Stories swirls about my brain like an annoying nag. So many had come to me but I ignorantly denied the compulsion to give them life. ‘I’ll get to it later,’ I’d reassure myself. The words gradually visited less and less often often, forcing to annotate the fleeting sparks of creativity at its’ convenience rather than mine. To my disappointment, I have not made much in the way of progress in finishing my book since obtaining my MA. As a matter of fact, for all my plans of grandeur, I have not even had the motivation to submit the publishable essays to editors to be considered to be published.
My line of thinking was that I didn’t want to piece-meal my best work by publishing them prior to my book being ready. My reservation was that I didn’t want to write new book-worthy essays and have them disqualified to be published because they were previously published on my blog. My fear was that I couldn’t present the perfect, publishable essay in every blog post, hence ruining any chances of book agents, editors, or anyone in the publishing world to see me as a worthy undiscovered author. My strategy was to segregate book-worthy essays, from blog-worthy essays, and to only post the most perfect essay that will go viral & effortlessly lead to being a published author. However, what resulted in all my extravagant planning and strategy was being too overwhelmed to write at all. The very idea of reserving one set of writing for this and other writing for that caused me to forego writing all together.
Until one of my best friends in the world inspired me to do something different. I seem to have an odd talent in making friends with those younger than myself … sometimes by decades. This persistent phenomena perhaps is an attestation to the maturity of all the wonderful brilliant women I call my best friends, or its an attestation to my own lack of maturity … who really knows. Nevertheless, my best friend M is probably the most ambitious person I know. To witness such conscious, proactive, and strategic effort in self-advocacy in a male-dominated industry was awe-inspiring.
So much so that it forced me to re-evaluate my ultimate goal(s) as a writer. Do I need the validation of having a published book in order for me to be a writer? Do I want to write because I feel like I have worthwhile stories to share or do I only write with the aspiration of being published? What is my definition of a successful writer?
That is when the concept of Zìjǐ Xiězuò (自己寫作) (roughly translated to I Write for Myself) came into fruition. At a bare minimum I have to actually write to be any resemblance of a writer. And in order for me to write, I have to let go my personal mandate that being published is the only worthy reason to tell my stories. I cannot continue to create an infinite amount of hoops for myself to jump through in order to start writing. So here I am. Writing. First time in years. Feels rather good.