You are a writer.

Sometimes unknowingly, doubts make us feel comfortable because we count ourselves out before attempting to do something. Just like you know how much you believe something is possible, it makes you uncomfortable because now that means you will have to do it.


If you are an aspiring writer, stop aspiring to be a writer because when you write, you are a writer. Start writing now and push the writing culture forward. Even if that means writing 500 words a day or 5 pages a day, you are still putting something out there. It doesn’t hurt to build that mentality and know that things will not go your way but you are going to push nonetheless, be open-minded, get out of your comfort zone, and talk to other writers and learn from each other rather than being on defense mode that your writing will never be good enough.


Yes, it is going to be difficult. I thought how tough it would be for me, especially hailing from a small town and raised in an Asian household. It’s tough because a lot of times when you say what you want to do, a lot of people including parents don’t think you are going to be successful or make a decent living out of it, particularly when it comes down to anything arts-related. It’s tough because you are supposed to be a doctor, engineer, or businessperson. It’s tough because they want you to be someone you don’t want to be… In their mind, it is set because they are fearful.


Now imagine if you told them and they knew that you are going to do great, they probably wouldn’t tell you that you will fail. This holds true for me with an Asian background myself. I can see why as our parents, they were coached from an era of Asia where they didn’t get a lot of chances in life. So their mind is pretty much set that, you only get one chance in this life. 


If you don’t make it, you don’t make it.


A day before I packed my things to begin my career as a writer, a friend told me, “Why would you quit a sales job that could’ve given you everything just to be a writer? You can’t possibly make a living as a writer, no one ever survives being one. You won’t make it.” 


I remember looking straight at her in the face, I wasn’t smiling. I just said, “All I am hearing is you telling me what I cannot do. You’re not telling me what I can do. You’re not giving me a solution about how I can accomplish to be a writer. All you do is spend all your breath telling me what I cannot do and how I am never going to make it. What are you doing with your life?”


I didn’t see a reason to continue the conversation.

I didn’t want to have a person who constantly tells me what they think I can’t do.

I turned away from her, right there and then. 

I never looked back.


There are so many people who are going to tell you your limit. They don’t even know you. Only you know your limits, and you know that by taking action. If you just keep doing what you keep doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’ve been getting. I guess it’s fine if you’re okay with what you’ve been getting, then by all means, carry on. But if you’re not alright with what you’re doing and what you’ve been getting, are you really not going to do something about it?


When you consider your fears of writing out of your comfort zone, ask yourself: Does the thought of not being to do what you love hurts you? Are you going to regret not doing this? In one year from now, will you wish you had written something? Or when you are on your deathbed, will you be alright with the fact that you didn’t step out of your comfort zone and do the thing your heart so desperately wanted you to do?


And if your answer is “Yes, I’m alright in giving up my dreams,” then I will have to ask, why are you still reading this? Because you haven’t given up. You decide what’s important to you and if you honour that or not. You decide if you are a writer.

Back to writing.

And Virginia Woolf said,

Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.

Writing for the most part, to me, was both delightful and stressful. Thankfully, the delight outweighed the stress. I have this strong love-hate relation with writing where constant merry-go-round of inspirations coming in and out have compelled me to confront what it means to be a writer. I could be a content writer, a journalist, an author, a blogger, and that still makes me a writer, regardless of what people have to say. Each piece that I’ve put out is a form of expression and if it makes people feel some time of way about it, it is art in its own right.

Though I love writing and started out with reading fan-fictions for ideas, I never got into writing fan-fictions but I did enjoy hearing the stories that my peers wrote for their own pleasure. College was memorable, I met people who would write for plays, songs, and poetry. I would sit with these people for hours, see their expressions as they describe their characters, the flow of their stories, and we would then write about anything our imagination brought us in that moment. It was beautiful to be able to not care how absurd the stories sounded and how they wrote it.

Yet, the more inspired I was, the more fearful I became. As I grew older and started making a living as a copywriter and web content writer, I have been more conscious in what I have written. This too, falls back to my current work-in-progress, Yung & Jess — a coming of age story where the protagonist, Yung, who is struggling to fit in a world of not only prejudice and firm standards, but even serious legal sanctions as she falls for a woman named Jess. This friendship turned into romance creates a love and longing between these two individuals, one that is genuine and earnest, especially when their inclination and acts are deemed `unspeakable’, and Yung’s future, career and family ties can be at stake.

I would like to be clear on the path that I am with as I write this book, but there’s always a fear at the back of my mind fearing the readers will not understand or think there is no direction in it. Ironically, I am also terrified at them understanding it and being able to encode the messages behind certain paragraphs that hold my deepest of emotions. To a certain extent, I believe each writer have dealt with these feelings where we write from experiences, but not exact experiences. I have too many unwritten stories and while some managed to be on paper, they bring back unpleasant memories of my trauma. Pieces that I have written at 4.00 am in the morning, in the darkest times of my life, where my fingers came to life and typed words that were breathed in with vehemence; where I my tears would drip on the keyboard and I was relieved towards the end.

Now when those scenarios replay vividly in my memory, I realize that I was in such a dark place and I still am, but writing gave me a voice, it became the voice I was looking for in my state of brokenness and emptiness. More importantly, the old pieces of writing allows me to reflect on myself and remind me how far I’ve come. I have gone through a lot, and I will continue to face adversity and keep thriving. I’ll laugh at the scars and bruises and smile later on when I am healed. To say the least, I look forward to this journey in writing my book, Yung & Jess.