Writing Journey

Thinking Of Giving Up? This Is For You

I’ve given up on a lot of things—I’ve given up on speaking fluent Korean, I’ve given up on all my musical endeavours, I’ve given up on relationships, and I’ve given up on ideas. And each time I give up on something, I find it harder to start again.

If you’re thinking of giving up, there’s something you must know. Because giving up is more than just saying, ‘I’m done’. When you give up, you’re closing a chapter in your life—you’re saying it’s over. You’re putting an end to all that you’ve done up till today. And if you choose to start again in the future, it’s going to be harder than it is now.

The drive and motivation you have today, for whatever it is you’re currently pursuing, isn’t going to be the same. You won’t be able to tap into the same energy. You’ll find yourself tiring out quicker than you expected. And sadly, you’re going to give up again, and again, and again. Because once you’ve given up, your endeavour has lost its value—what was once worth your time will slowly become a burden.

When I gave up on learning Korean, only to decide to start again—despite being able to recall certain words—I didn’t have enough motivation to learn for long. When I gave up on practicing the euphonium, the keyboard, and the guitar, I had little drive to stay disciplined. When I gave up on relationships, I moved on—rekindling what was in the past seemed pointless after the years of no contact. And when I gave up on ideas, I lost the inspiration to bring them back to life. When you give up on something, it ends.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t give up. Contrary, if what you’re doing now feels like a burden, then you should consider giving up. After all, if what you’re pursuing brings no meaning to your life, why are you doing it anyway? But if you’re on a journey that matters to you—if you’re fighting for a dream—don’t give up. Because deep down, you know you’re not done.

Personally, I’m not done with writing. I can’t give up on writing. It’s too precious. I’ve invested many years into it—many days practicing, researching, and imagining. I’ve spent most of my life focused on this single skill, and to give up would be the end of who I am. Regardless of success, I won’t give up. Even in doubt and exhaustion, I can’t give up. Because I know… I’m not done.

How about you—are you done? Can you say it is truly over? Are you willing to let it all go? If the answer is ‘yes’, then don’t be ashamed to give up. But if the answer is ‘no’, you know what you have to do. Deep down, you already know.

Writing Journey

3 Reasons Why You’ll Never Be Ready

Do you have a new and exciting idea that you just can’t wait to get started? Have you been planning a project—now biting the bullet to begin the work? Hold that thought!

Hold that thought because you’re not ready! In fact, you’ll never be ready. And here are the reasons why.

#1 You’ll Never Be Perfect

If you believe that the end result of your project will be perfect, you’re in for a disappointment. You will never be perfect and neither will your endeavour. Even if you pull through to completion—persevering with unwavering passion—your creation won’t be perfect. That’s the painful truth. And perhaps, a truth too difficult to bear that you might as well toss your grand idea in the bin.

#2 You’ll Never Be Free

If you believe that you’ll have all the time in the world to work on your project, like Danielle Steel who writes up to 22 hours a day, you’re delusional. That’s not to say that you can’t be Danielle Steel but work, studies, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, and all the responsibilities you could possibly have will take up most of your time. Frankly, you’ll never be free enough to work on something as frequently as you wish.

#3 You’ll Never Be Certain

If you believe this project or passion is what you’re called to do—somewhere down the line, I guarantee you—you’ll start to doubt it. Perhaps, this isn’t the path for you. Perhaps, you’re not meant to do this. Perhaps, you made the wrong decision. You will never be certain with your decision to invest in an idea. And unfortunately, those rare moments of certainty rarely last long enough to keep you going.

The truth is, you’ll never be ready. But… that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start. You were never ready when you started school—no amount of ABCs could’ve prepared you for exams and assignments. You were never ready when you entered adulthood—high school and university didn’t prepare you for office politics or the cutthroat race for success. You were never ready when you became a parent—oh, how frequently unsure you are if you’re doing anything right. In every phase of life, you were never ready.

So what’s the difference now? Nothing! You’ll never be ready for your new adventure but you’ll embark on it anyway. You’ll never be perfect but that won’t stop you from chasing your dreams. You’ll never be free but that won’t be your excuse. You’ll never be certain but that won’t make you quit. You’ll never be ready but you’ll do it anyway.

Writing Journey

How To Silence Your Inner Critic

You can’t.

Just like how you can’t silence those ‘outer’ critics, you can’t silence your inner critic. But… what you can do, is decide on how to deal with that pesky voice in your head. And, the easiest way to deal with it, is in the same fashion as tackling those critical comments from the outside world. Alas, here’s the irony: the most common advice you would hear is to ignore the critics. Don’t respond to any of them—good or bad. In fact, don’t even read what people have to say about your work. Sound advice? Perhaps. And though ignoring the external negativity is possible—challenging should you decide to try—you can’t exactly do the same with the whispers and taunts from within. It’s impossible to shut out the doubts and mute the negativity. So, what do you do? What can you do?

Personally, I do not disregard both good and bad comments about my work. Yes, I broke the ‘ignore all reviews’ rule. Yes, I’m setting myself up for disappointment. But as part of my practice—Googling for reviews and reading every single one of them—I choose when to respond. And, there are only two occasions of which I do.

The first occasion is a negative review that contains at least one positive thought. It shows that the reviewer took the effort to find one good thing to say. And with such comments, I thank them for their time. After all, they slogged through my work. And despite disliking most of it, they cared enough to say something nice. The second occasion is a positive review that is of a few hundred words. Again, the reviewer took the time to craft a lengthy feedback—not solely praising the book but offering thoughts on areas I can improve in my future works as well. So, in the same way, these are the two occasions of which I respond to my inner critic.

Whenever that little voice decides to ruin my day, I try to find one positive takeaway. “Your writing is too simple,” it says. Well, simplicity isn’t a bad thing! “Your writing will never win literary awards,” it says. Well, I don’t plan on winning awards—I just want to tell stories. “Your writing will never be good enough,” it says… Ah, that one stings.

All right, let’s be honest, sometimes finding positivity can be tough. But when that is the case, I look for ways to improve instead. “Your writing will never be good enough,” it says. Well, at least I’m working on it. “Your work is boring,” it says. Well, I guess it’s time to spice things up! “Your characters are so cliche,” it says. Well, let’s find a way to make them not cliche. Our inner critic may come across as mean, hurtful, and discouraging, but how we respond makes a difference. In fact, our inner critic may be the voice we need to hear to improve in our craft.

So the next time your inner critic decides to speak up, don’t just listen but respond in a way that pushes you to do better in your art. After all, you can’t silence it. There’s no mute or off button for your subconscious mind. The next best thing you can do is use it to your advantage.

Writing Journey

I Don’t Believe In Talent

If I believed in talent, I wouldn’t be writing. If I believed in talent, I wouldn’t be making videos. If I believed in talent, there will be no blog posts and no stories—not a single creative expression finding completion. I wouldn’t have undergone arduous months campaigning for my novels. I wouldn’t have encountered countless rejections and experienced amazing opportunities. If I believed in talent, I wouldn’t be here today. Thus why I don’t believe in talent. Instead, I believe in doing what matters.

Over the years, I’ve come to realise that talent isn’t a strong ‘currency’ in life. Sure, having talent is a great capital for when you want to start pursuing your dreams. But soon enough, you’ll discover that there are others who are richer than you—others who are far more gifted than you will ever be. You’ll start to notice young bloods surpassing you in your craft—geniuses that leave you stumbling in the dust. And when that happens, what do you do? Do you throw in the towel—refuse to fight for your dreams because you’re not talented enough? Do you wish for more talent—fantasize about the day you will be discovered for your brilliance? Here’s the thing: if you’re running on talent alone, you are bound to fail. And if that is true, you’re probably wondering… is success possible—can you actually succeed without talent?

Success is self-defined—we define success through the things that matter to us. And what matters to us includes the reason why we pursue our dreams. Personally, I do what I do because I want to be a source of encouragement. I do what I do because I want others to believe in their dreams. I do what I do because I want to make a difference—no matter how small the impact may be—in the lives of those around me. And that… is all that matters to me.

Now, why does your passion matter to you? Why is your dream important to you? Once you know why it matters, you don’t need talent. Yes! You. Don’t. Need. Talent! You don’t need talent to do what matters. You don’t need to be a creative genius to do something of value. You don’t need to have an impressive IQ to live a meaningful life. After all, when something matters to you, you will do it anyway—you’ll find a way to achieve success, overcoming every obstacle, unfazed by the world of talent around you.

So… if you’re in a stage of life where you’re questioning whether you have what it takes—if you are gifted enough to pursue your dreams—start looking past talent. Don’t limit yourself to your physical abilities but look within you to find the reason for your ambitions. Ask yourself why what you’re doing matters to you, and stop living on the currency of talent. Make a decision… to start running on purpose instead.

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.      

Writing Journey

Why You’ll Never Be Ready

If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives. – Lemony Snicket

If I waited to write my first book, waited to start this blog, waited to make videos—waited to pursue my passion… I’ll be waiting for the rest of my life. There would’ve been no stories told, no lives inspired, no leaps taken, no new experiences, no exciting surprises, and nothing to look forward to—the very thing that turned my humdrum existence into an imaginative and meaningful life. Heck, if I waited until I was ready… I wouldn’t be writing this today.

Personally, I don’t believe in readiness when it comes to pursuing our dreams. Readiness is not important, and it shouldn’t dictate whether we write that book, record that song, or enroll in that art class. Readiness is simply an excuse. And oftentimes, we use it as a reason to postpone the important pursuits in our lives. But, what is ‘readiness’ an excuse for? You might not like the answer but I’ll say it anyway—readiness is an excuse to not face the fear of the unknown.

We are afraid of the future. But… not the future in general. Our fear stems from a pessimism at reality that is ingrained in our human nature. Being optimistic is a choice—the believing that even in the darkest times there is still light. Being pessimistic, unfortunately, is often a default. But I’m not saying that being an optimist removes the fear of the unknown—this fear still exists. However, optimism gives us the little light we need—a light that can help us envision enough to take a leap of faith.

You’ll never be ready. You’ll never be able to predict the future either. But you have a choice. Is readiness a valid excuse to delay your dreams? Is being afraid of the unknown a sensible reason to put your life-changing plans on hold? Yes, you might fail. Yes, your work might not be the best. Yes, what you hope for might not come to past. But just because these are possibilities, they are not reasons. Heck, they don’t even exist to be legitimate reasons. Have they occurred? No. Will they occur? Perhaps—you don’t know for sure. And the paradox: not knowing is the reason to start.

Not being ready is a bad excuse to not pursue your dreams. But not knowing what will happen is a great reason to start chasing them. Life can only go two ways—the way we want it to and the way we don’t want it to. We can’t control what will happen nor can we predict the end result. What we can do, however, is choose to discover the other side.

Unlike avid hikers, I dislike hiking. My only goal, while I mutter under my breath about how torturous it is, is to find out what’s waiting for me on the other side. I like the discovery free from my expectations. It motivates me to complete the climb. And… at the very end of a hike, despite how tiring the ordeal, I find my reward—a sense of accomplishment. I now know what’s there! It might just be a plain landing surrounded by more trees, but now I know. And perhaps on my next climb, I will find the amazing view of snow-capped mountains I’ve been dreaming of. Now… there wouldn’t be any discovery without the climb, would there?

So stop waiting to be ready to go after your dreams! Be excited to find out what’s at the very end of each journey. Don’t be afraid to set sail because of the unknown. You might not know where you’re going—you might not end up where you’ve planned—but you’re going somewhere! And somewhere is always better than nowhere.

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

[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!

Writing Journey

How Do You NOT Give Up?

How do you keep going without burning out? How do you stay inspired during dry spells? Where does your determination come from? Have you ever thought of giving up? How do you not give up?

Familiar questions–questions you might have asked, received, or pondered upon. And, important questions too, especially when it comes to our dreams and passions. We all know success comes from not giving up. But sometimes… well…

So, how do we not give up? Personally, I…

#1 Don’t Focus On The Negative

Constructive criticism is great for improving my skill, but outright negative comments aren’t. Comments that are hurtful and mean have the ability to destroy my hopes and dreams. And, because I can’t tell people what they can and cannot say, the only thing I can do is ignore them–turning away from those negative words and focusing on the encouraging ones instead.

Focusing on the positive helps to keep the wheels turning. I often find myself returning to positive words whenever I doubt my abilities and strengths. I would read an old comment or book review and my day would be instantly brightened. Words are powerful. The ones we choose to listen to dictates our path. So don’t focus on the negative. Start focusing on the positive instead.

#2 Set Achievable Goals

‘If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough,’ that’s what they always say. But not all of my dreams have to scare me. Not all of my goals have to be star-high. I need achievable goals too. They sharpen my skills and take me one step closer to my bigger dreams. If all I’m focusing on is the end and not the path before me, I might just trip and never get back up again.

What are achievable goals? They’re not what I plan to achieve in my lifetime. Achievable goals are the books I plan to write before 2020, the number of chin-ups I aim to complete by the end of the year, and the amount of savings in my bank account for my next big trip. They’re small–far from scary–but they bring me closer to my dreams, one step at a time.

#3 Make & Execute Plans

To get somewhere, I need a plan. Setting achievable goals is part of making a plan, but it doesn’t complete the equation. I need to execute my plans too. Perhaps this is one of the most challenging parts when it comes to chasing my dreams. Execution requires me to be disciplined, diligent, and persistent. But sometimes, I’m just too lazy. So how do I counteract this laziness? I choose to do it anyway.

I’ll be honest, some of my blog posts are written at the very last minute–this one included. Despite having an idea on what I intend to write, I just don’t feel like doing it. But instead of calling in sick–giving a lame excuse as to why I missed this week’s post–I do it anyway. I carve out time to write. And by doing so, I don’t give myself any excuses–I stay disciplined and on track all the time.

#4 Celebrate Every Milestone

It’s easy to overlook small accomplishments at the desire to accomplish greater things. But if all I focused on was what I could’ve achieved, instead of what I’ve already achieved, I’m not motivating myself. Contrary, I’m discrediting my efforts for the what if’s and could have’s. And instead of acknowledging my hard work, I’m putting myself down.

I am my own biggest critic. And what I say to myself matters–my own words are as powerful, if not more, than the words of others. So it’s important to give myself credit where credit is due. I may not be able to say I’ve finished the race, but I can celebrate the journey. It is the little accomplishments that will keep me going–the little accomplishments that make the end worth pursuing.

#5 Know My Reason

I’ve written about this before–perhaps one too many times–and I’ll reiterate. Knowing why I write is the key to never giving up. I can religiously practice the four points above, but if I don’t know why I write, I won’t get far. This applies to all areas of my life too–areas where dreams and goals are present. If there’s no reason as to why I’m doing what I’m doing, what I’m doing will merely become a hobby. And as you know, hobbies are ever changing.

So, why do you do what you do? What is your reason? If you want to know my reason, I wrote a post solely about it here. I can guarantee you, that if you have a strong reason for your dreams, you will never give up. In fact, it becomes almost impossible–giving up is no longer an option.

If you’re on the brink of giving up, don’t lose hope just yet. There’s a way to stay motivated, driven, and passionate. You may have gone off the road, but getting back on track isn’t impossible. Remember, your dreams are worth chasing. They’re achievable. So don’t stop believing in them. And don’t ever stop believing in yourself.

Writing Journey

I Resolve To Give Up

Giving up – one of the easiest things to do. It takes an effortless decision. It welcomes the peace of mind. It helps us come to terms with our inabilities. And it puts our anxieties to rest. So to give up is what I resolve to do.

In the past years, I’ve given up quite a fair bit. I’ve given up on increasing my kill-death ratio to 1.0 – I’ve resolved to remain a noob in the FPS arena. I’ve given up on building my fitness blog – I’ve resolved to make fitness a personal project. I’ve given up on certain friendships – I’ve resolved to believe some people aren’t meant to be in my life forever. I’ve given up on activities, things, and people. And as strange as this might sound – something you might not hear if not for this post – giving up isn’t a bad thing.

“So… you’re telling me to give up?” you ask.

Yes. I’m telling you to give up. But don’t give up for nothing – give up for something.

For the things that matter, give up your time, resources, and creativity. For the people who matter, give up your plans, ideas, and pride. When it matters, resolve to give up and persevere. How odd – opposing thoughts coming together. But in this context, they’re a perfect match. Choose to give up on the insignificant for the significant.

Ever since I started my book writing adventure, I’ve given up on the disbelief around me. I’ve given up on my pride, my fears, and my insecurities. And though they constantly return with a passion, I’ve persevered. When I make a decision to toss them aside, I replace my restlessness with peace. I come to terms with my imperfections – knowing I’m in constant need of improvement. And the worry of being a success becomes unimportant. When I give up for my craft, I grow.

Who knew giving up could result in growth? I didn’t. But clocking in hours to hone my skill, subjecting my heart to harsh critiques, and accepting that I’m not great, has led me to this.

When I wrote The Battle for Oz, I thought it was a good book. But as you can see, the amount of copy editing required proved otherwise. The comments on the book weren’t what I expected, and I was quite stubborn toward the changes suggested. However, it has taught me to give up – not on my passion – but on the things holding me back from becoming a better writer.

Two years later, The Slave Prince undergoes copy editing. But in expectation of the same red mess on the manuscript, I find only minute changes. The contrast between the two manuscripts surprised me. Did I really improve? Am I a better writer now? Is The Slave Prince a better book? I dare not say ‘yes’ to those questions, but I’m certain I’m no longer the same author I used to be in 2015. I’ve grown simply by giving up on the things that didn’t matter for the things that did.

So entering the new year, I resolve to give up on a lot more. I resolve to give up on distractions, on my persistent doubt and pride, and on the things holding me back from my passion, my purpose, and my craft. I will give up and continue to persevere, because I know it’ll make me a better writer… and a better person.