SOS at the writer’s desk.

What do you do with a prolonged absence from writing what you love most?

I haven’t stopped writing in the time I’ve been gone. All that energy — planning, conceptualizing, writing, spell-checking, editing, re-writing, re-writing, rewriting — completely went into my work for the company’s regional newsletter.

Lately I’ve found my writing style getting dry. Despite attending a writing workshop last August in hopes of re-learning some fundamental basics and learning new styles, I’ve felt that my passion for writing hit an invisible wall, and would not go farther than I wanted to go.

It’s exhausting to write for yourself after writing for someone else. Is this what the publishing world is about?

Writing within permitted styles and rules — don’t start the article with a question; British vs American English; Mr. vs Mr; name before title, unless it’s a very important or famous person — has been so choking I just want to throw the style guide out.

Recently I’ve also had to overcome a deep fear of revisiting a story that I had to shelve because the subject I had to interview — a relatively senior Japanese person in management — was a stuck-up, arrogant son of a bitch who only wanted to be interviewed his way. It’s always about the face with these people. I was too tired to deal with him before, and I still have no desire to deal with him again.

But that’s just me being weak, isn’t it? “If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place.” (Proverbs 24:10). Ouch.

I tried to take advantage of my most recent trip to Tokyo for some personal reflection and evaluation to see if I’m doing well. I didn’t get to answer some basic questions other than desired goals — but I did learn what I valued.

I valued companionship. I cherished stories from people. I am grateful for sincerity of friendship.

I also learned that I am more fearful of taking big risks and making big decisions. Like house hunting, or starting afresh in Japan. I haven’t found any reason to resign, but I will probably also take up my friend’s offer to submit my resume for a job in Japan. Eventually.

The fight to get my time back to write continues. I still love anime, though I’ve become more selective with the shows. I’ve learned to enjoy the art and storytelling from video games. I have also been paying more attention to my coffee.

The direction for Nipponification is still a little cloudy, but I’m glad I stuck to this title. Working in a Japanese firm, travelling to Japan for volunteer work, meeting friends… it’s all part of the journey, isn’t it?

I will try my best to restart my writing engine for this blog, for my sake and my sanity.


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