Writing Journey

Who Are You… If You Don’t Create?

I tried hard to write a short story last week to be published on this blog—pulling up my work file about 3 to 4 times in hopes of completing it. Alas, I just couldn’t get past the 200 words. And it wasn’t because I was lazy. After staring at the page for minutes on end, I knew that it was simply because my mind drew blank.

So, I did what I rarely would do and missed a week of posting. Despite wanting to create, with attempts at forcing an idea into fruition, I was unable to craft. And I wondered…

‘Was it okay to skip a week of posting? Was it okay to… not create? As a creator, who are you if you’re not creating?’

Now, I know that these days, most of my readers are not following my blog for the stories. Yes, despite being an author, somehow… you guys are now into this kind of content—content that is less fictional and more personal. So perhaps, you didn’t even notice the lack of a story post last week. Perhaps… it is only I who insists on being disciplined at writing week in week out. Still, who am I… if I don’t actually write?

I am STILL… an author.

And if you’re asking yourself the same question—who are you if you take a break or can’t seem able to create—this post is for you.

You are STILL a creator.

Yes, discipline is good. Yes, being consistent helps you to hone your craft. I advocate creating and creating often! But there’s nothing wrong with taking a break. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that sometimes… you just can’t create because of reasons you might not have. And it doesn’t mean that you are lazy or that you’re giving up—you know when you’re trying! It simply means that you are human with creative struggles all humans face. And being unable to craft something new doesn’t mean you are any less of who you are.

At the end of the day, doing what you love shouldn’t be a burden. Doing what you love should be an expression of your very being—of who you are from the inside out. And if you can’t create today, fret not. You will create tomorrow… because creating is what you were born to do—it is what you do best, and it is a part of who you are.

Others

“Watch your own videos,” they said.


“You SHOULD WATCH your own videos,” so I’ve been told.

Funny, how that’s a phrase I don’t expect to hear… yet hear it anyway. And I won’t deny it—at times, I really do NEED to watch my own videos. Why? Because I’m just as human as you are. And as an un-celestial being with only the epiphanies the human mind could ever comprehend, the next best thing I can do for myself is ‘preach to myself’.

Yes, preach to myself. Heck, you do it too!

Every time you coax yourself, reason your actions, and attempt to make yourself feel better, you’re preaching to yourself. Alas, some of our ‘sermons’ are more self-deprecating than edifying. In fact, we have a knack of boasting the torments of hell more than the glory of heaven.

But why do we do that? I’m sure there’s some psychological reasoning but that’s not why I’m writing this today. The purpose of this is to remind both YOU and MYSELF that more than the words others speak into our lives, our own words have a GREATER EFFECT on us.

We preach to ourselves daily. We tell ourselves what we can and cannot do. We decide how to think and feel. And, more so during this season in quarantine—adjusting to and embracing the ‘new normal’—we speak to ourselves more than we speak to others.

So the next time you hear a little negativity in your own voice, switch the channel. Preach only what is uplifting and listen only to what is true! Choose to be a voice of encouragement to yourself because… trust me, it makes a difference.

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

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

Are You Afraid Of Making Mistakes?

I grew up in a culture where the term ‘silly mistake’ was used fairly frequently during my formative years. Whether it be a wrong answer in my mathematics exam or unintentionally messing up, my parents, teachers, and anyone older than me would rarely fail to point out something they deemed as a ‘silly mistake’—to an extent that even honest mistakes were sometimes considered silly.

In that same culture, broadcasting or sharing my mistakes is also frowned upon. Why in the world would you ever tell others about your weaknesses and your failures? Opening up about how I’ve messed up is considered as washing my dirty laundry in public. And so for a long time, whenever I made a mistake, I would attempt burying it… and, when I was still a child, shifting the blame to someone else was a default reaction.

I’m not sure about the rest of the world but in Asia, I was raised to minimise mistakes. Thus, I was afraid of making mistakes. Yet in this day and age, we are told to ‘celebrate mistakes’. And coming from a culture where we never once celebrated our past mistakes, what does that phrase actually mean? How do we celebrate screwing up? Are we to pat the backs of those who failed? Do we cheer for regrettable and seemingly ignorant decisions?

It was only after a few years in the working world that I learned what it meant to celebrate my mistakes. And though it might seem counter-culture-intuitive, celebrating my mistakes meant acknowledging that I wasn’t perfect—that in all the years of covering up and hiding my mistakes, it was time to accept that I am human.

What that phrase means to me now is admitting my mistakes, being responsible for the outcome of those mistakes, learning to troubleshoot the mistakes, and not shifting the blame or sweeping it under the carpet. Celebrating my mistakes is being bold enough to say it was my fault and that I was wrong, without the fear of judgement—despite the likelihood that I am still being judged in this culture. Celebrating my mistakes also means being unafraid of making mistakes because it is through my mistakes that I learn and improve in areas that clearly needed improvement. And guess what, celebrating my mistakes is one of the most freeing decisions I’ve ever made.

No longer am I striving to paint this perfect picture. No longer do I need to pretend that I am succeeding in life. No longer will I have to hide who I truly am—I am free to be a human with all the flaws a human could possibly have. And that is why I’ll keep celebrating my mistakes… even if the world wouldn’t celebrate them with me.

Are YOU afraid of making mistakes? Maybe it’s time to celebrate them instead.