My aim is to write and illustrate whimsical, moving stories
make a quietly flourishing living out of it.
By showing up for work in a cheery and slightly excited mood every day.
By holding myself to my best standards.
By taking good care of myself (exercise, nutrition, sleep, family & friends, reading, and yes, watching whatever shows I like, too).
By letting go of what doesn’t work anymore.
And by holding on to what matters most to me – people and stories.
In the ninth year of my (so far) decade-long fiction writing career, I finally realized I’d been sputtering and splashing about all this time. Yes, I was writing, blogging, mingling with fellow writers like we were all told to do.
Yet, as much as I love what I’ve put out, they neither sustained nor fulfilled me.
It was 100% my fault.
Brace Yourself (Cringeworthy Details Ahead)
I was making a dismal living from something I felt okay with doing. I wasn’t able to provide more for my family. Pimples broke out all over my face. My hair thinned. I felt ugly and inferior. I fled from plans made with friends because I didn’t have that in my budget. I scrimped. I saved. I rarely travelled unless it was to visit a sister in Malaysia. I swallowed stress that threatened to bubble over, foolishly thinking I was “handling” my situation.
At my bleakest, most nauseating, bottom-of-the-pit moment, I asked myself:
“Do you still want to carry on?”
There was no answer.
Breaking Point for Our Main Character
That’s when we truly get to know them and what they really, really want, right?
Well, at least I knew what I really, really didn’t want.
“I don’t want to give this up.”
“But you are going nowhere. What about your future? Don’t you want a stable income, more savings, more to give to your parents, more trips, more …”
“Yes, I want all of that … as well as my writing career.”
My rational mind was silent again for a long while. She continued, quietly, “Then you’ll have to be more intelligent in making this work. And braver. You must pour yourself in wholeheartedly with a solid plan. No more random goals and methods. No more mickey-mousing around. No more giving in to your insecurities. You need to play bigger and focus on what works.”
(Okay, she didn’t exactly say all these at that moment. She only said, “You need to make this work.” The rest fell in as I went along “making this work.”)
No Phoenix Rebirth but Something as Brave
For 7 months, while working as a freelance writer/ghostwriter/editor, I spent my weeknights and weekends reading and learning about my small and big dreams and how to get to the level I want. There was a lot on genuine confidence, self-compassion, playing bigger, and scaffolding a system around them until I found the one that works best for me. My own playbook.
Has it worked?
It is working. For now. I understand certain parts might change, but the fundamentals are solid-ifying.
I’d Like to Thank … Tea & British Crime Drama
Yes, they’ve helped me through many doubtful days. Always nudging me on a bit farther. Always showing me how to tell good stories and allowing me to yearn to write my best ones right here, right now.
No more sputtering about.
Time to swim for real.