am a person of few words. Well, not in writing. But I’m a person who speaks few words. I think more than I should, and I keep most of my thoughts to myself. For me, it’s difficult to articulate my thoughts without giving them thought. Hence, often times, I just don’t say them. It isn’t something I do by choice. It is who I am. So, why do I write?

I write to share a part of me. It’s safe to say that those who read my words know me better than those I’ve spoken to – that is if you’re not within my minute, trust circle. I find it easier to express myself with literal ABCs – such is the case. And taping away at the keyboard is a peaceful, freeing, and comforting activity. Perhaps such a notion is incomprehensible for the verbal. But this is why I write: to be heard.

I am a person who lives for today. But, I’m also a person who lives for tomorrow. I worry not about my future, yet I live to leave a legacy. It’s ironic, yet it isn’t. I desire to be someone whose name lives beyond the grave. This is something I do by choice. It is fuel for my passion. So, why do I write?

I write to be an inspiration. I don’t know if my words written today, or tomorrow, would make a difference. But if I can inspire one life, I’m achieving what I’ve set out to achieve. If I can move someone to chase their dreams, I’m leaving a legacy. Perhaps not an astronomical legacy, where I’d go down in history, but this is why I write: to change lives.

I am a person with worlds in my head. These worlds home characters, with great desires for an epic journey. They want me to tell them. They need me to tell them. I cannot stifle my creativity, because it simply cannot be stifled. My mind is already crowded as it is, and clearing it is something I have to do. So, why do I write?

I write to take you on an adventure. My stories will not please everyone. They could possibly bore you. And perhaps, only a handful are worth reading. As an author, I don’t know which stories are good and which stories are bad – I cannot predict a story’s success. But when there’s a story to tell, I need to tell it. I will strife to tell it. This is why I write: to breathe life into fiction.

I am a person who is far from extraordinary. I live in a third-world country, grew up in a middle-class family, went to university for a degree, and now hold a day job like the average jane. To some, it seems like I have it all. But an impression is not reality. I’m not a prodigy. I’m not the chosen one. I’m not even sure if I have talent. And this is my actuality. So, why do I write?

I write to give hope. I am a nobody. And if I can accomplish a hint of success, so can you. If I’m allowed to dream and chase my dreams, so are you. If I am persevering, so must you. I don’t know where life would take me – just like you, I’m clueless – but I’m willing to keep honing my craft. If I can see the worth of my art, so should you. This is why I write: to insist that our dreams are important, and to prove that we can.

I am a person whose journey hasn’t ended. I have a long road ahead of me. Or perhaps, a short road – only God knows. But at where I am today, I know there is much to do and much to experience. Today isn’t the end for me. Today could just be the start. In the unknown, this much I know. So, why do I write?

I write to tell my story. As long as I’m still breathing, I hope – through my story – I’m heard, I’m inspiring, I bring forth tales of wonder, and I challenge you to keep your passion alive. I hope to share what I’ve learned, to give through my words, and to leave an account worth reading. This is why I write: to be a living testimony, and to reflect the one who called me.

So, who are you? Why do you write – why do you do what you do? We all have a reason for our passion. I’ve shared mine – what is yours?

Writing Journey

I’m Not Done Yet! Or am I?


Am I done with this novel? Is it good enough? When can I say I’m truly done?

As a writer, I always ask myself these questions. But the fact is, one can never say a novel is truly done. There’s no benchmark. There’s no checklist. There’s just me… and my novel. I’m the judge of when it’s complete. And yet, I cannot judge. I wonder if the extra rounds of editing would make my book worse. I oscillate between editing again or leaving it as it is. I don’t know what to do! Help! The uncertainty drives me crazy. But recently, I’ve come to a realisation.

Whenever I edit my novels, I mostly dislike what I read. I’m rarely happy with the text before me. I always think my story sucks – that I’m not a good writer – and I know I’m not alone. But in the midst of that, there’ll be a moment in time – a second of contentment – that hits me like an unforeseen kiss. It’s rare. It doesn’t happen as frequently as I hope it would. And it only transpires after I’ve grown tired with my work. This emotion comes after my self-loathing is replaced with fatigue.

Have you ever felt worn out from all the editing? Have you told yourself, “I’m done. I’m not touching this again. I’ve done all I can”? This brief moment of unexpected tranquility is how I know I’m done. Because… it only sweeps past me after my final round of editing. And by ‘final’, I mean I decided it would be the ‘final round’ before even starting work. How convenient, right?

You see, subconsciously, we know when we’re done. We can sense it. It’s an innate ability. Like how animals can sense an earthquake, it’s a gut feeling we writers have. But the two things holding us back – driving us to spend years on a single book – are doubt and fear. We doubt we have what it takes. We fear we’re not good enough. So we keep at it, on the same piece of writing, not realising that by working on the same thing over and over again, we’re not growing. We’ve boxed ourselves. We’re unable to learn by exploring other stories within us. We squeeze our creativity, then question why we’re not good enough. And when that moment of contentment hits – when we’ve come to believe we’ve given our all – we quickly brush it aside. We disregard the prompt that’s telling us to stop. And we repeat the vicious cycle of wondering, questioning, and not knowing when it’s done.

I, personally, don’t believe we should work on a single piece of work for years. I know I say this with The Slave Prince being a novel I worked on for 3 years, but I wrote plenty of other work during those 3 years too. And by honing my craft, I’m able to better The Slave Prince as I find my own style and voice. Am I done with The Slave Prince now? Yes. Very done. I’ve given my all. And there’s only so much I can do where I am, right now.

Moving forward, I’m ready to dive into new worlds. I’m ready to challenge my creativity and imagination. And I know I cannot do that if I’m stuck on the same book. Don’t let the question of ‘done’ stop you from moving forward. Because in reality, we’re never done. We will always grow, and we need to let ourselves grow.

So take it from me. The next time a wave of surprising satisfaction washes up your shore, after your ‘final round’ of editing, ask yourself these:

Am I done with this novel? Yes. Is it good enough? No. When can I say I’m truly done? Never.

You don’t have to publish your novel tomorrow. But you most certainly need to start writing something new. Only then can you free yourself from a curse, so cruel, it robs you of your much needed ‘happily ever after’.

The End.