The most common feedback I’ve gotten about my writing style for this blog is that it’s very me. Well, what I write is centered around me.
I write in the first person. Everything I’ve written so far is refracted through my personal point of view on things. Feel free to analyse the fancy literary techniques I use to make what I write sound like a secret glimpse into my inner-thoughts, creating this personal conversation that exists between you, the reader/my friend, and me.
Sometimes these stories are about my past. The stuff that I’ve already sorted through and have no shame in dissecting in front of the public, like my very first post about my name or my second time writing about diversity (the ‘second time’ is an intentional jab – context will not be divulged unless you personally ask for it).
But sometimes, I feel compelled to share the stuff that I haven’t fully chewed on. Yet, sometimes in the half-masticated (one of my fave SAT words) mess brings to life some of my memorable pieces, like my part 2 on love and my recent post on Easter. Vulnerability sometimes is worth the potential trainwreck of imperfection.
The reason why I’m sharing how I craft my content is because writing is hard. While writers are not shy about how hard it is to write, writers find it harder to articulate the difficulty in pouring out a part of yourself into something you create.
To add onto the pressure of intentionally expressing what you want to communicate, there is always a massive risk of misinterpretation or falling on deaf ears.
This fear is true no matter what you write – words, music, scripts, code; writing is your soul bared out for all to scrutinise.
I’ve heard that one way to overcome the hard parts of writing is to remove yourself from the piece. Just be a robot – write the words, churn it out and forget about it. Write, churn, forget.
But with my style of writing that I actually really enjoy and do really well, it’s impossible to remove me from writing about me. Plus, I’m a strong advocate for bringing you to your work, especially when it comes to the creating process, or else it’s just work that anyone could’ve done.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been emotionally unstable, so it’s honestly been quite hard for me to write in this style.
Not because my life is down in the dumps or that everything sucks, but because my life has never been this uncertain. Every single week is a complete shift of scenery, and I wish I was exaggerating for dramatic effect.
(Long bit ahead. Feels vent-y. Scroll to the paragraph beyond the comic to skip reading about my week. The next chunk is a lot and I won’t be hurt if you’re not in the mood to learn about my week, I promise.)
Let’s use the past week as an example.
Last week’s Monday, I was at peace that I would find a job in KL and settle down in a church, probably the one my friend took me to on Sunday because I instantly felt at home.
On Tuesday, I told friends of my Monday decision, got really stressed out from the emotional toll of TWO movies in one day (on top of life, of course), and was enjoying this sensation of knowing that I can start building a life in KL.
But then I had an interview on Wednesday night with one of my favourite churches in LA and was offered an internship (which they said they’d send after receiving my ministry recommendation). I couldn’t freak out about that potential offer because I had TWO interviews on the very next day.
On Thursday, I went into the interview that I wouldn’t take the first job anyway, but I went for the experience. Because I did that, I had lunch at my old church that was nearby because they have really amazing fried rice and stir-fried veggies. And I bumped into my childhood pastor, who pretty much offered me to join him to go to Laos and potentially work for my childhood church.
Right after that, I went into an interview that felt like the appropriate career move, but the thought of having to work on Saturdays made me sad, and that my expected salary may have been out of range for the company. (And as I edit this post on Monday night, I received an email saying that they accepted my salary request.)
Regardless of all the interviews, I watched Beyoncé’s Homecoming and saw my friend act for the first time in our 4 years of amazing friendship. Then I got home at midnight because bubble tea hangs. I couldn’t sleep just yet because had to pack, clean up the house, and squeeze in some sleep before my 10AM flight to Hong Kong the same morning. Also, I live about an hour away from the airport, so I decided to sleep on the sofa instead of the bed so that my body would nap instead of sleep through alarms.
After I landed on Friday in Hong Kong, a meeting with my dad’s friend was set for Saturday morning. And by Saturday noon, I’m pretty sure God just cleared out any plans I had for KL out the window. I’ve always known God’s got big plans for me, plans that aren’t confined to a country – so maybe, this is it.
Now here I am, on a late Sunday night, realising I need to write something so I scramble this blog post together for my self-imposed Monday deadline.
It’s a cliché to say life is uncertain, but this is just a glimpse of one single week of my past 4 months. Some weeks are worse than this and I’m just saving the stories for future blog posts.
Yet I make a blog post happen every week, no matter how overwhelming or uneventful my life is even if what I write about is me and my life. Removing myself from the creating process and mechanically produce content would betray who I am and my fundamental creative beliefs.
So here’s my alternative suggestion for the creative process, especially with writing in mind:
Embrace imperfections, and keep doing it no matter how impossible it feels.
One of my favourite advice from professors is my acting teacher in a singing class: not every note has to be a home-run.
I won’t always write the most successful blog post ever, but I can keep trying. After all, imperfection is relatable. It’s why I love Donald Miller’s books, and why I enjoy reading the Gospels with the disciples flubbing up all the time. In the wise words of Hannah Montana, nobody’s perfect.
And if I stop writing when I don’t feel like writing, I’d be missing the point of why I started this blog.
One of my favourite compliments about my blog is that my friend says it makes her feel like I’m still around even though I’m not physically in the same place as her.
I love how this blog gives my friendships, especially the long-distance ones (which is like all of them), a way to stay connected with me, as if I’m telling them stories through my 2,000 word epics that come out every week.
The funny thing is that even though I write about me, this blog is not meant for me at all. If I want to rant or vent, then I have a private journal for that. This blog is written with my friends, family and people in mind. And when we do something for others, out of love and without any expectation of a return, we do the impossible, like writing a long blog post every week.