Why do I write, 2014 thoughts

Karcy had a very interesting question the other day. She asked on Facebook, why do the artists on her friends list create?

For me, the art of creation is what keeps me sane. Writing keeps me sane, keeps me alive, keeps me grounded, in a sense. Several years ago, after being out of a job for about 10 months, I began to work full time again. (My venture into freelance is something I’m still highly embarrassed about, mainly because it’s due to my own inadequacies, but that’s a topic for another day).

So when I started working again, I went into social media. It was what I was hired for, what my skillset then was good at. And in the business of it all, I neglected to write. As in write longform, stringing together words to make sentences to turn into essays. I began job-hopping. Then I finally ended up where I am working now, and still I didn’t write.

It took almost 18 months and the realisation I was slipping into depression before I began to take up the pen again. I could write, it seems during Nannowrimo, but I was afraid to write any other time. The sense of failure had resulted in fear, and I was truly afraid that I would fail again.

I tried all sorts of way to write. It wasn’t until this year, when I started submitting stories, that I really felt right about writing. It’s not an indulgent thing, to want to write because I want to. It’s not a matter of bragging about my skills. I’m not an imposter who’s lucky enough to string words together.

I write because I want to live.

And that’s all that matters.

Am I happy? (and yes, Chapters 2 coming soon!)

Am I happy?

A friend asked me what my goal was, and asked if I was happy.

I think I can answer this the same as I answered her then.

I am happy now. I’m not satisfied with all aspects of my life, but I’m happy where I am now. Career wise, friends wise. Perhaps even relationship wise. I’m happy being single. I’m being me, and for me, at this moment, it is adequate. I am learning to be comfortable in my own skin again. Learning to live for myself.

Still so much to improve. So many things to fix. So many goals to reach.

Life is a journey. At this point, I’m happy where my road is. I’m learning new things about myself every day (such as it takes me at least 2-3 false starts before I really get cracking on something) and that I’m horrible when I’m HANGRY. My body’s undergoing changes too, and it’s fitting the life I want to live.

So more good food, more exercise, and most importantly, more sleep. That’s one of the few aspects of my life that I can improve on right now, and which I intend to. With that, good night.

[750words] Story Ideas

Burning paper money, from Ching Bing
Burning paper money, from Ching Bing

The most intoxicating part of a writing project for me is usually the ideas process. This is also the part that tells me whether or not the book is ever going to be sold, because it shows how attached I am to the words I intend to put out.

I’ve had ideas sit in my head for years. Ideas that come and go within a few days or weeks. The difference between them is how intense these ideas are. Continue reading

Writing again

Of everything I have ever learned as a literary agent and as a writer, there is one lesson that I think is more important than any other: you must write for your life.Holly McGhee, Nanowrimo 2013 Peptalk

Nobita reading a Doraemon comic, from the 100 Years Doraemon Exhibit in Kuala Lumpur
Nobita reading a Doraemon comic, from the 100 Years Doraemon Exhibit

When it comes to writing stories, I’m not the kind that plans. I’m the kind that researches what I need, rolls into what I think I want to happen, and then see if there’s a correlation between what I want to write and the culture I’m taking from. Which is how I usually end up with stories set in different cultures, in piecemeal settings that merely hint at the culture I’ve stolen borrowed from.

So yes, I’m pretty much a pantster, as we’re called in Nanowrimo. It brings to mind one of my favourite mantras, which is “Write Drunk, Edit Sober” (side note: Since I can’t actually consume alcohol, I tend to substitute this with cheap sugar and/or food that loosen my inhibitions. Friends who’ve seen me get “high” know what I mean. No weed involved).

Ever since the submissions for Women Destroy Science Fiction and Buku Fixi’s Lost in Putrajaya anthologies were announced, I’ve been hatching ideas and short stories to submit. None of them though, fit what I wanted to say.

Till, appropriately, the very last minute. I submitted the Science Fiction piece the night before, while Lost In Putrajaya’s was submitted MINUTES before the deadline. I fully expect LIP’s piece to be rejected (received the notice for SF’s piece some time ago) but it’s made me want to write more. To let go and just let the words flow, no matter if they were nonsensical or simply words.

I missed that.