Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 110

Let's try something different... most people wait until the end of the year to make their new year's resolutions. I do that every year, too. But I'd like to make a few END OF THE YEAR resolutions for the last month of the decade. Crazy? Probably. Impossible? We'll see.

1. Write 20,000 words by January 1, 2010
2. Learn to e-trade better and achieve an ROI of 50% by December 31
3. Finish writing and recording three new, original songs
4. Keep a regular workout schedule of 3x a week, 1.5 hours per session
5. Cut down on total carb and sugar intake -- lower my cholesterol and triglyceride levels to within normal range

I think these are achievable goals even though I have only one month to go. OK, the exercise and writing goals could be challenging, since I'll doing some holiday traveling and vacationing. That means I would have to work harder during the first half of December! But the way I look at it: If I don't set any goals, I'd never achieve any of these. None. So it's better to have goals and miss them than to have no goals at all.

500 words, 34500 words total
255 days and 151000 words to go

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 109: Creatures of Habits and Selective Amnesia

It's hard to believe the year is almost over and a new decade is upon us. OK, technically speaking, the new decade won't start until Jan 1, 2011. Still, since everyone seemed to have started the millennium in 2000 instead of 2001, I think it's safe to say that it's been 10 years since we welcomed the new century.

It's very strange. It really doesn't seem like 10 years. It feels more like two years. A lot hasn't changed since then, and a lot has. The biggest change for me, obviously, is that I'm writing. I didn't start working on my first novel until November 2001. And of course I never expected or even thought of being published. So, what did I think about in 2000? Other than the normal existential questions and daily life issues, I honestly don't know. I think I was just happy to be alive to see the new century, and happy to have a good job after a few years of stagnant professional growth.

A lot has changed since 2000.

9/11 happened, for one thing. Bush became President, twice. The stock market crashed, twice. We now have an African-American president (I mean, Obama's father actually came from Africa!). The economy is even more global now. We still have two wars going on that have gone on for more than six years -- longer than WWII. So, yes, it's a different world from 10 years ago.

With all these changes, however, I still don't know if I have changed much personally. In many ways, I'm still the same person. I look at my pictures from 1999 and 2000 and I don't see a lot of difference (OK, I won't fool myself -- I looked younger). And in a way, it's a good thing.

Life's been kind to me.

In December 1999, I went to Europe to celebrate the holidays. I planned to go to Mont Blanc, Switzerland to ski. But the storm of the century deterred my plans, and I ended up spending a few extra day in Paris with my cousin. Lemon, meet lemonade. In hindsight, that was an eventful trip that I will never forget: for example, how we were stuck at the train station in France and I had no idea how to use the public phones (back then, I didn't have a cell phone that worked internationally); I had the most wonderful, eight-course Christmas dinner in Paris; then we paid $900 for two nights in a crummy hotel in New York, before spending twelve hours right in front of the Coca Cola sign in Time Square waiting for the Year 2000 ball to drop.

Good times.

Ten years later, I'm much more relaxed and laid back and I plan to go to bed early before the clock strikes twelve on January 1. Yes, I'm getting old, but I don't really feel old, just more relaxed. I don't feel the need to go out and paint the town. My priorities have changed.

And in many ways, that's how I feel about a lot of things these days. Sure, I have my bouts of aggression and ambitions. I have my passing moments of frantic self-doubt. And like everyone else, I brace myself every day for the unexpected and manage to keep my head above water most of the time. Still, one thing I've realized over the years (and sometimes I forget) is that it's all in the work. It's not about how others see me, how I can "get ahead," or how I "deserve to be treated." But it's about the work I do, and how I do it. And let the rest follow.

Sometimes when we see how people get ahead of us, getting their 15 or 20 minutes of fame, getting book and movie deals, etc. and we start to feel sorry for ourselves. And then hopefully we understand -- as we did many times before but forget -- these people work hard for their successes, whether we agree or not . They may have actively sought out fame and fortune, but they work really hard, without a guarantee. They followed their dreams and put everything in action. And I sure don't have a guarantee, but I can work hard.

I just came across a letter I got from the then-CEO of IBM, Lou Gerstner, in 1998. It was a commendation for a job well done. Me! A "nobody" corporate drone in a company of 300,000 employees and I got a personal letter from the top dog. The letter reminds me of a few things:

- Focus on our work and do our best. Keep doing it.
- Don't ask for anything but the reward of the work itself. No expectations.
- If we've done good work, others will notice.
- Have fun!

I never thought I would be noticed. I never thought I would be commended by the CEO of the company, I never thought I would get a substantial pay raise and a promotion after that letter (trust me, it was substantial). I never thought I would enjoy the work so much, when fame and fortune weren't even in my mind. I never thought I would make great friends with the people I worked with, because we had a common goal of doing great work of which we could be proud.

You see, these lessons are there, but often we look but don't see, or we hear but don't listen. And over the years, we forget. We are creatures of habits and selective amnesia. When we get hung up on something, we tend to forget what we've learned in the past. But once in a while, something happens and it pushes us back into a corner and we're forced to reevaluate everything, and we remember. We've been there before, and we've learned a few things. We just choose to forget sometimes. It's like going back on a bad diet or giving up on exercising.... it just seems easier that way. No more efforts; no more challenges. Out of sight, out of mind. But sooner or later, we'd wake up and realize, we've been there before, and this "easier" path is not really easier. It keeps us down. It stops us from moving forward. It's all smoke and mirrors. It's there so that others can't see our pain and struggles. So others can't be jealous of us for our successes. So others can feel a bit better about themselves because we're no different than they.

The price of going with the "easy" is that we become complacent, lazy, timid, fearful, out of self-control, with a protracted sense of defeat: "What's the point? Why bother?" The price is we're missing out of what life has to offer. The price is we fall out of love with our work, our loved ones, and our lives.

The 10's are upon us soon. Maybe it's time to reflect on what we've learned in the past 10 years, and think big. Dream big. It was only 8 years ago when I started my journey as a writer. I have yet a long way to go. And I'm ready to do the work.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day 108

Right now, apart from The Terrapin's Trail, I have four novels I'd like to write, and they can't be more different from one another. Am I being crazy thinking outside of my genre (which is literary love story)? One is a fantasy, another is science fiction, followed by a thriller, and finally back to literary.

Every day I'm getting closer to my goal of finishing The Terrapin's Trail. Still, I have a long way to go before getting it in submission-ready form. So, when can I start writing the other four? When will I finish?

If I stick to my 500-a-word-per-day plan, I could write 182500 words a year, which would be about two novels (and no, I won't be writing another "epic" any time soon). So, ideally, I could finish writing these four novels in about two years, and hopefully, by then, I would be able to get The Terrapin's Trail published. That sounds like a really good plan.

But of course, a plan is only a plan if I don't put it into action. So far, I'm making headways with the WIP. And I strive on meeting goals. If I set my mind to it, I can accomplish anything.

I'm also happy that I've successfully enlisted a friend to be my whip-master. Sounds kinky, doesn't it? What it means is that instead of trying to meet these writing goals by myself (I have been struggling with the 500-word challenge lately, but I'm back on track now), all isolated, I now have an external source to keep me in check. I have liability now, and a real deadline. This week I was able to hand in 2500 words -- a bit short of the 3500-word goal. But it's a start.

500 words, 34000 words total
257 days and 151500 words to go

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 107

When I was a kid, the first book I read was Winnie the Pooh, I believe. Granted, there weren't really that many words in that book, but I read. And since then I kept reading. There wasn't a day that I didn't read. Of course, I didn't always read everything I had my hands on. And for a while, I read only nonfiction and technical stuff -- magazines, mostly. It wasn't until a few years ago when I rediscovered the power of fiction. And that was AFTER I started writing novel.

The first real English-language "novel" I read was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Then followed by The Last Day of Pompeii. When I was in high school, I hated reading English-language novels because my command of English wasn't good enough (or at least I thought) to understand everything and I hated having to consult the dictionary all the time. I still remember I had a copy of Doctor Zhivago on my shelf and I had tried reading it many times and I never got past the first chapter. Eventually, I gave up reading fiction altogether.

Throughout college, I learned to read and write more fluently through reading nonfiction, magazines and newspapers. I never thought I could become a writer (in English). An almost-accidental encounter with a novel made me realize how much I'd loved stories: fictional or nonfictional. I also realized how much better my English comprehension had become. By leaps and bounds through the years. Now, I'm able to read Doctor Zhivago with no problems at all.

More amazingly, I'm writing fiction, in English. And I'm published. Who would have thought? It's been a long journey, from the first English word I learned in kindergarten to becoming a published author.

If I could do it, anyone can. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. But it does require hard work, patience and diligence. Success never happens overnight.

300 words, 33500 words total
258 days and 152000 words to go

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

To Todd Ransom

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there. I do not die.

- Mary Elizabeth Frye

Rest in peace, Todd.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 101

Yesterday was a bust. Still didn't feel too well so instead of working on the WIP, I blogged and did something else instead. Also, I just heard the news that my editor's father had died, and that made me really sad. Richard is a great guy and my thoughts are with him and his family.

When I'm sick, I tend to be kind of a baby, not a BIG baby, but still a baby. Meaning I do tend to give myself all kind of reasons and excuses not to do anything. I haven't gone to the gym for more than a week now (but that's a good thing: no need to spread the germs or get more germs). I've probably written fewer than 1000 words on the WIP. I haven't paid my bills. I haven't called my mom. I've been a lump and I wasn't really bedridden. Just tired.

But today is the 101th day and it's a new beginning. And it's great because a friend of mine just agreed to help push me toward my goal:

I now have a deadline.

I am expected to deliver my writing every week to an actual person, and not just blog about it. I've been honest about my progress on this blog, but still, there really isn't much liability. If I skip a day or a week, no one is going to yell at me. But now, hopefully things will change.

1000 words, 33200 words total
264 days and 152300 words to go

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 100

Is it day 100 already?

Is the honeymoon over?

Should I have a state of the union address?

Oh, wait. I'm in the wrong blog.

But anyway, I've been sick and unmotivated so after a long week, I'm back. Still, today's been a really rough day. More excuses, for sure, and I hope to get some words out by the end of the day even if they are crap.

Not at all the "Day 100" celebratory post I was hoping for, but hey, I'm still doing this, and I'm looking forward to Day 200.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 94

Been sick for a few days, and I'm just catching up with the blog and my writing.

Someone asked an interesting question today: "When do you start considering yourself a writer?"

It's a tricky question, and there's no one politically correct answer. Someone would say they're writers simply because they write. Those who get paid for their writing are called "professional writers." Some people say people who write for fun are hobbyists, just like people who like to sing at Karaoke or dance at their local social functions or play guitars at their friends' garage. So where do you draw the line?

To me, it's really a very personal question. When do WE (individual) consider ourselves serious about this trade/craft to call ourselves a writer instead of a hobbyist? By definition, a writer is someone who writes. A singer is someone who sings. A painter is someone who paints. A guitarist is someone who plays the guitar. But that definition doesn't bode with with people who makes these endeavors into professions. Actors, I know, are very sensitive about people calling themselves "actors" just because they acted in a play in 12th grade. In fact, some of my actor friends are visibly upset and offended when they hear some fresh-faced person arriving in Hollywood with stars in their eyes -- meanwhile they have had no training or experience in acting at all.

Now, writing is a weird thing, I must say. Most people learn to write when they're little. Unlike acting, it's a basic skill to be learned and mastered during school. By high school, most people would have learned to write competently (hopefully) and have probably written a bunch of things (poetry, essays, school papers, articles, fiction, etc.) -- so does that mean literally everyone is a writer? So what makes me a writer as compared to others?

Or am I simply a professional writer because I get paid?

Now here's some funny data:

- I got paid $5.00 for the first piece of writing I ever sold
- My first writing job paid me $25 per article

In comparison:

- My first "real" acting job paid me $950 for two weeks' performances
- My second job paid me $5000.

When you compare how much I made from my writing vs. acting, you'd have thought that I'd consider myself an actor more than a writer. You would be wrong. Being an actor continues to be a "hobby" in my mind even though I've had some success with it, and I'm technically a "professional actor" with a SAG membership to prove it. I don't make enough from my writing to pay for my Starbucks addiction.

To me, it all comes down to the mindset. I'm dead serious about making writing my trade. I'm working on a novel, a bunch of short stories, essays, articles, reviews. I write every day. I learn everything I can whenever I can. I write every day. When I'm not writing, I'm always actively thinking on my stories, developing them in my mind. To me, my efforts in my pursuit as a writer is far more effective and serious than that as an actor. And yet, I get paid far more for my "acting" than my writing.

But I would call myself a writer any day instead of an actor. In fact, I have no qualms with calling myself a writer, but I feel embarrassed whenever I call myself an actor. Why? I'm not sure. Certainly it's not a matter of lack of stuff to show for it -- I have a novel and a bunch of stories published. There are also movies and commercials and TV shows. I have residual and royalties checks to show for it.

It comes down to what I really want to do... maybe one day I would proudly call myself an actor without any kind of embarrassment. Just not today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 91

Making things happen....

I just saw the movie Men Who Stare At Goats, about a bunch of soldiers involved in a hush-hush military operative that tried to create "super" soldiers. Well, anyway, the point is, some of these people believe a person could create circumstances, or change things, or control other people's mind, or walk through walls, etc. etc. simply by expanding their minds.

We've all heard of the term "mind over matters." Not to mention phenomena such as telekinetic, telepathy, levitation, etc. Needless to say, most people are skeptical, if not outright laughing at all that.

Personally, I don't know. I do think that our brains can achieve so much more, and that we do, indeed, only use a very small portion of our brain's functions. 5%? 10%? 20%? So what's the rest? I do wonder.

What I do know, is that I've had some very strange experiences that either a) they're pure coincidences, or b) they prove that the mind is more powerful than we want to believe. Throughout my life, I've had many of these "psychic" moments (or whatever you want to call it). Or mental manifestation. I can't really explain them, just that when I put my mind to, things happened the way I wanted. For example, some of the things that happened in my novel has come true -- were these bizarre coincidences? Or was it because I thought about them so much that I manifested their possibilities? (I may detail some of these "bizarre" occurrences later).

So what does it have to writing? Personally, I think the writer's mind is very powerful. We're not just telling stories; we could actually affect change, either personally or on a grander scale. And I'm not just talking about changing minds. I'm talking about actually, physically affecting change and manifesting reality -- call it collective thoughts or will power, if you will. Or divine intervention, or whatever. Most people probably don't know what the heck I'm talking about, but I think for those who have experienced similar situations as I did, it's something to think about.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 90

Three months. Most people probably already finished their first drafts by the 90th day. Some writers are doing NaNoWriMo and they're already at 25,000 words by day 8. What can I say? I really am a slow writer.

However, I'm not competing with them. I don't need to stress about what other people are doing. I'm only competing with myself and my goal is simple, and I'm still on track: finish The Terrapin's Trail by August. At 125000 words, I'm probably about 3/5 done with it. And then the real work -- editing/rewrite -- starts.


The other day I was talking about loving what you do, even when you may not be doing what you love. Some of us are lucky enough to do what we love and we still whine about it ("oh, it's so hard" or "my muse is not talking to me..." etc. etc.) I think we need perspectives. Some people are shoveling cow dung and pigs' feed as we speak. My dad drove a semi for more than 30 years and all he got was a watch to commemorate it. My mom was a nurse for 30+ years and she had to deal with every yucky things with patients (dead or alive) you can imagine. And I'm sitting in front of a computer complaining how hard it is? I'm spoiled.

Suck it up.


Behind every success (even the ones that seem so "easy" and "lucky") there is always a story. Most people simply don't "fall into" something and strike gold by luck alone. Sometimes they do -- like winning the lottery; but still, they have to play, and some people played for a LONG time before they hit the jackpot -- but more often than not, there's a lot of hard work and perseverance behind these successes. We tend to only see the good stuff and forget about the bad stuff.

As an actor, I'm extremely unmotivated and lazy, and I have only myself to blame for not getting mileage out of my acting "career" as other actors. These other actors have spent years perfecting their craft, doing spec work, slaving away in local and regional theaters, going to every audition they can get in, taking classes, working 16 hours a day on the set, doing work as extras, living out of suitcases, waiting tables while looking for their breaks. That's the problem, many actor "wannabes" only see the successes and not the heartaches, pain and disappointments associated with every rejection, every small "insignificant" roles, simply silently persevering because that's what they're passionate about, and they do it because they love it, with the hope that one day they will make it (and only a few would).

And the unfair thing is, I've had better success than some of these hardworking actors. I've in features, TV shows, and a national commercial! But I can tell you I'm one of the laziest actors in the world -- I would blow off an audition because I don't feel like it, while most actors would clamor for that opportunity. There's nothing I could complain about (on the other hand, I did my job and was very professional; so it wasn't like I cruised through everything either -- I simply do not want to make it sound like I had it "rough").

Did I pay my dues? Yes, I think so, but compared to some of these other struggling actors out there, I am lazy and maybe I don't deserve the "successes" I've enjoyed so far. I don't know.

As a writer, I'm much more proactive. I write every day. Every. Day. I continuously learn and improve my craft. I read. I study. I try new things. I listen to advice. I work. Am I working as hard as I should, to the bones? No, and I probably should (however, my philosophy is that there's more life than just work, work, and work -- maybe that's my biggest downfall!) But I work, every day. When I'm not actively writing, I'm always thinking and plotting and developing my characters in my mind (what my writer friends would call "mind-writing").

If I had done as much work in acting as I have with writing, I might have better success. But sometimes we need to know where our heart really is. My heart, right now, is in writing.

It's not to say it won't change. But so far, the motivation behind my acting career seems to be money and fame, and not the craft itself. And I think that's what separates the men (serious actors) from the boys (me). Deep down I know that money and fame are not a given -- I have to work hard for them, and there's no guarantee anyway. Deep down, I know I don't want to work hard to get there, because I really don't care [about the craft]. And that's the REAL reason.

With writing, I think my mindset is different and that's exciting. I do, in fact, care about the craft. I'm not only writing for money and fame, but to be a good writer (maybe even a great one, eventually). I care about what I write and what it means to my readers. I care about the way I write. Am I working as hard as I should? Certainly not, but I feel that at least I'm on the right path with it, and am not distracted by the other stuff such as money and fame.

And that's the epiphany I had over the weekend -- I was thinking, "Why am I getting mediocre results from my trading practice?" I managed to make some profits, but not good enough to brag about it. And my epiphany is this: I'm going at it from the wrong angle. Like acting, I'm not trading for the "craft" of trading, but for the money (there's really no fame in that "business"). I'm not doing it to be a great trader, but my focus is on "oh, how much money can I make?" It's the wrong approach, and it hinders me to become a truly good trader (and the result of being a good trader is, of course, making lots of money).

Once I realized the problem with my mindset, awareness is the key to change. I can't say I totally grasp the idea of "doing it for the sake of it" instead of the outcome, but I'm getting there. I have to remind myself: "Why am I doing this?" It's easier for me with regard to writing -- I truly, honestly am not doing it for money or fame -- and that has served me quite well so far. If I could apply that mindset to everything I do, there's no limit what I can accomplish because I'm more focused on the journey itself, and not the destination. As cliched as that is, it's true. And the destination will come, sooner or later, because it is inevitable when one takes care of the journey itself.

500 words, 32200 words total
275 days and 153300 words to go

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 87

There's an old adage: do what you love and love what you do. I'm a true believer of that.

However, reality is often different from ideals. Of course, most people would like to do what they love and get paid doing it, but then no one would ever do all those "dirty jobs." Who is going to build the roads, shear the sheep, or clean the public toilets?

Life certainly isn't fair. Some people got to do what they love and get paid handsomely for it, and most people have to settle for "work" so they can afford to put food on the table, or raise a family, or support a lifestyle. Still, I think we all have a choice.

My father worked as a truck driver for over 30 years to support his family. He was trained as a physician, but due to circumstances he ended up at the dock, often working double shifts. He did not complain, though, and in many ways, he actually enjoyed his work, even though it was far from being his first career choice. Still, within his circumstances, he managed to do something he liked and liked what he did. He was proud of his accomplishments. To these days, whenever he sees a semi passing by, he still reminisces about the "good old days." Honest work for honest pay to give them what he really cherished: his family.

There's a lesson in that. Some of us may have choices, but many have very limited ones. However, it comes down to mindset and spirit: if you've accepted a job, you do your darnest to be professional, whether it's guarding the door or shoveling dirt or changing babies' diapers. There is pride in what we do--whether by choice or by circumstances. The problem is, young people today don't seem to have that pride. Many confuse daydreams with reality, and they all look for their instant fame and fortune, their 15 minutes. They don't take pride in what they do, but they have no intention to improve themselves and move on.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard a cashier at a grocery store saying, "When is my break? I've been working for an hour, I need my break now." Break? Try working 14 hours straight without a break.

I used to wait tables and I hated that job. But I was doing it, I never complained, especially not in front of the customers. I took pride in my work and I tried my best to learn everything I could and do my best. I was a lousy waiter (thank goodness), but I did not take it lightly. I did not give my customers attitude or slack off. I did not let on how much I didn't want to be there. I worked 12-14 hours a day and never said in public, "I hate this place." It was a means to an end and eventually, I did find a job that I liked (even though it paid much less). The point is, even though I was "forced" into doing that job, I took pride in doing it well.

500 words, 31700 words total
278 days and 153800 words to go

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 86

I get so angry sometimes. But that's okay, I guess; sometimes we just need to let off some steam.

It's not just that I can't stand bigheaded people who simply don't get it, but I'm also mad at myself for being baited. I should have known better. The thing is, I've walked away from so many asinine discussions with idiots that I feel like I'm being a wuss. I have to tell myself, it is OK to stand my own ground, and maybe even be a badass even if I get banned or punished. It's worth it. And of course, the trolls would try to play victim: "Oh, why do you attack me so much?" Excuse me? If you fling shit at the fan, you're going to get it flung back at you! And I'll be damned to let someone shit all over me. You try to kick me, and I'll kick you five times harder. So, just try fucking with me.


That said, I had a good day, all things considered. Sometimes you put things back in perspective and you realize, it's all so stupid and trivial. A soldier just shot 11 people in Ft. Hood. Perhaps it is a good thing to walk away from something before everything/everyone reaches a boiling point? Or, perhaps it is good to blow off steam beforehand?

You know what, I did feel much better after I blew off some steam and said my peace, and fuck if others don't agree -- I owe them no obligation or apologies. I really don't think it's healthy to just let your anger simmer. Of course, it doesn't mean we must always verbalize our anger or put into action, but I really don't think it's a healthy thing to keep it bottled up either. There are many ways to defuse and work out the aggression: taking a long drive, punching a bag, jogging, working out. The last thing you want to do is reach for the bottle or gun. Some things are just irreversible.

500 words, 31200 words total
279 days and 154300 words to go

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 85

There comes a time (or a few times) in our lives when we realize or make a concerted effort to acknowledge the fact that we're either a) not very good at something, or b) not good enough and will never be good enough, or c) not good enough yet, but could be very good if we work really hard at it.

Years ago I achieved #c with my writing -- I decided that I was a good writer, just not one with enough proficiency and skills yet. I still don't think I've achieved excellence, but it also doesn't seem impossible, even when I compare my writing to the "greats." I'm not saying this to toot my own horn, but I do believe that I have a knack for this writing thing. Perhaps I may never become "great" but I'm also very comfortable with being just "very good." I'm getting there.

Now, music is another matter. I've always loved music. I'd say I share equal passion in both music and writing -- in fact, they're related. I've always been a decent singer, and I have an ear for good composition, arrangement and melodies. However, I'm not a good performer. I buckle under pressure, and I can't really play instruments well. All that, of course, can be learned and perfected, but there's a nagging feeling that the most I could achieve with my music would be #b. I enjoy composing and writing songs, and I continue to learn and enjoy the learning, but I feel that I'm so far behind the curve. Not that I think my music is utter crap, but I listen to the masters out there, and I'm in awe, and I realize I could spend 50 years learning and perfecting my musical abilities and I would still not achieve 30% of what these people could do.

And the main realization is: I'm not all that frustrated and shattered by it. If someone told me I would never become a good writer, I'd probably want to jump off a bridge. But if someone told me I would never become a good composer/songwriter, I would be fine with it. So what does it say about me and my music? Do I seriously recognize my limitations, or am I giving up too easily because I lack the passion?

Right now, I do enjoy the spurts of creativity, if only for my own amusement. And maybe eventually I'll finish the album and move on. I'm just not in a big hurry, and I'm actually enjoying myself. So that has to be a good thing.

2500 words, 30700 words total
280 days and 154800 words to go