I have one simple reason for writing:
I write to learn about the inner world and my inner world-view, then to share the lessons I have learned with others to help them along their personal journey.
Before I even knew how to write, I was writing. The picture you see is yours truly as a toddler, wielding the power of the mighty pencil. I’m sure I was doodling in this picture rather than actually writing in a known language. [p.s. rateofattrition.com was once my online journal website, which I no longer own.]
As a child, I wrote short stories, composed poems, and wrote songs in both languages (Mandarin Chinese was my native language, although now I dream in American English).
When I was about twelve years old, I discovered that the children’s section of a Chinese newspaper rewarded its young writers with money. I earned six bucks submitting two articles to the Chinese newspaper. One of the articles I published was called “Glue your eyes on the TV” after listening my mom’s constant nagging that my brother and I sat too close to the television and how the radiation would hurt our eyes. She would tell us that if we wanted to sit so close to the television, we might as well glue our eyes on the TV set. I’m quite myopic while my brother has perfect vision and I suspect sitting too close to the TV had nothing to do with this difference. If you asked my mom, she’d tell you that my myopia was definitely due to my reading too many Chinese romance novels as a little girl.
My young career as a paid writer ended quickly, as my Chinese was deteriorating due to lack of practice. Another reason was that I had discovered journaling after an 8th grade English class assignment, where we were required to journal for half a page each day. Although I was a bit scared of my English teacher, Mr. Kierney (he was quite eccentric), I was encouraged by the positive comments he would write in my journal, and by the fact that he seemed to be reading what I considered mundane writing on my part. I filled two composition books, and now I wish I had kept those journals. Writing had become an outlet to express myself and observe the world as I became a teenager.
I stopped writing during my teenage years, after my mom broke the locks in my diary and used some of my scathing criticisms of her against me. That was my first experience with the risks of writing, especially as an angry teenager upset with her parents. I made a conscious decision to silence my voice and all creative expressions thereof. I stopped writing. I stopped composing. I stopped drawing. I stopped painting. I was going through some very dark times.
In my last two years of college, I began to write creatively again, since I was away from home and could physically secure my writings from prying eyes. I took a year of classical Chinese, and refamiliarized myself with the Chinese written language. I composed poems in Chinese and English. I began to write down my thoughts on how I viewed life and my place in the world. Computers remained tools to play games and an occasional term paper. I wrote everything by hand, and this act was itself a meditation for me. I continued this writing meditation after I graduated and when I entered graduate school, throughout my twenties. I filled up five or six thick journal books. Some of the materials that you read in this site originated from those writings.
I wrote prolifically in my late twenties, when I was experiencing clinical depression. Writing was my way to heal from the invisible wounds of the past and to show a way to the future.
Then, I got a job, and I spent a lot of time writing reports (both required and for myself). I was in my ambitious mode. I wrote to gain recognition. To prove my contribution to the company. To track how far I was progressing on my self-imposed road up the corporate ladder.
I began journaling electronically. I loved how quickly I could capture my thoughts electronically, and how I could add and modify what I had typed. Since I was becoming more efficient, I could document more of what I was thinking, and I did. My journals became hundred page word documents, filed by year.
All this writing made me question my motives more intensely than I ever would if I didn’t write. Eventually, this writing meditation led to the inevitable: I left a well-paying corporate job so I could fulfill what I was here to do in the world. Even when I didn’t know what I was supposed to be fulfilling at the time, I knew that by going down the track I was going, I was on a wrong track that paid very well. I was once again going through some very dark times, and my writing (and my husband) helped keep me sane.
If you have read this far, you may have extrapolated a story about “voice.” My writing was my voice. As I was growing up, I silenced my voice to protect myself from my environment. I found my voice again through writing, but I kept this writing secret so that I could hear what my voice was saying without being punished for it.
Now I have better command of this voice. I can finally do what the toddler I was knew I was to do in this life.
Now, in addition to learning about the inner world and my inner world-view, I write to connect with others who are learning about their inner worlds and their inner world-view. My personal journey becomes enriched with the companionship of my fellow travelers.