Twin Journeys

by Juan F. Lam

Jun 7, 2022

#self-actualization #fitness #on-writing

For the past few years, maybe since 2015, I've been trying to write a novel. It started with a book I planned to call "The Wordsmith", which I have never written. I got about as far as a the second chapter. This book was attempted at least two more times since, until I finally decided to put a pause on my dream of writing a novel as well as shelf that story idea entirely. It never came to fruition.

In the same span of time, I'd also tried and failed a few times to make a genuine change in my body. I've always been a bit overweight for my stature and age, and I've never been so happy with it. I wanted, and want, to get fit. To take ownership of my body and make a genuine difference in my physique. I want to feel strong and empowered and healthy. But I've struggled with that, too, in the same way I've struggled with writing a book. In a funny sort of way, they're twin journeys that have started and stopped at similar times. Until recently I had taken a pause on both things. I stopped trying to write novels, and I didn't really make much but half-hearted attempts at going to the gym.

Admittedly, my break from writing a novel has been more fruitful. In the time since my last attempt at writing a novel (2019) I've grown a lot as a writer by making a bunch of short stories (Around 10, I believe). In 2018/2019 I had a pretty unhealthy relationship with writing -- I was chastising myself for not writing thousands of words per day, and hurrying myself to a deadline that didn't exist. I was convinced I wouldn't make it as a writer unless I published a book before I was out of college. My break from writing a novel was spent largely re-tooling my relationship with writing itself. Trying to make it more fun, putting less pressure on myself, and to focus on just enjoying it as much as I could by doing short stories instead. That effort has been successful. I've written lots, and made good writing friends, and I am proud of the stories I've made and the fun I had making them.

My weight-loss journey has been... not so fruitful. A few weeks ago, I hit the highest weight I've ever been, and now I'm in a position where I feel a strong desire to turn things around, to reach new heights. And this desire isn't limited just to my gym-going. I want to write a book, now.

As such, I am beginning a genuine journey on two fronts. I want to lose weight, and I want to write a book. Whichever goal I hit first will only serve but to encourage the completion of the second. That said, I have to be very tentative with my self on the front of writing a novel. I've planned a few things out to make sure that I do not fall into the trap I fell into before -- a trap of insecurity and fear.

Where my book is concerned, I will be publishing it online for free. This is because the pressure to make profit off of a novel puts too much strain on my creativity, and when embarking on such a journey as writing my first novel, I need as little strain as possible so I could focus on doing the work. Making it free here on my website accomplishes another thing -- it makes it so that I don't have to worry too much about whether its good. It doesn't have to be. Nobody will feel like they've been cheated of their money if they do read it, and besides, it's my first book! What matters is it gets created. I want to have fun making it. And in that spirit, I will be making the writing experience a serialized one. I'll publish chapter by chapter, because I think that's more fun than working away for a year and then dropping a lump of pages on the laps of my friends and family.

Writing a novel is a bit like achieving a fitness goal. If you're new, focus on showing up and doing the work consistently, and to have fun doing it. You could worry about the fancy stuff later. And that's what I plan to do, exactly.

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Aleksandr Hovhannisyan nikki :) Leonard Lam

Mentions & Replies

Aleksandr Hovhannisyan Aleksandr Hovhannisyan

Good luck! I feel the same way about writing and most other things—I don't enjoy it when I force myself to do it for any reason other than wanting to. I try to just write whenever I feel like it, and that seems to go better. source

Juan Lam Juan Lam

Thank you! Its gonna be a long road but hopefully a fun one source