A New Page

After realizing that I’m losing track of the other blog posts I’ve written, I’ve decided to organize them into one place. You can check out these posts on my Contributions page. It’s really satisfying and gratifying to see my other works and that others value them. I hope that this is the case for those who find them for the first time. 🙂

 

Storytelling Live: I Did It!

Last Monday, I had the PeriSkype with Anita Wing Lee, and I had a lot of fun! It actually felt easy and liberating to tell my story about quitting a soul-sucking job and transitioning into a lifestyle and career that I find fulfilling. I was able to talk about how I’ve made little steps and taken risks to grow and become who I was meant to be. Hopefully the people tuning in found it helpful.

I came across a few realizations after coming off of the PeriSkype:

1. I am actually pretty good at speaking in front of an audience. I wasn’t nervous at all! And that was weird enough for me. I remember being too nervous to speak in front of people for the longest time, and when I did, I was self-conscious and worried about messing up. With this, though, I was at ease and actually wanted to talk more.

2. I want to do this again. It was really cool to give advice through video and to talk to somebody who just gets it like Anita does. Also, even though I didn’t know the audience that well, I knew that they were interested enough to tune in, and that makes me want to share my story even more.

3. Coaching has had a huge impact on me, and it didn’t really hit me until I did the PeriSkype. I mean, I did get to write out my thoughts and feelings for Anita – which she has kindly put into a blog post on her website – but this opportunity has allowed me to reflect on the build up over the last several months. And it was a big build up; I just didn’t realize it until I was able to look back and appreciate what I did and what happened to me.

For everything that has happened to me, I am truly grateful.

20s Life, the Writing Universe, and Lani

I’d like to say that I’ve come to be on friendly terms with my fellow WordPress bloggers. It’s always so comforting and humbling to know that there are other like-minded people out there who are moving along the same path as you. I feel like part of a supportive and passionate community here.

With that in mind, I’ve thought about ways that I could delve deeper into this community. I’ve wanted to further connect with the folks in this community, and to work with other bloggers. And what better way to do that than to interview a writer?

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This is Lani, from https://lanivcox.wordpress.com/. She’s awesome.

Lani was on board to do this from the beginning. I’ve always admired her: she is a fantastic writer, makes great content, has a really interesting life in Thailand – and grew up in Hawaii!, and has written and self-published a book. And she was gracious enough to answer several questions I had about being in your twenties and starting a possible career (whether professional or amateur) in writing.

Camille: Let’s start off by debunking any ideas or advice you’ve seen about being a writer.

Lani: Hmmm. I guess it would have to be that there is a specific way to do something. In a creative industry, rules feel more like guidelines or suggestions.

C: What about debunking anything about being in your twenties? What has it been like to be in your twenties?

L: Wow. I think my 20s was vastly different than 20-somethings today. So, what may be true for me will not necessarily be true for you, and any advice you hear about this decade of your life will most likely fall on oblivious ears. After all, I think it’s the job of youth culture to pave new roads and see things in exciting ways.

For what it is worth, I tried so many new things during this time, took a lot of risks, but I also had a lot of debt, so I felt like all I was doing was working. At one point I had 3 jobs. My 20s was about growing up and I had a lot of it to do.

C: Do you wish you did anything differently?

L: Of course, but I know the outcome of my choices now. If I went back and changed them the results most likely would have changed, too.

But my advice, if I can read between the words here, is not to take things too seriously. Have fun. Life moves incredibly fast and before you know it, you’re in your 30s and then 40s…it’s sobering and humbling and really, you’re just lovely. Don’t be hard on yourself.

C: What was a day in the life of Lani in her twenties like versus a day in your life right now, especially when it comes to your writing?

L: In my 20s I wasn’t consciously aware that I wanted to be a writer, although when I graduated high school I wrote a list of GOALS that included, “Write the great American novel.” Then I promptly forgot about it. I took a playwriting class in college, but it terrified me because I tried to hide my non-fiction life through fiction and my professor gently asked, “Is this real?”

A day in the life of Lani in her 20s is incredibly different than my life now. I was working more and not focused on the craft per se. I remember in college telling my friends, “I have a lot of ideas for movies,” and scratching my head over it. Looking back, I realize how much my mind was constantly churning out picture stories and letting me know that I had a good mind to write.

These days, I write every day and with more direction. I live overseas which allows me make a comfortable living working part-time as an English teacher – and best of all I have more time to write. This was a deliberate move that I made over 5 years ago, but I didn’t start working on my first book until I was in my early 30s. My 20s ended disastrously so for the next decade I clawed my way around trying to understand what I needed to do and soon enough re-discovered writing with intensity.

C: How did you get your start in writing?

L: I started writing when I was 13. We had recently moved from Hawaii to the middle of the Mojave Desert and for the first time in my young life I couldn’t go outside and truly play and I didn’t have any friends. I was one of a few Asians in town, too. This was when I started to become obsessed with reading and started a diary.

Eventually, I had the thought that I think a lot of us have and that was, “Hey, I can write this. I can write better.” So, 13 year old Lani found a typewriter (it magically appeared in the kitchen one day) and started a couple of stories. I was trying to emulate a Sweet Valley High or Nancy Drew series, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was writing for fun, but I got stuck. It was then that I decided fiction was too hard. Hahaha.

C: What is your relationship with writing?

L: Writing is my best friend. It’s been my constant companion. We have a good relationship. Writing always waits for me and is incredibly patient. I feel fortunate that I have a creative outlet that helps me to feel centered and free.

C: Has your writing saved you in any way?

L: I can’t imagine my life without writing. Every morning I get up, make coffee and write in my journal. In its highest state, writing keeps me focused and in its lowest it’s an overindulgence of emotions. It’s saved me many times, too many times, just like the right book at the right time.

C: How did you decide on getting your book published?

L: Getting my book published was a long journey. Years ago, I queried agents, but never got anywhere. I had done a lot of research and worked hard on trying to understand what I needed to do. The book underwent so many different transformations, too. Ultimately, I was discouraged and let the manuscript rest for long periods of time. I wasn’t sure what to do anymore.

Then I decided to start a blog under the book title and post it chapter by chapter. I wanted to know if I would get any feedback and was it really that uninteresting? Basically it was my way of putting it out there. Surprisingly, I received private emails from folks confessing their own similar story or experience. I’ve put almost zilch PR work into it, but it gets found because I wrote about a topic that doesn’t get much air time.

I also read some sample chapters at writer’s groups. I received thoughtful feedback there and had started another blog where I still write regularly and this got me in touch with a wider audience who gave me encouraging feedback on my writing in general.

So, this is all related. I kept writing even though I hadn’t published my book. Finally, I got brave enough to ask for the help I needed. First, I sent out a “hey will you read my book” email to my friends. Three of them got back to me with copious notes and questions and I took all of their comments into consideration, which as you can imagine was a lot of work. Next, I had my Oxford-comma-obsessed friend do a brutal final comb through of all of my grammar mistakes.

I also decided to do an audio book. This allowed me to read it again and catch mistakes or make changes. It was also a major pain, but I love audiobooks and I’d do it all over again. I learned a lot and now I know what I need to do the next time around.

By this time, I was pretty much set on self-publishing. I had done more research and felt this was going to be the better way to go. Memoir, from a nobody like me, isn’t something agents are clamoring for and that’s okay. Indie publishing is a viable option, no waiting for someone else’s permission to follow your heart – and after ALL that work, I did it and now I’m working on my second one.

C: Do you have any advice for new bloggers, especially ones who aren’t sure about where to go with their writing?

L: Blogging is such a great way to experiment. I’ve joined WP blogging challenges, poetry classes and MOOC writing classes and posted assignments on my blog.

Blogging can also be a good way to discipline yourself into writing and sharing on a regular basis. And just as important, blogging allows you to build a community, find like-minded friends and put yourself out there, so go for it.

Be as structured or free as you want, it’s yours, but do it. Why not? You might find out something you like better or gain a clearer sense of how you want to write. Good luck, stop by the blog and introduce yourself and thank you, Camille!

Thank you, Lani!

I am very grateful that I got to know Lani better, and was able to wrangle some great advice at the same time. If you’re reading this and have yet to follow her work, check out Life, the Universe, and Lani!

The Premio Dardos Award

Erika Kind was very thoughtful in nominating my blog for the Premio Dardos Award. I’ve seen a lot of these kinds of awards popping up (like the Liebster Award I received weeks ago), and while they are similar to chain mail, I can’t help but be grateful that people have taken the time to nominate others. So, thank you, Erika! 🙂 ❤

 

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The Premio Dardos Award goes to bloggers who demonstrate “cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.”

I love that there’s an award that recognizes such values in action. It makes me happy that there are so many writers who appreciate such thoughtful and meaningful content.

I’m supposed to nominate 15 bloggers for this award, but honestly, everybody I subscribe to has the intention of spreading important values. So, I guess I’m nominating everyone! 😉

Liebster Award – TMU

The lovely Michelle nominated Thoughtful Minds United for the Liebster Award, which recognizes new bloggers. We are very grateful for the nomination and some of us contributors have decided to answer the questions that Michelle had set out for us (as per the rules).

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1. What is your favourite colour? Why?
Purple – it gives the impression of royalty and significance. It’s in between calming and trustworthy blue, and passionate and loud red – and I think that my personality is in the middle (veering towards the blue side). Also, it looks good with my colouring.

2. If you are given the chance to be someone else, who will it be and why?
There are two options here: a well-known politician so I can find out how they come to such big (and often insane, hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing) decisions, or an unsung, unknown hero living on the outskirts of society. It would be so interesting to get inside Kim Jon Un’s head and actually experience North Korea, but so rewarding to see through the eyes of a Good Samaritan living in poverty.

3. Where is your preferred tourist destination here on earth?
I’ve always always always wanted to visit France. The last two movies I watched, Midnight in Paris and Amélie, renewed that desire. One day!

4. Do you believe in fairy tales and happily ever after? Why?
I believe in the power and magic of fairy tales, and how they can inspire wonder and creativity in people. As for happily ever after, well… it’s not so much a belief as it is a hope for everyone to experience. We all deserve happiness.

5. Past, Present or Future?
Present. As somebody who practices yoga and attempts to meditate, it is so hard to stay in the present moment, which is why I value it so much. And it’s the one moment that matters the most.

6. Who will you choose, the one you love or the one who loves you?
I’m going to assume that I have to pick between two suitors here. The funny thing is that I read that if somebody likes you, it is highly likely you will in turn like that person. Based on that alone, we’re at an impasse haha.

Unless “the one you love” doesn’t love you back, and you don’t love “the one who loves you?” Yikes. I’d rather face unrequited love than break another person’s heart.

7. What or who inspired you to do blogging?
I finally decided to make my writing more public. Before, I would write in my journal and leave it at that. But then I wanted to do more because I love writing so much, and blogging became a natural fit.

8. If you can relate your life to a book, what will it be? Why?
I don’t think there’s a single book out there that would be close to what my life is like right now (mostly because books are so exciting and there’s a clear plot or destination). All I can think of is The Devil Wears Prada. Not for the fashion, but for the shitty yet valuable job post-graduation.

9. What is your favourite food?
This is hard. I know I’d be sick of any food that I would eat every day for the rest of my life. And I love food: Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Canadian, American, etc. And I love all of the food groups. I do have a sweet tooth, though, and love chocolate, pie, cake, cookies, waffles, etc. So I guess I don’t have one?

10. Love or Money? Why?
Love. I’ve answered this in my 15 Questions Tag post, so I’ll just quote Dumbledore again:

There is a room in the Department of Mysteries that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than the forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you [Harry Potter] possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all.

11. Friends or more than friends?
I think I have a solid group of friends, and that’s always growing. So I’ll pick more than friends because I have yet to experience something like that and I bet it would be awesome.

Here are the rules a nominated blogger needs to do in order to accept the Liebster Award:

  1. Link the person who nominated you to your blog post and let them know you answered their questions.
  2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the nominator.
  3. Nominate other bloggers for the award.
  4. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

I will nominate:

Amanda @ Reading Over People’s Shoulders
Rebecca @ Humyn
Anna @ Millennial Creativity
Ana @ QuarterVida
Amy @ Ramblings of an EB Grad

And your questions are:
1. If you could give advice to a crowd of people, what would it be?
2. Why do you write?
3. Night or day?
4. What’s your favourite joke?
5. How do you want to create a positive impact?
6. Is there a movie that means a lot to you and has shaped your life in any way?
7. What is your favourite childhood memory?
8. What is/was your favourite subject in school?
9. Summer or winter?
10. What was the happiest day of your life?
11.  Is there somebody you want to thank for anything right now?

Thoughtful Minds United

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I was so flattered and surprised that Felicia, the creator and administrator of Thoughtful Minds United (TMU), liked my writing enough to include me as a contributor to this community blog. I wrote my first post, “Taking the Leap into Writing,” last month and I’m glad to see that it has inspired other writers with their journey.

I never thought that I would be able to join a team of writers just months after rebooting my blog. I know that it’s a sign that I’m supposed to be doing this. I am so excited to get to know my fellow bloggers and write more in order to help our community.

I hope to see you on TMU! 🙂