I’ve been toying with the idea of being a full time writer ever since I was 16 years old. “Toying” is a wrong word to use. I was, in fact, pretty serious about it that I started writing stories back then in high school and throughout university life. I could just sit in front of my PC and type for hours, letting my imagination flow without worrying much about the outcome. I didn’t just write stories; I also spent a huge amount of time writing my journals.
But after I graduated from my bachelor degree, I lost the self-discipline and determination to write even though ideas and stories keep coming to me. It will just come and go because I never did make any extra effort to record them. There were just too many distractions from starting new jobs and my social life also got in the way.
Not long after, blogging became a thing so I started my own blog and started writing occasionally. It’s different though because ever since I started blogging, I constantly worry about my readers. What would they think? Would they agree or disagree with my thoughts? What if they think my content is silly? What if my grammar and spelling sucks since I’m not a native English speaker?
My dream to become a full time writer was drifting away from me. Occasionally I would go to Google and look for inspirations. I would spend hours reading tips and guides on writing but it was just a time filler. I haven’t been taking it seriously until a local author who happened to be a friend to two of my friends got connected to me via Facebook. Her name is Gina Yap. I told her about my self-discipline in writing, mental block and how I get worried about my English. More than that, I told her that I cannot do what she’s doing; going out in public to talk about her books and promoting them.
So, the first reminder on how my book was coming along came on November 2013 from Gina as she began sharing her personal experience. I told her I had a goal to publish a book in 2014. She told me to write 500 words a day and it’ll be done in no time. “Well, I don’t write with the word count in mind. I write with my passion or excitement at heart. Some days, I write just a sentence and some days, I lose count of words.” Gina shared, “It’s a personal devotion to it, at least a few hundred words a day, regardless of how crappy the content is, just keep the engine going, you know.”
Of course, after the chat, I was inspired but being inspired and actually doing it was two different things. Yeah, I’m laughing in my head right now as I’m writing this. I didn’t start writing seriously. I just continued with my blogging occasionally. Then came June 2014, Gina again sent me a private message in Facebook to nudge me. Guilty! I didn’t have any progress to share with her. This was the time I actually asked her about promoting her books.
As it turned out, Gina and I are quite alike in terms of not wanting to be in the centre of attention. She shared with me that she rejected many invites to book fairs and forums to talk about her books because she hated crowds and public speaking. She thought her publisher would do the talking and she would just sign some books. But she soon realised that an author need to connect with the fans and soon she learned to embrace it. After a while, it just becomes something natural to her and it’s no sweat anymore.
“Gina, if you’re reading this, I want to thank you because you’re the one person who got me seriously thinking about being a published writer and also not giving up on writing.”
Last night as I was browsing the Internet, I stumbled upon Jeff Goins’ website. He’s a writer. I just got attracted to visit his website and browse through it completely. I downloaded his free e-book called The Writer’s Manifesto and after I finished reading it, I could relate instantly. He just talked about the very same problem I’ve been suffering for years!
It just hit me hard that I decided I shall no longer give myself excuses to not write. So, to do this, I took up his writing challenge called My 500 Words: A Writing Challenge. I’m the 1132th person to take up this challenge where I’m required to write at least 500 words everyday for 31 days. This is the very same advice Gina gave me since last year and now it’s time to take it seriously. I don’t need to find time to write, I need to create time for it. The question lingers in my mind, “If not now, then when?”
(This is post #1, a part of My 500 Words: A Writing Challenge)