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

20 Reasons Why ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ Don’t Work

If you’re thinking about writing your own list of New Year’s Resolution, think again. Here are 20 reasons why it isn’t going to work for you:

1. They don’t work.
2. They simply don’t work.
3. When was the last time it worked for you?
4. It hasn’t worked since 2001 and it won’t work now.
5. But maybe… it’s just you.
6. Maybe you shouldn’t set ideals you cannot achieve.
7. Maybe your lists of to-do’s are pure fantasies.
9. Maybe you should stop aiming for the cliches as well.
10. Lose weight? Really?
11. But maybe it’s not about the list at all.
12. Resolutions don’t work because you simply like the idea of them.
13. Resolutions don’t work because you can’t find enough drive to put in the ‘actual work’.
14. So instead of aiming to complete a checklist you’re secretly not passionate about, maybe try a different approach.
15. Instead of being disappointed when you fail at the end of the year, start being honest.
16. Forget those resolutions and aim to be honest with yourself.
17. After all, if you’re 100% honest with yourself, you’ll know exactly what you truly want.
18. And if you truly want something, you’ll work toward obtaining it.
19. So forget the whole list you just only wrote.
20. And get ready for a whole new adventure unlike any other.

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.

Original Works

Reach | Goals | Hotel

They say that some goals are impossible to achieve—that no matter how fervently you imagined, dreamt, or even planned, it could never come true. And perhaps, they are right. But, did I believe them?

“What do you think—grand, isn’t it?” I prompted, as I showed her yet another one of my sketches.

My mother responded with a thin smile. It was the same smile that had graced her meek demeanour for the past few years—an empathetic expression of little belief. Though, there was a time when she truly did believe—a time when we would have sweet cereal and cold milk for breakfast, when the weekends involved a game of frisbee at the park, and when my father would take us on spontaneous road trips in his sputtering jeep. It was a time of jaw-aching laughter, silly yet dangerous pranks, and wide grins of true belief in the bright side of life. But within three years, my mother had lost it all.

Some days, those memories didn’t seem real to me either. It would play in the blackness of my eyelids right before I fell asleep—like a family-friendly film in the popcorn-scented theater we had not visited since. It often felt like someone else’s story—perhaps, the story of another me from another universe. Were we really that happy? Is that how a genuine smile looked like—raised cheeks and wrinkles by the eyes? Some of those memories had slipped from my mind all together—now surreal.

“There’ll be three floors of swimming pool, connected with a swirling water slide. It’ll shoot through the ceiling!” I added.

“That looks like a lot of fun,” my mother said. “But you’ll need lifeguards.”

“Right. Like at the public pool,” I noted.

I almost forgot about the swimming classes I took every Friday. My father would pick me up after school—my yellow swim bag and metal lunchbox often placed on the backseat. Yet, in the recollection of those sunny afternoons, there were gaps in what was once a weekly routine. I had forgotten the warmth of the sun on my skin, the soothing humming in my ears while underwater, and the shiver in my spine as I dashed for my towel on the pool bench.

“Is it almost done?” my mother asked.

“Almost,” I replied, flipping through my sketchbook. There were a few sketches left before the blueprint of my first hotel was complete. It would be my proudest creation yet—the first step toward achieving my dream of becoming the world’s youngest architect.

“Don’t forget to show your dad,” my mother said. “He’ll want to see it.”

“Yup! I also need to ask him about the piping.” I smiled. And at that moment, I wondered—was my smile a true smile? I had no mirror—were there creases by my eyes? When my mother responded with a loving gaze, I knew—I had a smile of belief.

My parents may have long lost their belief but I had yet to lose mine. Despite the past years of uncertainty and fear, I still believed. Even when I struggled to be brave, even when I cried into my pillow, even when they could no longer remove the endotracheal tube, and even when the doctor said it could be any time now, I still believed that dreams do come true. That if you stretched your hands—reach for the stars—nothing was impossible. And though I might have forgotten what life was like—what it should be for a healthy twelve-year-old—I had not given up on it yet.

One day soon, I would be free from my restraints. I wouldn’t have to peer out of the hospital window to glimpse the stars, I would stand beneath them. I wouldn’t have to replay old memories, I would make new ones. There would be no more tears. There would only be belly-aching laughter. One day soon, my dream would come true—I would be the boy who conquered death. And there would be plenty of smiles—authentic smiles of true belief.


Reach, goals, and hotel were words given by Mervin Raymond.

It has been awhile since I’ve written something like this. And honestly, I found myself tearing up a little. I’m sorry if I made you a little sad too. I just felt like writing an emotional piece and this was it.

Now, it’s your turn! Write a story with the three words given. Perhaps you can lighten the mood with a story of your own?

*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

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.

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

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.