AH: How to Regain Your Love (& Motivation) to Write Again

Hullo, world!

It’s so hard to believe, but my first week at my university has ended. In this week, I got to go on campus tours, attend workshops & practise lectures/seminars as well as meeting so many new people. And although I’m kind of tired after the fact, it has been such a blessing being a part of this. I can’t thank everyone who was a part of this experience enough. 

Now, it’s my favourite day of the week–Saturday! I honestly don’t know why, but Saturdays fill me with joy whether or not I get to write (or blog) simply because it’s that kind of day that makes me smile when I wake up. And obviously, Irish cream in my coffee. That’s the only day I get the real deal 🙂

[Also, pls take some time to fill out a short survey concerning my email list: https://forms.gle/e6sxLonmVKnMWdJk7

Today, I’ll be talking about How to Regain Your Love (& Motivation) to Write Again. This summer has actually been a dry spell for my writing life where I struggled to put words down to paper. Even when I did so, it didn’t feel natural or from my heart and I ended up needing lots of breaks in between. 

Well, it’s officially September, and I’ll be going back into writing…so here’s a little fragment from that attempt. 

 A: Where are you? 

First of all, temet nosce. You need to know where you are writing-wise and life-wise. 

For example, university is starting for me in a hybrid manner–meaning, I’ll have half online classes & lectures while the other half is in-person. I don’t have a full-load yet, but I know I won’t have as much time to write. So, I’ll be setting a lower goal than I think I can do…like, half the amount I think I can manage. 

B: What is in your heart? 

For the longest time, I lost touch with the feeling of excitement with the WIPs I was working on. Obviously, not every writing day will look like hands flying, mind flashing past to awesome scenes and amazing prose leaking out. But I felt the fire inside me dying, flickering into embers that I started doubting my story. 

And so, reflect on your heart. What is the story in your heart? What’s the theme song burning just to be written? Chances are, without a solid thesis, the words you want to shout to the whole world, you won’t get through those tough writing days, the dry spells of writing. Find that ember. Find the fire to your story, the soul of everything that makes your story matter. 

C: Who are you writing to? 

This is also an essential block to writing & motivation. I talk often about my Ideal Reader, and how I’ve come to realise they’re usually me to begin with. I’m writing the book I can’t find on the bookshelf. I’m writing a blog post that will encourage me, make me smile in the future. I used to think I had to have a “proper” IR–family, friends, etc., etc.–and that put a lot of pressure on me. 

What will they think of my writing? What if they didn’t find it as enjoyable as I thought it was? What if they thought I was wasting my time? 

Well, I say Tash to all that. 

It’s absolutely inane. Even if everyone out there absolutely hates my writing, I love it. And that’s enough for now. 

D: When will you write? 

On a more practical note, ask yourself WHEN you’re going to write. 

I wrote in the mornings these past years because that was the only time in the day I had time all to myself. I used to think if I missed that slot, I wouldn’t have any time to write that day. 

*insert “Tash to all that!”*

Anyhow. From this September, I’ll be going for a more flexible writing schedule. If I write one word, one sentence a day, it’ll still be a good writing day. If I write a page or five, huzzah to me. I might be able to write in the morning, or after lectures, or even before going to bed. It’ll be a new attempt and I’ll probably still have to adjust many things (and fail a lot), but I’ll write as long as that day still exists. 

E: Why are you writing? 

And lastly, probably the most important thing to know–Why are you writing?  It’s that kind of question that makes you want to slowly edge away, saying, “Oh, this is just, um, a hobby, a side-business-y thing I do, so don’t mind me…”

Well, no. 

Writing isn’t a just, it’s definitely not some mindless thing you do. (I mean, it could be that, but for me it’s never some small thing.) You’re pouring your life and soul into this “small thing” you do on your side because you actually believe this is something that matters, something worth your time. Don’t downplay your writing. Don’t think it’s something without a mission. 

I write because even when someone stops me, there’s a story in my heart that’s screaming to be written. There’s a message that’s waiting to be heard. It might take time, it might look ugly, but as long as there’s still today and tomorrow and so on, I’ll take up my pen. And that’s the end and the beginning of the story. 

Thank you for reading! What do you think? Do you have something burning in your heart? A story that’s waiting to be written? Why do you write? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

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AH: It’s Okay to Write Slow

Hullo, world!

I’m back from my short hit-outs. I survived camp and am fired up about the 2020 Tokyo Olympics! I was especially fired up about judo and karate and am so happy Japan got 12 medals (9 gold!!) in judo and 3 in karate. Also, the wrestling team got 7 medals in total (5 gold) which was awesome. Canada’s women’s soccer got gold, so I’m still happy even though Japan’s women’s soccer didn’t do so well this year. 🙂 I also love Irie Sena-senshu of women’s boxing. She’s the same age as me and got a gold medal, but loves frogs, which is too adorable!!

Anyhow. 

Today, I’ll be talking a bit about the slow writing days. Recently, I haven’t been able to write as much (or as fast) as I’d like to, even though I have a lot of great ideas. I would have a day when I would wake up, thinking, “I’m going to write today!” But the day wouldn’t go as planned and I’d miss my writing slot. 

And I’d think, This is bad. If I’m not writing, I can’t call myself a writer. 

Which, btw, is totally not true. Here’s my take on this month’s Author Health–It’s Okay to Write Slow. 

A: Each WIP is different.

This is kind of common sense, but I’m still going to say it. Every WIP that you work on will take a different amount of time. 

For me, draft 0.5-1.5 of Juliet took me a total of four years. I’m still not done with the rewrites–in fact, I’d just begun it. Woodstone is a faster paced project in terms of wordcount and the time it took to get that word count, but it’s been a year already since I started. Osthauptstadt took six months to put together; I’m still uncertain about the ending although that’s technically where I am. And that’s not to mention Elektriem (or die electricae as I’m now calling it) and a bunch of other projects underway. 

So, don’t get discouraged even if one WIP takes you longer to start or finish. The amount of time it takes you is always going to be the right amount. 

B: Slow doesn’t equate to low quality.

This is also something that’s super common sense, but the thing that tends to be forgotten. Just because a WIP takes time (like, years in the making) doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, it might be quite the contrary. I’ve found that the more time I take to get the words out on paper, the higher quality it tends to be. 

The first book of Juliet took me around three years to write and it’s probably one of the most solid drafts out of the three parts. 

Osthauptstadt, the project that’s been pulling my hair out, took less time to write, but still was a slower process than what I’m used to–I could write only a few hundred words at a time. Yet it’s been a WIP that helped sharpen my prose and focus. 

Woodstone, by far the longest WIP so far with 155.7K in the 65% mark, has taught me endurance. 

Slowness isn’t a measure of incompetence. It’s the measure of one’s diligence. 

C: What are you hurrying for? 

And lastly, this is the thing that’s been stuck on my mind the most–What are you hurrying for? 

When I was writing in high school, I was writing like someone who was going to die any second. (Which, by the way, is absolutely true, but hear me out.) I thought I had to make it or break it by the time I graduated high school to have any hope of a second career as an author. I know, irrational and completely insane, but that was my belief. 

I set crazy writing deadlines for myself. I told myself I had no other time in my life to write. I was constantly on the edge whenever someone else got acquitted or got published. I felt like my slowness was a failure. 

Well, it’s not. 

I had a wake-up call where I realised this: I love writing. I’ll probably be writing even when I’m a wrinkly old lady. Who cared if I got to the “publishing line” before I was twenty? Who cared if I took the longer route in traditional publishing? Why, Tolkien took over ten years! Even C. S. Lewis got rejected before he was recognised. J. K. Rowling got turned down by 12 publishing houses. None of them were in a hurry to get published. (Or maybe they were, IDK, but it’s true they stuck out on their end and kept writing.) 

So, I’ve decided not to hurry. Each person has their own writing journey walked at their own pace. I’ll keep walking mine…and in the end, that’s what counts. 

Friends, let us keep walking. 

Thank you for reading! What do you think? Do you have slow writing days? (Or slow writing months?) What are some things that helps you stay grounded when you feel the need to hurry? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

AH: 5 Truths Your Old Writing Tells You

Hullo, world!

I feel a little at loss today as I sit writing this because…*whispers* my mental health has been going down. My energy’s been kind of low even though a lot of great things have been happening. 

I took a hit-outs on IG, planned a writing retreat for myself, and in general, am hoping to slow things down a little. But I won’t be taking a hit-outs on blogging since this is one of the “slowing down” things I do. 😉

Also, this is completely random, but I am officially in love with Jujutsu Kaisen. (I mean, who wouldn’t like Gojo-sensei???) And the vibes of old Japanese things are just amazing. Not to mention it’s MAPPA. Plus, the first op. is Eve, who I’ve been following from the start…

Honestly, I just want Yuji & co to be happy…

*End rant*

Okay, let’s get into today’s topic. I often re-read my old works, and I realised there’s a lot of negativity concerning one’s old writings–I mean, I get it. My first major WIP’s protagonist was named Abigail Chemingstunn. But then again, there’s so much more to your old writings than cringey prose and annoyingly cliché characters. 

Me re-reading my old writing…”I have no recollection of this place!”

So, without further ado, let me present to you…AH: 5 Truths Your Old Writing Tells You.

1. It’s not that bad.

I know, it’s kind of obvious, but it’s true! Your old writing isn’t that bad. When I first started writing, I had a lot of ideas. I didn’t really know novels were a thing, so I wrote a lot of short stories and novellas instead. As I re-read some of them this morning, I was reminded how much I actually loved those stories. Some of them got accepted for magazine publication, others didn’t. While still others, I gave as birthday presents to my friends and families, who didn’t complain about this. (Thank you to everyone who read my stories!!) Any story I write, I care about in my heart. And that’s what counts by far. 

2. You’ve come this far.

Another thing I always think of when I go to dig up my old writing is that I’ve written a lot. Last week I talked a bit about my total fictional work’s word count which is almost 600K. If you haven’t done this already, I would totally recommend going back and calculating how many words you’ve written so far. Even if it doesn’t look like much, you’ll probably be surprised at how far you’ve come

3. You’re always getting better at this

And obviously, not just the amount of words or WIPs you’ve written, but the quality of them matters. This kind of reminds me of the “oh, look how terrible my prose and overall writing used to be” syndrome so I don’t want it to sound like it…But what I mean is this. 

Each WIP you write teaches you something vital about storytelling you couldn’t have known if you didn’t write that story. Even if you do make mistakes along the way, or feel like your writing is trashy, it just tells you how much better you’ve gotten since then.

4. Every word counts

I really like the Japanese saying, Senri no michi mo ippo kara, which means Even a road of a thousand miles begins with a single step

When I first began writing, I didn’t know what I was doing. If you know at all about my earlier blog posts, it’s that I have no idea. What helped me through all of the floundering was the words that I’ve compiled. Words build up and become a part of you. 

5. You’re a writer.

In the end, the fact that you have old writings to read back (and critique) means you’re a writer. When writing gets tough and you start to think that maybe writing isn’t your thing, reflect on your old writings. 

And, you realise that your old writing is what makes your current writing

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Thank you for reading! How has your week been? Do you read your old writings? What are some things you like about your old writing? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!