Trust Your Tomatoes

I have a weird relationship with tomatoes.

Here’s why.

“Tomatoes will make your cheeks rosy”. Mum always whispered that to me at the dinner table.

Then she would say, while pointing at the TV, “Look at that girl on the TV. She has rosy cheeks because she eats lots of tomatoes. Isn’t she pretty?”

Before I was able to say anything, she had already handed me a bowl of sliced red tomatoes sprinkled with a little bit of salt. “Eat this so you’ll have rosy cheeks too.”



I hate tomatoes. I would have liked to say that to Mum, but I knew very well what would happen if I complained. She will fill my bowl with more tomatoes.

I wished there was a quicker way to eat those tomatoes. I could pick them one by one to prolong my agony, or I could shove them all in my mouth and quickly swallow them all.

I chose the second one. The faster I did it, the better. I simply want to get it done and over in a flash.

Days and weeks had passed, but I never noticed any change on my cheeks. It never turned rosy. I pinched my cheeks to make it rosy. But it still went back to its original skin tone.

I complained to Mum, but all she told me was that I did not eat enough tomatoes to make is rosy. Believe me, that was a big mistake. My ordeal began by having a bowl of red tomatoes again, followed by another bowl, and some more on a regular basis.

As a young girl, my desire to look beautiful like those girls on the television prompted me to eat more tomatoes. I feasted on tomatoes every day. One big red tomato for breakfast. Another one for lunch, and occasionally, for snacks instead of lollies.

Another surprise from my Mum came when she cooked me bitter melon with boiled rice for dinner. According to her, it would keep me healthy and would make my blood bright red. What? It made me wonder what the point was when my blood is already red. Her defence was, it will be good for my blood, and I will never get sick again. Yep! That was according to her.

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For the record, she was not even a doctor, nor a nutritionist.

Honestly, I don’t understand her fascination with colours, especially RED.

I ate it. There was no point in complaining. That horrible green, the wrinkly vegetable was so bitter. I crumpled my face as I swallowed a mouthful of bitter melon with rice. A glass of water was not enough to rid that bitter taste in my mouth. I wished lollies were hanging around at the time, but all I could see were tomatoes here and there. (Grrrr…!)

She ate a spoonful of bitter melon without the rice to show me that it wasn’t so bad, just to convince me that it tastes delicious.

I gave in. So, I ate some more again, until I finished my dinner ultimately. Huh, what a night, I thought.

My Mum introduced me one time to the veggies that she bought at the market. One, in particular, was the broccoli.




I didn’t realise that broccoli was a vegetable on its own. I had this crazy idea that broccoli was a cluster of premature baby trees all bunched up together because they failed to grow as individual trees.

Oh, so now she wanted me to eat trees as well. Oh gosh!

  • So, what was this story means?

It was all about TRUST.

Trust – not because she was my mother, but because she knew what she was talking about. (I really hope so).

I trusted her because she knew so much about vegetables, what they were for and why they were good for me.

I trusted her because she was an excellent cook, as well.

I was barely a teenager when I consumed so many tomatoes and bitter melon and all those sorts of vegetables I never knew existed in this world. It was all because my Mum wanted me to like and eat vegetables.

Our house looked like a jungle with so many green veggies lying around in the kitchen. She even put some bok choy in a jar instead of flowers.

Her bid to teach me to eat vegetables was her desire to keep me from getting sick all the time.

If during that time, Google was already part of our life, I could have quickly asked Google for information. But Google was still years away.

I believed her. I trusted her for a very simple reason that she knew what I wanted – to have rosy cheeks.

Mum provided me with information that will fulfil my expectation, so, she introduced tomatoes to me, that it is suitable for my skin. I was delighted that I would look like those stars on the TV.

At the same time, my Mum accomplished her desire to teach me to eat vegetables. (I found out later that tomatoes are not even vegetables but fruits.) Indeed, it would make her very happy if she found out about that. Two birds in one stone. It made her job more manageable.

My Mum knew what I need, and that is to be strong and healthy and not to get sick frequently. So, she made sure that she can help me with it.

In other words, she delivered her promise.

  • What does this story mean for you and me?

For new authors like us, the way to build trust between us, the authors, and our readers is to stay true to our objectives and convictions.

We cannot establish trust if we were not honest to ourselves. If we promise something, we have to make sure we follow through.

My Mum promised to keep me healthy, and she followed it through by telling me the benefits I will reap from eating those vegetables.

To us authors, our promise to our readers is to give them an exciting adventure when they pick up our book from the shelf and read it.

When we established trust, we also create a bond, an emotional connection with our readers.

They trust us that we will meet what they expect from us.

They expect to learn from us.  Our readers expect that what we tell in our story will broaden their perspective in life.

They expect to be inspired, to take them on a journey, and they expect a happy ending.

But most of all, they want to be entertained.

Being entertained was the primary reason why they read our book. Our readers can sense our personality through our stories. The words we used, how we portray our characters, and how we make them feel when they read our book, even after they have already finished reading it.

Building connections and establishing trust with our readers will take some time.

But always remember, be clear about what they can expect from our work. That’s where trust begins.

Finally, let us not forget we have a dream to pursue. Let’s put our hands together and work towards our vision.

Let’s make it happen.

Till next “vine”.



There is a Writer in You

We were all storytellers once upon a time. Why? Because we were children once upon a time.

Children are good storytellers. If you haven’t noticed, well let me tell you something.

Children use different behaviour and tactics to get your attention, to make you listen to them, and most of all, to get what they want from you.

They don’t hesitate to tell you what they think they know.

They are not afraid to say what they have on their minds.

And most importantly, they have vivid imaginations.

They spin and weave stories from what they heard, saw, or even just their imaginations.


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And here’s how:

  • They know that Grandma would be happy to hear about their day at school so, they sit on Grandma’s lap and tell their story in detail.
  • Their eager eyes had never missed noticing their sister’s side glances on that particular boy. So, they sensed that their sister would be anxious to listen to them about the girl they saw the boy was kissing.
  • And of course, who would believe that they saw a ghost. Still, they made you believe them because they described it to you candidly and believably.

You and I were those kinds of children once before. We told stories without fear, hesitation, boundaries, or limitations.

Our stories appealed to children of our ages and to people older than us.

YOU were that child. You have a keen interest in everything around you. You are filled with energy and spirit, and nothing is enough.

You were simply a child telling a story without being judged for accuracy or quality of your account.

And you humbly took the stand to be a storyteller, the way you knew how.

So, what happened to this child?

You have become older, and suddenly, that little voice inside you had stopped telling stories.

You began to fear limitations – the set of rules, the do’s, and don’ts of writing effectively.

You feel inadequate with limited knowledge of your craft because you continually compare yourself to the young and more accomplished writers out there.

Perhaps, you put your desires and dreams on hold or delaying it for another day.

Perhaps, you created a life based on what others are expecting you to do.

And maybe, you worked hard and drained your life and energy for the approval of your family, friends, or peers.

So now, you became entrapped with FEAR – fear of failure, rejection, and fear of being judge by the same people you tried to please.

You sacrificed what matters to you the most, and that is to let that little voice inside you tell great stories, just like you used to do.


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Press your Re-start Button

It’s not too late in life to re-visit your dream or create a new goal. You only need to know what you want in life.

The problem with dreams, it becomes impossible to reach because you lost the patience and the perseverance to learn new things.

You continually told yourself that you are not good at it, and you talked yourself out of it.

You stopped to progress, improve, and develop yourself, simply because you don’t want to be disappointed if what you were hoping for may NOT turn out the way you want it.

But, doing nothing is already a decision you made for yourself. It is a failure itself.

Just like you, it scares me to death to imagine failing to achieve my dream and that strong desire that remains unfulfilled.

My fears of disappointment, failing, and being rejected, led me to put aside and postpone my writing. I have this idea that I could write or have a better idea tomorrow or next week, maybe next month.

I put aside for tomorrow what I could do today. I was hoping it would be a different day until I realised that what I put off for tomorrow remained the same and that tomorrow becomes today.

Whether it was your writing or chores that needed your attention, breaking free from the habit of postponing things was a real challenge.

It would only rob you the ability to focus on what is possible for you to do.

It may sound crazy, but what makes me get up every morning and turn my laptop on was this quote from Paulo Coelho. It always hits me on the head like a ton of bricks (Ouch!).

Paulo Coelho said, “Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream impossible: the fear of failure.”

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I don’t know so much about Paulo Coelho, except that he is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist. He is known for his novel The Alchemist. When he was 17 years old, his parents committed him to a mental institution because he told his mother that he wanted to be a writer. He abandoned his dream of becoming a writer and enrolled in law school at his parents’ wishes. A year later, he left school and lived a life as a hippie, and he turned to drugs. Despite his success as an actor, journalist, and theatre director, his life seemed incomplete because he never achieved his dream of becoming a writer. He continually pursued it and published his books. One of them was The Alchemist which became an international bestseller.

There is one thing for sure: You don’t have to be perfect to achieve what you want in life.

You were a different person ten, twenty, thirty, or forty years ago. You are not that same person anymore. You grew up, and you learned new things.

You succeeded in one area of your life but maybe failed in another.

You fell down, but you got up and moved on and tackled the day ahead of you.

As long as you find the courage to keep going, and not to be too concerned too much about failing, you can achieve your dream.

It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to realise your dream as long as you don’t stop. So, take your journey at your own pace.

I am here as a friend to encourage you and once in a while, nudge you with my elbow each time to you stop.

Do not let anybody say NO to your dreams. It’s yours. Own it!

Always remember: Dream big and make it happen.

Hey, next time I come back, put your kettle on. I’ve got some stories to tell you.

See yah!





Stop Dreaming, and Start Writing

Is there someone in your life that whenever you see or hear this person’s name makes you boil inside and makes you strive harder to be a better person?

I am not talking about our ex-es. I am referring to those people who think you are too old to begin a new journey in your life. In other words, you’re in your 40’s or 50’s, and worst of all, because you’re hitting the high 60’s.

There are also people in our lives who we look up to as mentor or role model who believes in you and push you a little bit harder to achieve your goal.

Today, I told myself that I am merely a friend who will encourage or get your attention to act NOW – write or finish your book.

A dream is good for our soul, but if it stays as a dream only, then it becomes an unfinished business for you.

This dream is always in your head. You think about it all the time. You tell your friends and your family even to yourself, promising to get on to it one day.

But that one day never came.

When this scenario happens, that dream becomes like a bad smell lingering around and following you everywhere you go. Then, you begin to struggle to prove to everyone that you can do it. You want to show that you are good at something, like everybody else, regardless of your age.

We all have unfinished business in our life. It could be anything, not only writing your book. But the only thing that was stopping you from taking that leap is your age. You think you are too old to do anything challenging. Perhaps you worked so hard during the early years in your life, and now you think it’s time to put your feet up and relax and enjoy your life.

According to Walt Disney, “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It”. Funny, because I only look up to Walt Disney as the icon for animated cartoon films and creator of cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse. But never in my wildest dreams did I think that it would inspire me to do what I have dreamt of for many, many, years.


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I still clearly remember when I was very young, I was told off by my parents for something I have done, which they made a big deal out of it. I was upset and went to bed, crying. I let out my frustrations by writing it on a piece of paper, in the dark. The only light I had was from the moon shining directly on my window and from the reflection from the street light. I penned a short poem out of anger and gave it to my teacher for our school newspaper. Weeks after that, my poem was published but only occupied a tiny space in the corner of the page. But, the sheer joy of seeing my name in print even though my name was misspelt gave me a different feeling, which up to this time was hard to describe.

I knew right at that time that it’s what I want to do – just write and be an author.

It was a struggle, especially always dreaming and thinking about it, and keeping that dream to myself, for a simple reason that I don’t want to be laughed at or ridiculed.

It took me decades to have the strength to start writing just to prove something, not to anybody but only to myself that if I can dream, I can make it happen too.

And so, I did.

I completed a 39-page children’s book, have it published, and gave away copies to friends and family. It was a celebration of an accomplishment. A tiny children’s book where my name is written gave me a sense of achievement and an assurance that I can do it, regardless of my age.

This time, I am finishing a romance novel. Quite ambitious, but I know I can do it again.

So, what if you are 40, 50, or 60 years old? You reached your golden years. You have so much to talk about. Write it down and let everyone read it because your readers would not even care how old you are.

They only want what your book is all about. Is your story going to inspire your readers? Is it going to make them laugh or cry, or would it make their heart race? What about making them fall in love again?

That’s all they want from you.

Your age doesn’t matter to them.

There is no more significant pain than not being able to write that story you’ve been keeping inside you.

Write like you are an author to send your message across. You are writing for your readers, so enjoy every minute of it.

So, come on, put your thinking cap and let those creative juices flow. You will be surprised to see that you have the talent and the skill to create something out of nothing, but only from pure imagination.

Here’s a thing. There are so many great authors out there who were published after they were in their 40’s. Just to name a few that I gathered from the internet:

  • Samuel Langhorne Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, was 41 years old when he published his first novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
  • If the name J. R. R. Tolkien is familiar to you, he was 45 years old when he published his first novel, The Hobbit.
  • And who will forget Laura Ingalls Wilder? She was 65 years old when the first book in her “Little House” series, Little House in the Big Woods, was published. She was 76 years old when she finished her last book.

The good thing about writing is, we learn so many things along the way. It enriches our knowledge with different facts and information that we never knew before.

It is constant learning and education. It broadens our knowledge and our way of thinking and most importantly, our approach to life.

We write to inspire or teach our readers and at the same time, we prepare ourselves too, to be that kind of person that they can look up to as an inspiration or a role model. And that is something – a significant achievement and no one can take away from you.

Learning and perfecting your craft is not easy. Still, there are so many accomplished authors out there who are very generous in providing some helpful tips to help you with your writing.

That’s how I learned, and I am still learning.

As I said, I will be here as a friend, and I can share with you what I learned from them.

Till next time. We’ll have a chat again.

Dream big and make it happen!





Social I-soul-ation

Social distancing is daunting, disheartening, and sometimes horrifying. The thought of being alone is unsettling, and loneliness could strike anytime. Being confined in your home for an uncertain time could result in depressive emotion as a result of being alone.

There will be days when we can’t fake our feelings and say we are perfectly okay, and we are coping. That horrible feeling must come out one way or another.

I don’t know but, to many, this is what they exactly feel…

Hiding from coronavirus

Hmm, I haven’t seen the postie lately. Who am I going to chase now?

Oh great! I have already watched everything on Netflix. What am I going to do now?

Diet? No one is going to see me anyway!

Quarantine will never keep us apart

Till next time. Take care of each other. CHEERS!

See the World at its Worst

I remember when I was young when I could barely reach the kitchen sink. I would stand on my toes, reaching for the soap and water to wash my hands. This is the first thing I learned in my childhood-washing my hands properly.

Now, we seemed to have forgotten how to wash our hands properly. The fundamental necessity to save our lives and others is a simple act of washing hands.

I don’t remember anymore the number of times I have washed my hands in a day. It is beginning to dry my skin. Sooner or later, our pharmaceutical companies will need to produce hand lotions or hand creams to treat skin dermatitis.

But that is the least of our problem now.

We are facing challenging times right now.  We are scared, confused and angry.

When I used the slogan on my website, “We exist to rise up and grow” as the central theme of what all my writing is going to be,  I didn’t think that one day I would be asking myself why I used this theme.

Our existence into this world is put into test. How we respond to adversity and challenges are being tested right now.

If we rise to the occasion or we crumble into pieces, we will never be able to hide it anymore. It will show who we are and what we are made of.

Some will show their real colours, and the good and the bad in all of us will appear.

Leaders will exhibit their leadership ability, and unwilling followers will display their individualistic behaviour. The others will fully cooperate and sometimes offer to help, while, there would be those who will exaggerate and push their own opinion.

We are confused because we hear different stories, and we are continually being told numerous instructions on what to do.

We are scared because we do not know how long it will last and we are afraid for our own safety and the safety of our loved ones.

Our livelihood is being threatened. We are scared to lose what we worked so hard for so many years, and then be taken away from us.

We are angry about why it must happen, and we are mad with the world.

Illustration By: Nathan May

Our anger should not be focused on others who are trying to live their lives to the best of their abilities. It is not our place to question their faith if it is the only thing that gives them strength and hope, and a feeling of security. Just like you and me and everyone else, it is their right to have faith and belief in a Devine power, which is the only thing that will give them the will to survive.

It is okay not to believe. It is perfectly understandable to put one’s faith to a Supreme power to lift your spirit and strengthen your hope and your will to survive. Let us respect everyone’s faith and belief. That is all we’ve got now.

We are not alone, and we all have dreams and purpose of living. Let us serve our purpose in life and do our best all the time.

We become prisoners in our own home, and we spent a lot of time being alone.

We dreaded going to work, and now, we lost what provides for our living.

There will be days when our hopes would be shattered. We lose focus on allowing ourselves to have the emotion and at the same time, to be supportive to our friends and family.

We exist to learn.

There is so much noise around us. It’s everywhere, and all over the place, it’s the whole world.

It is not a noise of conflict or war. It’s a cry for help to be together as one and fight this disease that is crippling the universe.

Suddenly, the unpleasant noise of conflict and war silenced us. Every nation in the world had forgotten what they were fighting for before it all happened.

We learned to forgo arrogance, the race to power, who is reliable and who is not. It’s all because we are fighting one and the same war – the war to eradicate coronavirus, immediately and for good.

Our life became a tight race. This disease knows no boundaries. It doesn’t discriminate, and it has no time limits.

We learned that human activities have contributed to this problem. There is no need to blame each other now or point the finger at anybody. We are all accountable, directly or indirectly.

We learned that the Earth doesn’t belong to us. It is our home and home for every living creatures – in land, water and air.

But for us, human beings forgot all of that. Instead, we crossed the boundaries. Dictated by greed and selfishness, those that should be left alone were disturbed and taken away from their habitat and food supply.

We disturbed what is in the air, the land and in water.

We will get through this. We will survive, and we will get better, but it will leave a mark that will reside in the deepest core of our hearts. It will heal, but it will always be sore to touch. It will become a constant reminder of outlining our journey.

We exist to learn and grow. Part of growing up is learning to co-exist with every living thing here on Earth. A million pieces of lives will cover the distance to get us to the finish line. Yet, the race may be just beginning.

What is important now and what counts the most is our attitude and our behaviour towards one another.

Give due respect and help those who need it most. We all deserve a place here on Earth, big or small, and every living thing.

For regardless of today, there will always be tomorrow to look forward to.

Till next time. Take care of each other and love one another.


We Will Prevail, The World Will Survive

I would like to take a short break from my usual routine of posting articles on writing and instead focus on what is happening around us.

I understand it is hard to concentrate on your writing when there are so many things going on around you. I, for one, is also getting distracted by so many news that is taking place right now.

It is alright to get scared. That is normal. When you are afraid, you become more cautious, alert with your surroundings, and protective not only of yourself but also of your loved ones.

We fear the invisible things. It is hard to fight and eradicate what is not visible to the naked eyes. So, here we are, trapped and tortured with fear, hysteria, negativity, and judgement.

Do not let these crush our spirit. We are better than that. Our prospect of survival depends on our ability and our behaviour towards one another.

Our government and the media have bombarded us endless news and discussions about the coronavirus that is taking over our lives now.

A great American leader, Thomas Jefferson, once said, “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.”

We looked up to our politicians governing our country for guidance, for protection, for good health, and financial security. They are also human like us with a family that needs protection and security. And, they would do everything what they think is best for everyone.

The call for a national emergency has put us all in a state of fear. To overcome that level of anxiety, we must be resilient and strong in spirit.

We are dependent on one another for survival, yet, we ignored the cry for extreme precaution and social or physical distancing.

We can no longer go to work, but it is not an opportunity to go around places and seek fun and adventure. We are not on a holiday break, not anymore.

We must think of our safety, our total well-being, and the safety of the people around us and our community. Our only hope is for our society to act as one family looking after each other, caring for one another and providing help who need it most.

We have that induced fear and anxiety of missing out or not having anything that will provide us for our daily maintenance.

This fear led us to greed and selfishness. We behaved like animals fighting for a mere piece of item that we could share with everyone.

Selfishness dictated our behaviour to take more than what we need and what we can swallow. Still, we instead have it all for fear of not having anything at all.

Let us all get reminded what Mahatma Gandhi said…

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed.”

Let this challenging experience become our teacher about life.

We learned the value of life when it diminished right before our eyes. We don’t own it. What is left of it will be taken away anytime, whether we are ready or not.

We learned to slow down, to take a deep breath, and to go home.

We move in a fast lane where the nights are no longer welcome; when the power never gets turned off, and technologies dictate everything we do, what to say and even what to eat.

We found time to sit down and have meals with our family.

We listened to music, read a good book and wrote a poem, and spent time with the people in our household.

And, for the first time, we felt that fear that we might lose what we love.

Keep your faith grounded and don’t be ashamed to pray. We will survive this horror. We will fight it, and we will pass the test.

Let us renew and cherish what is left on Earth. It is our home. It is our responsibility to take care of it.

Till next time. Take care of each other.


Does Age Really Matter?

The house is clean, dishes are done, dinner is cooked, so what’s next?

Over the years, you have accustomed yourself doing these routines daily. This is your weekend, but you are stuck with household chores.

You thought about the years – those years you put in towards working to make a living. It was a job that you dreaded sometimes, but you have to get up in the morning and go to work. No matter what your job is about, it paid your bills, your mortgage, and sent your children to school.

You found it hard to balance your priorities between work, family, and doing the job you like to do.

Just like everybody else, you chose family first, and you got yourself doing something you never enjoyed.

Your children are all grown-ups now, but sometimes you feel like you are too old to do anything anymore.

So, what if you are now in your 40’s, 50’s, or in your 60’s. Does it really matter how old you are when it comes to pursuing that dream of writing a book one day?

Are you still stuck on that chair contemplating what it would have been like if you pursued that dream?

Or, perhaps you are still wrapped up with the idea that the right time and opportunity will come. One day maybe, but not today!

That day is NOW.

You reached the prime of your life, your golden years. Everybody deserves something better – YOU, me, and the entire human race.

The opportunity that you have been waiting for has come. Right NOW, TODAY. It wouldn’t knock on your door. It is already there waiting. You need to take the necessary action and do what you have been waiting for a very long time.

This is the moment in your life to be the person you wanted to be and what you always wanted to do.

Write that book. You have so much wisdom to share.

Peel off the old YOU because it’s time for you to shine.

Do not focus on your age. It is just a number and be proud of it. The higher the number goes, the greater the experience and maturity you have within you.

You have so much to offer because your experiences are your lessons. You passed those lessons, and you learned from it, so it’s time to share it and let everyone learn from you.

So, till next time. Dream big and make it happen.


It’s Never Too Late to Write Your Book

This is the last series of “My Personal Journey as a New and Emerging Author”. I hope I was able to give you a bit of insight into my writing journey and encouragement to keep on writing in order to achieve your writing goal. After all, we all want the same thing – be an author.

Every new undertaking is not easy. It requires discipline and dedication to achieve a goal, and being a new author is one of them.

It was not a decision I made overnight, nor something I planned for a very long time.

Writing to me is like a seed that I plant on the pot. I water that seed to grow, and then I nourish that seed to blossom and bear flowers or fruits afterwards.

That seed represents my desire to write, and the flower or the fruit I reaped from that plant gave me a sustainable amount of knowledge and skills to pursue a dream.

This is what I do now – I write.

My journey is like a winding road. There is a lot of twists and turns. It is even harder when there’s no one showing you the way.

Our technology provided me with dozens of information from successful authors who worked their way to the top. Their experiences are like precious gems. They are valuable and priceless, and their generosity to share it with new authors like me are remarkable.

Yes, I read too. I am not a very enthusiastic person when it comes to reading. I dread long passages. Most definitely, I don’t have the patience to get to the “end” part of the story. I couldn’t wait to know the ending of the story. I am so bad when it comes to surprises, so sorry about that. I always jump straight to the final chapter. Silly as it may sound, but that is what makes me go back from the start and read the entire book afterwards.

I read to learn and to sharpen my skills. I read on the genre I like to write, and I also read other types that fascinate me.

I write too, and I write everything that comes into my head from poetry to stories of any kind. Sometimes, I write myself a letter when I am feeling unhappy.

These series of actions are something I have accustomed to doing over some time.

Some say it is better to stick to one genre to help me establish my own brand. I can’t entirely agree with that. I hesitated to do that simply because I’m not too fond of the idea of limiting myself to one genre.

I wanted to be able to entertain children and write children’s book too whenever some funny stories come to my head.

If I’m feeling over the moon, I wanted to be able to write romance and share that feeling to people of my age and take them with me to never-never land.

And of course, there will be moments that I like to play with words and rhyme them to come up with something inspirational.

I wish I could condense all of these into one BIG mighty word to make everyone’s writing journey easy, but there is no shortcut, unfortunately.

We all must go through the process, right from the beginning, step by step. There is no “finish line”. We must continue to move forward, learn new things, and meet new people. We should continue to grow and mature and evolve at the same time with the modern technologies that kept on changing minute by minute.

Our craft is a combination of skill and talent. They go hand in hand, and we cannot separate one from the other.

We are all born with the talent of some kind, but we need the right skill to harness that talent and make it come to life.

Anyone can write and so do you, and I can too, but it is up to us how far we want to go.

When I write, I go to a series of self-doubts that I am not good enough.

The truth is, there will always be someone who will be so much better than us. And there will be another one who will be heaps better than that “someone”. This cycle will keep on going on in the circle, and if we let that get into our heads, then writing becomes more difficult and challenging to conquer.

I doubted myself that I may not be good enough, but that is not the only thing that bugs me occasionally.

Am I too late to pursue this endeavour? Would I fit into the new generation of young and talented authors? These are like broken records that kept on playing at the back of my mind.

It scared me, so there were many occasions that I stopped and concentrated on doing other things as some people do.

But writing is so addictive. It is like a bar of chocolate that I crave to have, and if I can’t have one, it drives me nuts.

And so, I have no other alternative except to feed that addiction. I got that pen and paper and started to write…and then write some more until the lights on my brain begin to switch back on again.

I write to express my thoughts and feelings. I use words as my medium of expression – beautiful words, kind words, or inspiring words.

I stopped thinking about trying to fit into the new and young generations, and to all others who are a much better writer than me.

I write to entertain and inspire readers – that’s all and nothing else.

I still allow myself to dream. The good thing about dreams, it has no expiration date for as long as I wake up and make that dream come true.

Don’t let our age become a barrier to shine. We have good stuff to write. It’s all within us, packaged with maturity and experience.

It’s never too late to write your book. So write it!

Till next time, dream big and make it happen.

The Battle of the Block

Fighting Writer’s Block

Writing your first sentence could be daunting, horrible, or even impossible. You watched that blinking cursor patiently waiting for you to type a word, but nothing is happening. You wished it would move on its own and miraculously type some words for you if not sentences would even be better.

Imagine finishing a whole article, when you are already struggling to write a simple sentence.

You wonder too how to begin.



If you see that vast space on top of this, that is something I purposely skipped. I’ve got nothing to write, as a matter of fact. I honestly at this time of the night, couldn’t come up with anything to begin my article. It has been three days that I have struggled to shake things off my head.

I shifted the time from the day and tried to write at night. There you go, I still have blank spaces in between.

If you think I’m talking nonsense, well I agree with you on that, and

If you’re saying I am experiencing “writer’s block”, you’re not wrong.

I have no definition of what writer’s block means, nor I can give advice on how to tackle such a thing.

What I can only imagine about writer’s block is like a brick wall in front of me. It is too close to my face, and that I couldn’t see what is behind it.

I can also associate writer’s block like a white canvas with nothing on it. Even traces of sketches that the artist have done is no longer visible. Just plain white canvas.

Like many other writers, I have experienced the pain of writer’s block, not only once, twice, but many times.

Imagine how difficult it is if you write for a living or working on a deadline. Experiencing the writer’s block is going to slow your writing process.

Right now, as I write this article, I am beginning to feel the flow of some words coming out of my head, simply because I just kept on typing anything. It is like talking to a friend, whining just about everything, including not being able to finish this article.

Fighting writer’s block is like fighting with a black belt ninja expert. You want to crash that brick wall, but you need steady hands and legs to kick it down to pieces.

For someone like my age, that is not even possible. To beat it, I gave my writer’s block a name: “TORA” meaning “tiger”.

Tigers are fierce and territorial animals. They won’t leave, and they will take over.

I know that whenever Tora is hanging around me again, I feel that I can’t write. I call out his name aloud, I yell, I get angry, and I order him to get out of my way. It is easy to release your frustration, especially if there is something you could focus on, like a name.

Sometimes, I take a break. I leave my computer and watch the TV briefly. There are other times that I take a nap and then wake up fresh to start again. I know that lack of sleep is one cause of the mental block.

I never cleared up my desk. The clutter makes me keep going back to my work if there were papers and books scattered on my desk. I always feel that I have some writing to finish right away.

Fighting writer’s block or Tora as I call it is quite tricky. It would stay for as long as it likes. It could take days, weeks, or even months.


I use music as my weapon of destruction. Michael Bublé always comes to my aid. I like jazz, and I like almost all his songs. 

Some say, listening to music without the lyrics would calm us down. I have no personal preferences when it comes to that, for as long as they are my favourite songs.

TORA doesn’t like music. It makes him sleepy, lazy, and ineffective. He would still try to put in a fight and hang around for as long as he can.

He doesn’t like jazz. It would kill him to listen to me sing. The only way is to retreat and leave me alone. Having a lousy singing voice sometimes helps. Can you believe that?

There are countless of advice we could gather to help us overcome writer’s block. Some are more scientific, and some are simple personal take.

Whichever you want to proceed, it all depends on how you handle it.

We all have a writing system that we could change or simplify to make our writing process more accessible.

Writer’s block or mental block is never going to leave us. It will always be around any time or any day. If we develop a system, then, we could always go around it and beat it to the ground.

Hopefully, it would never come back.

Happy writing!

Desperately Looking for Inspiration

Our society today is full of surprises. One minute you are a nobody, then suddenly, you have that glittering fifteen minutes that shoot you to fame and stardom. All you did is act silly, say something to create a mass debate, or do nothing, but you still get the attention.

It doesn’t work in the writing world. We don’t get the fifteen minutes to stardom because we need more than fifteen minutes. It takes a long time and many hours of work just to come up with some right materials or ideas.

Most of us, especially new writers or authors, struggle most of the time to find a consistent flow of ideas for our story.

It looks like this is the common denominator for everyone who is in the creative writing world.

We need the inspiration to make our writing flow smoothly. We want to showcase our artistic talent, and at the same time, we want the balance to project to our readers our style without compromising delivering good quality stories.

Waiting for inspiration to come to us is near to impossible. Where do we get it, or where can we find it? If it is something that I can buy, I will buy them all and keep them in my fridge.

Inspiration comes in different forms to any writer. It could be the object of your affection if you are in a romantic relationship, or it could be anything that makes your mind race, and your heartbeats.

Inspiration could be just the state of our mind. It is something like this – we are not feeling it, or not in the mood to do such a thing.

Remember when you don’t feel like cooking dinner for your family? What about when you couldn’t be bothered answering your emails or your text messages? Hey, what about cleaning your house too?

We don’t need the inspiration to do all those things. We don’t feel like doing them.

I, for one, am guilty of the above. I’m not particularly eager to do those things not because I need to be inspired. I was feeling lazy at that time.

Most of us associate inspiration to love or being in love. We look at our muse as our source of strength. It powers our mind to be artistic, imaginative, and creative. It empowers us to take the leap and transport our vision from pen to paper.

What happens when inspiration did not come to us? Indeed, we don’t know where to find it. So, all we could do was wait for it to come to us.

And, if it doesn’t come to us, does it mean we can’t start that story that’s been on our head for a long time?

Should our writing take a second spot because inspiration didn’t come to us?

If we wait, then we will never be able to start writing that story. Just imagine finishing it too.

Personally, I have issues with inspiration. Waiting for it to come to me had cost me so much time. It was a complete waste of time because it will never occur to you.

I’ve learned to look for it, hunt it down, and I used it while I have it.

I discovered that I could get inspiration anywhere. I love chocolates, so I write down what I felt when I ate that bar of chocolate.

I like watching people too. So, I watched people walked past my street while I vacuumed the floor. When I’m done, I sit near the window and watch. I came up with some good descriptions I thought I could use for my characters.

I hunted down my inspiration and used it to the max until it leaves me again.

I am no longer worried about where to find inspiration. I know how to look for it, and at the same time, I felt that I don’t need it anymore.

It doesn’t stop me from sitting in front of my computer and writing. I typed any word that I could think of, not sentences, just word. One word became two, then three, it became a sentence, and more sentences, and so on, and so on.

Getting into the habit of sitting in front of my computer every day helped me improved my attitudes towards working consistently and having a positive approach towards achieving an undertaking.

Once in while I still need to be inspired to write effectively. It doesn’t hurt to want it so badly. I go through some bad days every now and then, and it’s not all too bad to wish that my muse would come and generously throw his magic dust on to me.

Always remember, we create magic, not our muse.