Writing Journey

Why You Should STOP Aspiring

Someone once told me, and I paraphrase, “You are not an aspiring writer. You write, so you are.”

Now, I forgot who this person was—it was many years ago, when I first started this blog and called myself an aspiring writer. But ever since I read that comment, I stopped using the word all together. Why? Because I realised that truly owning your ambition isn’t to aspire but to do. And when you do, you become—when you become, you no longer have to aspire. You are what you say you are.

Of course, that’s not to say that the word ‘aspire’ or your aspirations are bad. This word holds a positive connotation. But there will come a time when you will have to stop aspiring—a time when you have to disown the word and take control over what you want to do. After all, you can only aspire so much before you actually have to take action. But if that time never comes… then the word carries no meaning—to a certain extent, it becomes a roadblock because you grow comfortable simply… aspiring.

So, if you’re aspiring to do something or be someone, it’s time to stop. Stop aspiring to be a comic book artist, stop aspiring to be a baker, stop aspiring and start doing. Ditch the word the first chance you get because… you don’t need it! You are what you say you are and it’s high time you own up to it.

Original Works

Stone Blind Eyes [Music Meets Story]

“If you believe it, you can see it,” she said.

“I can’t. I wish I could,” I told her as I bit my lower lip. Alas, I wasn’t an imaginative child—the other children often said so.

In their bouts of play pretend, I often failed to conjure the monstrous fire-breathing dragon, the majestic crystal castle in the sky, or the magical ruby that could make me fly. I would hear my friends squeal and laugh as they went on great adventures in the glade—taking a back seat with reality as my ordinary world remained as lackluster as it always was. Oh how I wished, that just for a moment, I could step into a realm of wonder and awe.

“Do you believe?” she asked.

“I want to,” I said. “I’ve tried. But… I just can’t see it.”

She reached for my hand with a beaming smile—a smile my mind often drew across her small face—and replied, “Just listen, do you hear them?”

I strained my ears. “What am I listening for?”

“Just listen,” she stated.

The autumn leaves rustled in the afternoon breeze, the shouts of my friends filled the air as they beckoned each other to defeat the army of villainous fairies, and the gentle whisper that was her voice.

“Now,” she added. “Feel them.”

I titled my face toward the sky. The warmth of the sun settled on my skin, the breath of wind brushed through my hair, and the comforting touch of her hand upon mine—for a moment, I didn’t feel alone.

“Do I smell next?” I guessed—it seemed to be some sort of a game, and I didn’t mind it.

“Yes. Do you smell the roses?” she asked with excitement in her voice.

I chuckled and shook my head. “We don’t have roses here.”

The orphanage was sequestered in the embrace of nature. And though the caretakers had a garden of wild vegetables and flowering plants, there were no roses as they were delicate and difficult to grow.

“I smell them,” she stated. “Do you smell them?”

“I…” It took me a second before I played along. “How do they smell?”

“It doesn’t matter how they smell. Just smell them,” she said as a matter of fact-ly.

“All right,” I replied—a hint of sweetness like a jar of candy, a bit of orange peel after an orange has been peeled, and a little perfume like that of a fresh bar of soap. “Okay, I smell them. But I’m not sure if I’m right. I’ve never smelled roses before.”

“Do they smell good?” she asked.

“They smell…” I laughed. “They smell strange, but in a good way.” I nodded my head.

“My roses smell like peppermint and a new book,” she stated confidently, as though that was the scent of real roses.

“Mine smells like soap and candy,” I said with a shrug.

“Your roses smell good,” she replied. “Now…”

“What’s next?” I prompted, wondering where our little game was headed.

“Now… open your eyes.”

I frowned. “What do you mean?”

She knew, just like everyone else, that I couldn’t open my eyes. And even if I could, I would see nothing—I had lost my sight at a young age, and my only perspective of the world was that of a six-year-old’s memory.

“Just like the roses, silly,” she said. “Open your eyes!”

Ah, so that was what she meant. “All right,” I said. “But what am I supposed to see?”

“You tell me—what does today look like?”

That day was a good day. “The sun is bright and round, it’s not hot as usual with the cool breeze, and you’re here… telling me to open my eyes.” I chuckled.

“What colour is the sky? How big are the trees?” she prompted.

“The sky is a bit of blue, a bit of purple, and a bit of pink,” I said. “The trees are big and small—some as small as my toes and some as big as… a troll.”

“A troll,” she said with a gasps. “Guys, there’s a troll!” she shouted to our friends.

I heard my friends running toward us—questions of where the troll was and if it was sent by the maleficent fairy queen intruded our little moment. But before she said a word, she tugged me to my feet.

“Tell them,” she prompted. “Tell them about the troll.”

The world beyond quieted as my friends eagerly waited on me. “The troll…” I hesitated.

Did I really see one? Was it among the trees? There was a colossal tree that looked particularly odd—the thick branches were like giant arms and the stump was like a massive eight-toed foot.

“There!” I pointed ahead. I didn’t know if there was the neighbouring forest, but I saw it… there. “It’s hiding in the trees. But it only has one foot, so all we need is a little magic.”

“We have magic!” one of my friends exclaimed.

And just like that, I felt her hand pull me forward into a run. “You see,” she shouted as we headed toward the troll. “All you needed to do… was believe.”


This story was inspired by the original composition, Euphoria by Mechanical Might

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

Others

Hello From Quarantine!

Oh, hey there!

I just want to check in on how everyone is doing!

Are you still keeping up with your workouts? Have you tried making Dalgona coffee? What Netflix series would you recommend? Have you completed any good books recently?

In a time of uncertainty, let’s continue to look on the bright side—seizing every opportunity of the time that we have to reconnect with family and friends, explore new hobbies, and work on our passions. Let’s also refrain from sharing negative news but uplifting content instead. After all, isn’t our social media already filled with COVID-19? We need more positivity, guys!

With that said, don’t ever forget that we’re all in this together. You’re not alone, okay! So stay strong, and don’t be afraid to reach out if you’re feeling down.

Keep fighting, my fellow dreamers! Stay safe, rest well, and believe that we will all come out of this… victoriously!

Yours truly, Jeyna 💖

Videos

How To Write Your First Novel

With the current global situation, I thought, “With plenty of time on our hands, why not try something new?” Hence, I ran a poll on my Facebook and Instagram story—asking you if you were interested in a video series regarding novel writing!

Well, it’s safe to say that the results were skewed. And since you asked for it, I did it—I created 5 videos covering the fundamentals of novel writing… particularly if it’s your first time!

Below is the first video of the 5-part series—part 2 is already on Facebook, and part 3 will be released tomorrow. Be sure to also tune in for part 4 and part 5, which will be released next week. Fingers-crossed, these videos will be of some help to get you started on your novel-writing adventure!

Want more videos? Head over to Facebook now! 

Original Works

Mortal [12 Genre Months]

In a time much like our own, there lived a king who long believed that nothing—not famine, plague, nor disaster—could befall his nation. It was a notion ingrained into his very being—a promise from the Gods that all of him and his possessions were blessed by the heavens. But despite the promise being true—where the king could have led a rich and full life—he soon met his demise… in the hands of his own.

Some believed that it was the first born son who had murdered the king. The stubborn and proud warrior, who had his birthright revoked, had plotted to usurp the throne. And those who admired the unlawful crown prince became accomplices in the coup—believing that the royalty they served was valiant, bold, and fearless. Alas, not all of this is true—the prince failed to procure the throne, let alone any support from the people. And most unfortunately, he was neither living nor valiant at the time of the king’s death.

Without evidence to find the prince guilty, those who swore on the prince’s innocence shifted their arguments to the king’s sister instead—that the graceful princess had committed fratricide in a moment of anger. But how could the gentle, poised, and well-loved royalty commit such an atrocity? Many believed that it was unintentional—that in that very moment, she lost all control of her being and mind, and reacted on her primal nature. Alas, some of this is true—the princess often defaulted to fear. And when faced with a threat, her actions were for her own. Still, there was no proof to accuse her of murder—at the hour of the king’s death, the princess was seen retreating to her bedchamber with baskets full of bread.

With the other royals seemingly faultless, there was much to say about the people in the king’s court—men and women with motive and reason. Unfortunately, the king had died in an odd circumstance—one would say it was the doing of the Gods. Cold and un-moving in his bed, there was no breath in his lungs when his Royal Advisors came to see him. And after a close examination to find the cause, there was none. Thus, it became a blame-game of who had done it and why. But one thing was certain, the king died in the hands of his own.

In his ignorance, that the kingdom and his people were at his feet, he failed to see that he was human too. His eyes had been set above all others—blinded by the promise made at his birth. Alas, blessed or cursed, chosen or neglected, ignorance knows no difference. And when the world began to crumble around the king through a plague, it was too late—it had struck his heart, with no one else to blame but himself.

In a time much like our own, there lived a man who had forgotten who he was—a mere mortal in seasons of famine, plague, and disaster. And though he thought himself untouchable, he soon learned that mortality made all men equal.


In light of the recent events, I’d like to urge every reader to wash your hands often and stay home if you’re feeling unwell. If your country has issued a lock-down/movement control, please abide by the law. We are all mortals. And our actions do not simply affect ourselves but those around us too. So let’s choose wisdom, especially so in this season, over ignorance and pride.

12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for the list of stories in this writing challenge.)

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.

Original Works

Keeper Of Promises [Music Meets Story]

“There are some promises you can never break,” he told me. “You must remember this.”

“Don’t worry,” I assured—rather confident that I wouldn’t forget. “I got this. You can trust me.”

He nodded. Then, handing me the rusted bronze key, he heaved a heavy sigh. “Don’t lose this.”

“I won’t,” I said. “I’ll keep it safe.”

He nodded once more—a hint of melancholy in his disposition as he ended his tenure. It had been forty years since the key was entrusted to him. Now way past his retirement age, it was time for someone new to bear the responsibility.

“Remember,” he repeated as he headed to the door. “Don’t ever forget.”

“I won’t ever forget,” I said. I had labelled the jars. I knew which were important—the promises I had to protect. So how could I ever forget? Alas, ten years later, I broke my only promise.

It was said that none of my predecessors had ever succeeded at their task—that there would come a time when a promise is broken. But as a confident young lad, I thought myself different. I believed, that unlike those before me, the promises would be safe under my care—that every father who promised to be home for the holidays would be singing Christmas carols with their families, that every friend who promised to stay in touch would be a phone call away despite the distance, and that every lover who promised to love forever would chose to fight even in the darkest of times. Unfortunately, some promises were meant to be broken… even if I remembered to keep them safe.

“I had no choice,” I consoled myself.

A new promise had arrived at my doorstep—it’s ethereal shimmer of silver and gold was enclosed in a mason jar. And within the streaks of twinkling light was a ghostly memory of when the promise was made—a promise of a sickly mother to her young child. Glimpsing what the jar bore, I knew that I had to keep it safe—that it was up to me to ensure that the fear-stricken girl wouldn’t lose her mother. So, I headed to the trove of promises down the hall. And with the click of the old bronze key, I unlocked the rickety cupboard.

One would think that a cupboard storing magical jars of promises would be magic itself. To my dismay, it was but an ordinary piece of furniture—one that had to be cleared should I ever need more space. Hence, I had to break promises—I had broken a few before. But often times, the broken promises were the ones long forgotten or were no longer of any value to the one who made it. This time, however, all the jars before me were labelled in white. It was the mark I gave to the promises that can never be broken—promises that would change lives forever.

“What do I do?” I asked myself—a question I repeated as I held the new promise in my hands. “I can’t.” Then, after a prolonged moment of hesitation, I reached for the jar on the lowest shelf.

The jar had been in the cupboard before I became the keeper of promises. It was a jar I promised to never break—a promise to the man who had once kept it safe. Alas, I didn’t have a choice. It was, after all, one of the oldest promises in the cupboard—the promise itself barely visible behind the crud and limescale. Placing the new jar where the old one once sat, I gave myself little room for second thoughts and headed to the backyard. And it was there that I broke a supposedly unbreakable promise.

“I had no choice,” I told myself. “It was old. It probably meant nothing.”

Indeed, I was young and naive. I thought that newer promises had more worth than promises that had been kept for years—I failed to see that they were the ones you can never break. It was only when I passed my duty to my successor that I understood.

“There are some promises you can never break,” I told her.

“Which ones?” she asked.

“The old ones,” I stated. “You must remember this.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll keep them safe,” she said.

I nodded. But with a sigh, I knew what was to come—the mother who had been fighting to stay alive, for the past twenty years, would someday break her promise. And unfortunately, it was a promise… that was meant to be broken.


This story was inspired by the original composition, Dream World by Mustafa Avşaroğlu

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)

Videos

Finding The Worth In Your Work

Don’t think your work is WORTH it? 😔

Perhaps, it’s not about your work at all. Perhaps, it’s because you’re focused on something else 🤨

Want more videos? Head over to Facebook now! 


Have a question you’d like me to answer in video? Leave it below! 

Original Works

Glamour [12 Genre Months]

“Glamour,” she said. “That’s how they got out.”

“Glamour,” I echoed with a frown.

It had come down to this—banned magic that would have me expelled from the academy—magic that was forbidden since the Dark Ages. Alas, it was the only option left—if I wished to return home and see my family, it was a risk I had to take.

“Do you know where they got it?” I prompted.

Her lips parted—she knew. Unfortunately, hesitation kept her answer at bay.

“Are you sure about this?” she asked. “I mean, you can always stay until they find a vaccine.”

“Vaccine?” I shook my head. “What difference will a vaccine make with that thing on the loose?”

No vaccine nor miracle cure could undo what had been done—even if the greatest scientists could put a stop to the plague, the real monster had been unleashed. A dark and malevolent creature—that fed off fear and paranoia—had resurfaced, and there was no escaping its vengeful presence.

“Once everything returns to normal, the Court of Magicians will bind the creature,” she said. “We just have to be patient.”

“No, I don’t think it’s going to be as easy as that,” I replied. “I don’t think we can just put it back.”

Upon the announcement of the city lock-down, the nesting creature broke free from its spellbound chains. Once restrained by the facade of peace, it now roamed the streets—its shadow latching onto any soul that it deemed as a perfect host. With growing dominance, none of us were spared from its curse—either as a vessel of it’s evil spirit or a victim of its influence.

“This isn’t the first time,” she insisted. “The court knows what to do.”

“Yes, but it’s stronger now. Can’t you feel it?”

The new plague had granted the creature more power than before—unforeseen strength to reach across borders and swallow the earth whole. Unlike its previous escapes, it stirred discord and animosity on a grander scale—feasting on even those who had encountered death from the plague itself. Hence, I had to resort to the Glamour.

“But that-”

“Just tell me where they got the Glamour,” I interrupted.

I knew that she cared for me—that she didn’t want to lose yet another friend. Unfortunately, she failed to see my reality. Despite guarding her youthful soul from the creature’s dark influence, she couldn’t fully grasp the predicament I was in.

“You don’t even know how to cast a Glamour,” she replied.

“I’ll find out how,” I stated.

She grunted in exasperation. “Okay, fine, let’s say you successfully cast a Glamour—at most, it’ll get you across the border. It’s not going to last long enough for you to get home.”

“That’s all I need—I just need to cross the border.”

Truthfully, I hadn’t thought the idea through—it was the first time I had a feasible plan. Hence, I intended to solve any hiccups along the way. After all, I was the top of my class.

“And then what?” she asked. “If the authorities catch you, you’ll be quarantined. You’ll be worse off than you are now.”

“Well, they can’t keep me for long. They’ll have to let me go soon enough,” I stated.

“They’ve kept people on ships… for months.”

“Well, that’s because they were infected—I’m not infected. So they will eventually let me go,” I replied, withholding not my growing irritation.

“Fine. But what are you going to do once the academy finds out, huh?” she challenged. “You worked so hard for the scholarship, casting the Glamour will have you expelled with no appeal.”

“Then, I won’t get caught.”

“No,” she huffed. “I won’t let you do it. I’m sorry, but I don’t know where they got the Glamour.”

“You’re lying,” I replied, as I narrowed my gaze. “Do you know what it’s like to be here—where the creature has its claws in almost everyone?”

She frowned before turning away from me.

“You don’t,” I continued. “You don’t know what it’s like to be accused of being a carrier, to be called derogatory names, to be afraid of being assaulted simply because of your origins. So if I have to cast a spell to change my damned appearance, just to get home and be with my family, I will.”

She cleared her throat. “I’m sorry. I-”

“I’m going to do it whether you help me or not,” I interrupted. Surely, with a little digging, I could find the source of such magic. If only… I didn’t have to do it alone.

“Fine, do it,” she said. “But… I’ll get the Glamour for you.”

“You will?” I raised a brow.

“Yes. And I’m coming with.”


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for the list of stories in this writing challenge.)

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.