A week ago, an ‘old’ friend came to visit with a new friend, and she told him about my book writing. He wanted to check out what I have written, so I showed him ‘Journey to the West’ paperbacks, three rather chunky books.
Wow, he said, I did not expect to see this. He looked pretty shocked, and probably impressed too, at the size and weight of my books.
They did take a long time to write, and a longer time to live through some of it.
What makes a writer sit in front of a computer and words begin pouring out onto the screen and forming sensible sentences, paragraphs, chapters and eventually a whole book?
I don’t know about other writers, traditionally published, Indie authors or someone who simply enjoys scribbling. I know why I am motivated to write a book, and in fact, more than one book.
I dreamed of writing a book a very long time ago. There was no precise moment I could remember, but it came nonetheless. It became so strong that in the lonely nights when I was a PhD student in my rented accommodation in Leeds, with a second-hand PC, I typed away. My literary journey began its first step.
It was a dream come true when The Same Moon greeted its’ first readers in 2011, and has since reached out to people further than my immediate circle, to people as far as the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, China, Japan and several countries in Europe such as Finland, Germany and Spain.
I remember exactly when Trials of Life came into being. Three months was all it took to complete the first draft, although subsequent rewriting, editing, formatting and publishing took a lot longer.
Land of Hope, I was compelled to write it. After a decade of working as a professional interpreter and translator, I witnessed what was happening both above and under the surface of British society, amongst the hidden and the voiceless, the poor, the deprived, the illegal immigrants and sex slaves. I wanted to become their voice and put faces, names and motivations to those in the dark alleyways and shadows.
2014 marked a professional diversion with a new, full time job, no longer a freelancer with plenty of spare time at my finger tips. Writing was relegated to still regular blogs but less frequency. To focus on doing my best for my employer, I made a conscious decision to take a break from fiction writing.
Creative ideas continued haunting me both in my waking hours and during long periods of shallow sleep. Being who I am, I am sensitive to what is happening in the world, as well as contemplative about the meaning of my life, directions to take and the kind of people to keep in my professional and personal space.
Some people stay in our lives for a long time, and others come and go. They are not dead or have disappeared from the face of the earth, not in the physical sense anyway. They are just gone from your life, and they no longer play a part. It was as if the world had suddenly swallowed them up, or they simply sailed away of their own accord. Their universe has left your orbit, and your’s no longer has an impact on theirs.
I’d like to believe that most people in our circles have fine qualities such as honesty, integrity and sense of fair play. When reality proves otherwise, and the people you trust turn out to be bullies, deceitful, narcissistic and untrustworthy, it can be a shock to the system, smashing your usual idealism and optimism. Through the broken mirror, you see through people with utter clarity and it was not a pretty sight: their twisted souls are rotting away and ugly. All egos, indecency, jealousy, lies, nastiness, scheming and senseless rage against humanity.
Thank God that I am given the gift as a writer. When real life good and evil engage in a deadly battle right in front of your eyes, and when corruption spread out like cancer and people around you show their true nature, the writer sees an opportunity, an opportunity to be creative again. There is nothing better than life that inspires us to create truly great characters and engaging plots. Is it time to write that new book which has been lurking behind all this time?
The answer is yes, with a little hesitation. Perhaps not that straightforward an answer after all.
Sometimes trials of life can be so painful and tormenting that it would take time even for the most courageous and strong people to cope, process and finally heal from the collateral damage.
But I am in no hurry.
My ‘Journey to the West’ trilogy, on and off, took me nearly fifteen years to complete.
For my new ‘Journey to the East’ trilogy, I’m devoting my next decade to it. If my heart is in the right place and my creative juices keep coming, the first instalment can greet my readers in the not too distant future. Currently I am half way into the W.I.P: Dark Symphony: Dragon’s Descendants. I just need more words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters. I know people who are eager to read my stories, and I thank them for giving me the motivation to carry on.
So I say to myself: Get to it, Junying!