Nov 17, 2013


It's my biggest dream. Long before I even became interested in Japanese culture or thought of traveling the world, I've wanted to become a published author. Why travel the world? So I can write about it. What sparked my interest in Japanese culture? Manga (graphic novels) and their depth of imaginative storytelling, because I want to create stories like that, too.

Irony: after moving to Japan because I love manga,
I'm surrounded by them and unable to ready any
(image via The Twilight Zone)

This desire to write has been woven into the underlying fabric of my life. It's why I believe I was born, and why my life was worth creating. For such strong convictions, however, I find writing to be the easiest thing to procrastinate on.

When I was 14, I remember thinking, "I'll write a book by my 15th birthday. That's so far away from now." I'm a month shy of 25 now, and no book magically typed itself out of my mac. An excess of time does not equate to productivity, as any college student will tell you as they rush to finish a two-month project the night before it's due.

I told myself after I finished university, retired from corporate America, and moved to Japan, I'd have plennnnnty of time to write. Cue Rocky-style montage of me attending festivals, teaching classes, and watching movie rentals (in other words, not writing).

If you don't make the time for it, it doesn't get done. To be a published author, I have to take writing seriously; to hunker down and stare at that blank notebook "until drops of blood form on your forehead," as the Gene Fowler quote goes. Only then can I touch the skirts of the infinite (before putting my nose to the grind again to write some more).

I often write for this blog of course, and between classes at school you can find me in the teacher's room scribbling away at something or other. But it wasn't until five of us ladies in the Noto began a writing group that I began to write original fiction again. That one hour a week of accountability where we have to write has been the single best thing for strengthening the habit.

There is a certain story I've had in my mind since 2007. I have never taken the time to write it out because I always believed I wasn't yet good enough to write it. In a way, I could never be, so I've got to write it out anyway... and I am, thanks to the support of the writer's group who encouraged me to work on it for the NaNoWriMo challenge!

"NaNoWriMo" is an abbreviation for the American-created National Novel Writing Month. During November, writers get their pens in gear to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. It's just over halfway through the month and I have 15,000 words written.

Are they crap? It's a first draft, so of course they are.

Is my word count going to hit 50,000 by the 30th? Highly unlikely.

Is it a success? Absolutely. I am writing. Characters and storylines I've had vague inklings of in my imagination are now coming alive in reality with every new page.

This is my present life, and it's one I'm proud of because I'm making time for something both productive and fulfilling. Isn't that a big part of what we all want from life?


New updates about life in Japan to resume next week!


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