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

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

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

Your Alternate Ending

Our life is like a book except that the ending is constantly changing. With every decision we make—from what we eat for lunch to the time we go to bed—our future is being revised over and over again. It is an alteration we do not see, perhaps in belief that certain actions are too small to account for anything. But once we start paying attention—noticing even the minute details—we’ll begin to see the ripple of our every action and thought. We’ll realise that with every breath, we are rewriting the epilogue of our story.

To some, grasping the notion that ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’ is terrifying. And indeed, it is a scary thought—what will happen with every success and failure? Will we end up with a bad final chapter? What if our decisions change our entire book? Unfortunately, that is how life is. But it’s not all that bad when we start to see the possibilities that come with change.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to realise that change is good. Change has broadened my perspective of the world and the opportunities it has to offer. Change has forced me out of my comfort zone—to try new things and embark on different adventures. Change has led me down roads I never thought I would traverse, changing my ending repeatedly—the same unpredictable future from the start now as unpredictable as before, but… much brighter and more exciting than yesterday. Change, if I dare say, is a gift.

Now, of course, there was a time I was afraid of change—a time I feared that it would alter my dreams, divert my goals, and lead me astray from the grand plans I had for myself. But, not any longer. I’ve learned to adapt to change. And with every adaptation, I’m writing a better story for myself. With every trial and error—every uncomfortable moment—I’m shifting my perspective for the better. And so, I challenge you to embrace change too.

I challenge you to create an alternate ending for yourself. You do not have to give up on your dreams. You do not have to drop any of your plans. I, myself, didn’t stop being an author when I started doing Facebook videos. I didn’t stop writing stories while I explored other platforms to share my ideas and experiences. In fact, when I challenged my status quo, my dream expanded. So I’m glad—I’m glad that I’m no longer afraid of change. I’m glad that my ending isn’t what it used to be. And I cannot wait to uncover the alternate end to my story because I know… it can only get better from here.

Videos

Who’s The Most Successful Person In The World?

YOU WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO GUESS!

After spending ZERO time on research, I’ve found the most successful person in the world. And, you’ll be surprise by whom it is.

Want more videos? Head over to my Facebook page now! Oh, and…

If you have any questions you’d like me to answer in video, leave a comment or drop me an email at jeynagrace[at]gmail[dot]com! Your question can be completely random—want to know who my favourite Harry Potter character is? Well, ask away!

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

The 3 Kinds Of Stories You Should Tell

Stories are powerful. They have the ability to motivate, inspire, and drive people into action. Whether they are works of fiction or factual accounts, stories can impact and change lives. They are more than just forms of entertainment. They are not just updates on what’s happening around us and across our borders. Stories can and will change the world. So why then are we not harnessing its power? Why are we not telling stories that matter? Why are we holding back—afraid to tell the stories we own?

Whether fact or fiction—written or spoken—stories should be told. It doesn’t matter how exciting or how uneventful they may be. Every story has the potential to leave a mark—an imprint in the world and the lives within it. So if you’re not telling stories—withholding your tales–it is time you do. Don’t worry, you don’t have to write a novel. You most certainly don’t need to take up a course in journalism. You can simply start with these three kinds of stories in any form you’re comfortable with—the three kinds of stories that can make a difference.

#1 Stories That Make People THINK

This is my favourite kind of story as I love thinking. Whether its an article that brings up a question on ethics, a tale from Sherlock Holmes that has me wondering about the culprit, or a personal account that requires a solution, every story that makes me think allows me to examine my own thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and goals. It creates the opportunity for introspection—the chance to understand myself better, to find reason and meaning, and to choose who I want to become.

The fact that I like this kind of stories reflect in the kind of stories I tell. Some of my fictional works and personal sharings are open-ended and without conclusion. Why? Because I like giving my readers an opportunity to stretch their creative muscles—to imagine beyond my words and to determine an answer that is uniquely theirs. You see, nobody can tell you how to think. But a story that makes you think… has the power to change and shape your thoughts.

#2 Stories That Are TRUE

True stories are based on experience. Stories that are written from experience will resonate with anyone and everyone who has undergone the same. The fastest way to connect with anyone is to share something personal. And the easiest way to help someone is to share an experience—a journey you took and how you survived, or a journey you’re on and how you’re surviving.

With true stories, you don’t need a perfect ending. True stories can be incomplete—unfinished. Sometimes, people just need to know they’re not alone. It’s not about the answer you can provide, but the understanding you have to offer. Such stories can bridge gaps, give hope, fan passion, push boundaries, and inspire lives. They speak directly to the heart—the very thing that makes us human.

#3 Stories That Serve A PURPOSE

One of the most powerful stories you can tell is a story with a purpose—a story with a personal reason. Why? Because—though not wrong—a story without a purpose often falls short. It doesn’t leave an impact. And it falls short mainly because your audience can tell. They know when you’re creating for the sake of creating—it is content churned out for the sake of having content. Your audience can sense that, especially if they’ve been following you for awhile.

I’ll be honest, I have written stories for the sake of fulfilling promises. And when I publish these stories, I’ve noticed that my readers aren’t as engaged as when they read stories that were written with a reason. I don’t blame them for being disconnected—I was disconnected myself. But if I truly want a story to be impactful, it has to be told with a reason. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with stories without a purpose. The question is, is that the only kind of stories that you want to tell?

I believe that everyone has more than one story within them—more than one story that can influence and shape the world around them. You may not see the ripples or feel the reverb of your tales, but the moment you tell them, you’ve left an imprint somewhere, somehow, and in someone. So start telling stories that can make a difference. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to be vulnerable, and to strive for a purpose. Start wielding the power that is already in your hands—the power that resides within you.

Others

A Royal Pain

It’s been awhile since I posted something like this. I assume you have to be famous to write such a post regularly. Alas, I’m not. But no matter the frequency, to be able to write this is a blessing. Hence, here I am – on this rare occasion – to make a public update regarding The Slave Prince. And if you supported the book during the contest, or have pre-ordered it, this will be good news.

As of this month, The Slave Prince starts production. Yes, the ball is rolling! But despite the celebration, I have my work cut out for me. Unlike The Battle for Oz, The Slave Prince is receiving extensive developmental editing. This means I’ll be rewriting and editing the content a whole lot. With the first dev letter being 14 pages long, one can assume there’d be more where it came from. So… I guess it’s time I book a room in Alpenwhist. After all, it would be a while before I leave.

Since it’s just the start of production, I’ve spent the past few days responding to the general issues present in my book. At the same time, I’ve drafted a rewrite outline to be discussed with my dev editor. Also – hoping to get the book in your hands sometime in 2018 – I’m putting the writing of the sequel to my trilogy on hold. I can’t juggle two novels at the same time. But have no fear, my blog will still be here – I’ll be posting as usual.

So with all that said, it looks like everything would be smooth sailing… right? No, I joke.

Writing and producing a book isn’t easy. You probably know this. But often times, we forget. In fact, after I’d completed my countless edits of The Slave Prince, I naively thought I was done. I heaved a sigh of relief. Then, I received my first dev letter. Then, I realised I wasn’t done. And I know, I still won’t be done once I pass developmental editing. Copyediting will include another series of rewrites and edits. It would be another season of change for the book. And when I finally let go of The Slave Prince, it would be publication day. From that day on, I can only hope my hard work pays off.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all these to deter you from writing. You know me – I’m an advocate of chasing your dreams. My reason for sharing this is to cheer you on. It’s tough – I feel you, bro. But we can do it – we have the strength to trudge through every phase of writing. And, it will all be worth it. Whether our book sells by the millions or the mere hundreds, the act of bringing them into fruition is worth our blood, sweat, and tears. We just need to stay focused and don’t lose heart. With the finish line in sight, let’s give our very best in every leg of the race.

Now, if you’re a reader, I’d like to drop you a message too. I know not all books are great – I’ve read some pretty dreadful ones. But if you could give writers some slack, that would be wonderful. If you could be kind with your reviews, we would appreciate it. I know hard work doesn’t excuse horrible writing. And I know, you have every right to dislike and leave as many 1-star ratings as you deem fit. Personally, I’m fine with that. But, you can also be kind. Go easy on your words and encourage writers to be better. Choose to build dreams instead of tear them down. Because who knows, your 1-star review might just birth the next bestseller.

As I’ve said before, writing is a journey – there would be ups and downs, easy days and hard days, great sales and no sales, fans and haters. But, we don’t choose our craft because it’ll be smooth sailing from start to finish. We choose our craft out of passion. No matter where we are – no matter who we are, whether writer or reader – let’s live with passion. It gives us a purpose, and it makes life so much more interesting.

Writing Journey

Being The Best Writer

Before I begin, I want you to know that you can now grab a paperback copy of The Battle for Oz on Amazon at only $8.33. If you’ve not read my book, here’s a chance to do so at a 50% discount! Buying this book will support my authoring career, allowing me to write more stories for you. So visit HERE to grab your copy today!

So, back to the topic at hand: being the best writer.

If you’ve ever wondered how you can be the best writer, wonder no more. Here are 3 things you can do to be the best writer ever! Trust me, it works.

1. Stop Caring

This is applicable in life as it is in writing. If you want to be the best writer, you have to stop caring about what others think of you. You have to stop entertaining passing judgements. You have to accept, that as a writer, you cannot please everyone. You are you. Seeking the approval of someone who doesn’t like your work simply holds you back from moving forward. And dwelling upon a dislike only makes you self-conscious. This self-consciousness can mold an opinion into truth – which is not the truth. So stop caring about the world’s perception. Perceptions aren’t reality.

2. Find Your Purpose

Why do you write? Do you know that knowing why you write makes you more self-aware? We all have a purpose in life, and we all certainly have a purpose in writing. Knowing our purpose helps us stay true to ourselves. It drives our passion, it reflects our identity, and it reminds us to be us. Whether you write to inspire, to be read, or to share, our writing comes from a meaningful place. These meaningful, purpose-filled words make us unique. And these same words express our uniqueness.

Yes, I believe we’re all special snowflakes. As derogatory as some like to use the term, it’s the truth. There’s no one like you, and knowing who you are makes you a better writer.

3. Endeavour To Improve

If all this while you thought I was writing about being the best writer in the world, let me clarify now: you cannot be the best writer in this world. There’s a sea of writers, honing distinct voices, that it’s impossible to benchmark this skill and talent. So perhaps the better title for this post would be: Being The Best Writer You Can Be. And the only way to be the best writer you can be ever (!) is by endeavouring to improve in your craft.

Writing is a life long journey. When you choose to become a writer – out of passion – you choose to do this for as long as you live. You may not be ‘the best writer you can be’ today, but the more time and effort you put into improving yourself, you will be ‘the best writer you can be’ one day.

“Ah, well Jeyna, I know all this,” you say.

Well, so do I. I’ve said this before in my previous posts. And though I’ve not specifically written a post about it, I’ve repeated myself like a broken record. However, I publish this post today with a single goal: I want to remind, both you and myself, that we can be great writers by staying true to ourselves.

We don’t have to change to fit into a best-seller mold. We don’t need to repurpose our dreams to be accepted by readers. We just have to strive to be the best we can be. And, let’s not just practice this in writing but in life too. Because the only time we experience life at its fullest is when we experience life as ourselves.

(Not-so-random plug; I recently launched my fitness blog over at blogspot. Besides writing, fitness is also a passion of mine. If you’re into it too, I’d love to have you there as well!)

Writing Journey

My Existence As A Writer

How often does life corner you to think about your existence?

For the most part of my life, I knew I wanted to write. Writing is my passion – it’s my calling. Writing is my purpose – the only thing I have that truly defines me. But how much of my writing has made a difference? How much of my writing has inspired, provoked, and brought about change? Well, to be honest, not much.

In this unexpected season of my life – where change has forced me to question – I realised I’m not writing enough to make a difference. Or at least, I’m not using my words enough to do so. I write for fun, for leisure, to pay the bills, and all for what? What I’m doing brings no fulfillment. And I cannot imagine living the next 50 years as such.

Hence, I’ve decided to make a couple of changes in my life and on this blog. And for the first time ever, I’m going to stop a project. You see, I’m the kind of person who endeavours to finish every race. But when I begin questioning the race – dreading to put my best foot forward – I believe I should stop. It’s not quitting. It’s realigning why I do what I do. Thus, I’m calling an end to Beneath The Crimson Star. This blog series, as cool and fun as it might sound, serves no purpose. The story exists to challenge my imagination, but I find no drive in that reason alone. So in replacement, I intend to write stories that matter.

Moving forward, I want to share more on my writing journey while publishing thought-provoking stories you’d enjoy. I’ve monitored the ‘likes’ and I’m able to gauge your general interest. In no way I intend to make this blog about me alone. I want it to be about you too, and I plan on giving you my best. So if you have any questions – in regards to whatever – ask away. If my words can help you realise your full potential, while I uncover mine, I’m more than happy to share them with you.

Wow. Apologies. This post reads rather personal

Honestly, I never thought I would question my existence. I always believed I knew, until I took a step back and found myself in a meaningless monotony. This brief existential crisis has made me more self-aware. It brought me to a conclusion that I want to write with a purpose – that I want my words to have meaning 7 days a week. Writing to pay the bills isn’t how I want to live this life. And I hope that in this paradigm shift, you would continue to stand with me. I don’t know where life will take me from this point onward, but I’m hoping I’ll be at a place where I can make a difference… and truly live.