The Quiet Writing Life

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You need to assess the potential of your idea when you start a new business. It can save you from financial ruin by giving you an objective perspective. You must do this before you follow through any business plans, or any careers for that matter because once you are in, you are in for a long haul. Life is too short as it is to invest your time in anything uncertain. So it would be smart to put yourself through this prophetic first step before you start building your work life. With one exception, though: if it is a writing career you are considering, then skip the assessment, don’t even think about being objective about the future of your writing path.

If you must count your chickens before they hatch, you will find yourself running away quickly discouraged, or maybe even in fear, before the idea of the first decent chicken starts to seem possible to you. You will see that writing life is not going to be about counting your chickens. That day may never come. Instead, this life is all about sitting on the eggs. You won’t be sitting like a golden goose. You will be sitting on a non-responsive chair. You will be sitting there for a long, long time.

Or maybe it could be compared to planting in the frozen winter field. What are we doing here with this unproductive land? Where’s the hope? The truth is; we are expecting the same wonder that happened in Russia not long ago. We want to witness the ancient plant coming back to life after some 30,000 frozen years spent as seeds. We believe that sort of rarity. So we keep plowing and sowing whether the plant blooms in our life time or not. Maybe it will have to endure 30,000 frozen years. We don’t know. There is no way to run the assessment at this point. With nothing promised or guaranteed, you have to decide whether you are in or not. Whether to believe, or not to believe. Whether to follow the heart, or not to follow the heart. Whether to have faith, or not to have faith.

According to the study result by¬†Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the suicide rate among the authors is almost twice as high as the general suicide rate. It’s quite a plain fact when you consider that the population of the writers affected by the mental illnesses and substance abuse is pretty high. It is not a new thought that writers are socially accepted mental patients. Certain mental illnesses are even believed to spark creativity. Could that be true? Is there a link between being mentally ill and being creative? Or could it be that the anxiety from living this uncertain lifestyle of always being on the edge is weighing down the artist’s spirit, affecting his/her psyche?

How do you stay centered in the times of uncertainty? Especially if that uncertainty is closely tied to your own physical survival? How do you keep sailing into the unknown when no land is promised? How do you possibly go on in such a long period of solitary confusion without suffering from mental breakdown at least once at some point?

These were my thoughts this morning as I was getting ready for my day job. It’s still dark and cold outside, but I got a work to do. I have a position to fill in however minor it may be. It’s not enough to give me a complete financial freedom or independence from the world but at least it is my income. It gives me something that my writing was never able to give me.

Writing life gave me mostly nothing but crisis. Anxiety, constant fear, worry, self-doubt, self-criticism, chaotic life of depression, mania, divorce, bike accidents, alcohol and drug abuse, moving around, never staying in one place, or in one job for long. I was always searching, for words, for meanings, for stories, for ideas, for anything that would help me stay inspired. I searched until I got sick from searching so much.

But my writing life gave me something that is so profound that every negativity I have listed above cannot hold me back any longer. It gave me Jesus. While walking my narrow path of writing, I was being ushered to find the Truth, to finally meet Jesus and know Him so that I may know the true God: the one I so desired to talk to by the medium of my act of my writing. No wonder I struggled so much. It was all too human.

The path to God is simply not possible unless it is through Jesus. Nothing will make sense. When I didn’t have Jesus, life didn’t make sense. Death didn’t make sense. When those don’t make sense, who cares if writing doesn’t make sense? Your own life is at a crisis here. So to deal with that confusion, I took up writing, the only thing that felt right to do since my very young days and I didn’t care if I was making sense or not in my writing.

I have an uncle who suffered from psychosis. He lived with us during that period because his parents abandoned him. I was too young to remember, but mom told me that he would spread his own feces all over our walls. After he received healing through Jesus, my uncle was forever consecrated to the Lord. Many years later, he became the first pastor in the family.

Before I had Jesus, I was so much like him. Only, I was plastering the wall with my own waste of words. But like my parents took in my psychotic uncle into their house, Jesus took me into His Heart. He heard me when I cried out and healed me. My silent cry was heard and answered in the way that I never could have imagined. I was rewarded with an eternal home.

Now, I am perfectly at peace even in the nonproductive, uncertain moments. I casually go out to a grocery shop seeking for some inspiration. I come back home with a box of camomile tea named Sleepytime. Then I sit in the corner of my sister’s dining room wearing my PJs. At 4 in the afternoon, while the world is busy manufacturing, producing, brewing, cooking, discussing budget plans, making laws, and business assessments, here I am drinking my Sleepytime tea typing away my afternoon.

I am not afraid any more. When I am done with my typing activity, I will pray some more and go to bed a little earlier than usual. Now I know that everything will be just fine. There is nothing to be afraid. It’s only another day of my quiet writing life. There is nothing to fear as long as Jesus is here in my heart.

 

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