Saying Yes


Someone told me a few days ago, “How I wish I’m bold and good enough like you to put myself out there as a writer!”

I thanked her politely for such an encouraging comment…but somehow, it got me a little unsettled.

The thing is, boldness has never really been my forte (as I’ve reiterated time and time again). Also, if I’m completely honest, I very rarely am blown away by my own writing.

But I just am drawn to words. I can’t help that. However for a long time, being a passive-aggressive timid mouse who thought her writing sucked held me back. A lot. And every time I came across a book or piece of writing I fell in love with, I would think to myself, “I could never conjure up something as beautiful or heart-wrenching as this. I just don’t have it in me.”

Through a variety of push and pull factors, I ended up freelance writing, and I learned that if I wanted to make this kind of work arrangement sustainable, I also had to write what I wanted to write sometimes. And so I did. In these past 4 years, I’ve published 8 books which I sometimes can’t believe actually came out of me.

Along the way, I discovered that if one “practices” doing bold things, fear becomes less of a life-sucking vampire who paralyses you and more of a judgemental mother who nags at you through WhatsApp messages you can choose to ignore.

Most of the time, I relish the infinite process of creation  and it is one of the few things in life that makes me feel so present and open to possibilities.

There are still so many things I feel I need to improve upon as a writer but rather than beating myself up for the shortfalls, I just want to write, and write, and write.

So what does the strange, overexposed photo on top have to this with this post? Well, this was taken during a photo shoot with a newspaper when it did a story on Squirky. I had asked the part-time cleaner to “take a photo of the photographer taking a photo of me” (which on retrospect, is a rather confusing piece of instruction). Instead of snapping a shot with the photographer also in the frame, she took the photo at the same time as the photographer, hence the glaring flash in this image.

But I really like this image, especially after reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. Her premise is that creative ideas  are a “disembodied, energetic life-form” that interact with people in order to be manifested. And it is up to us to whether we say ‘yes” to these bouts of inspiration when they choose to ‘visit’ us. I may sound quite hokey-pokey in saying this, but I’d like to think that I was taking a photo not just with the books, but also with the glowing creative inspiration behind Squirky. Now that I’ve wrapped up this book series, I realise there were so many times I felt the stories, though imperfect, were so much bigger than my limited writing experience.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is this: I’m not a bold or good writer. I just said yes.



  1. You ARE a good writer. You should write more if you have the time. Don’t hold back.

  2. Actually I wanted to tell the person who said that to you, that she should totally put herself out there too. She writes most beautifully, and just needs to get her one big break of sorts. But she wasn’t writing to me, so I didn’t want to charp jit kar lah. :)

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