Archive for the 'Writing in Tokyo' Category

The World is Full of Good Souls

May 4, 2006

And I am fortunate enough to know a lot of them.

Nothing comes without a reward. Meeting Mr. P, my editor at the magazine I used to write for, continues to be a blessing in spite of the magazine’s recent failure. Of course, I feel unworthy of all the kindness Mr. P bestows on me. I have broken just about every rule there is to writing for a magazine, including not honoring deadlines, going over the word limit, and not trying hard enough to go out there and do a little out-in-the-field people research. But Mr. P, an established writer, author, and editor, has consistently guided me towards a more disciplined approach to writing, and under his tulelage I have come to be a wee bit more professional.

Professional discipline rests upon two pillars: The Willingness to write, and The Confidence to write. Willingness means one is willing to sit down any time, anywhere, and simply start writing no matter how unprepared or emotionally distressed or physically debilitated you are. Absolutely no bull. Writing does not tolerate excuses. You either start writing, or else catch a full, guiltless night of sleep knowing that you made a fully conscious decision not to start writing for one good reason or another. It doesn’t even matter if it’s good writing or not — the art of revision tends to inspire more poetic incentive than starting from scratch. If you’d only sit at a flat surface (tables, desks, upside-down cardboard boxes, benches on subway platforms) and start letting your inner thoughts materialize into words and onto the keyboard or notebook, the writer’s profession becomes a joy. Only procrastinators labor over their writings. (That’s me.)

The Confidence to write comes from believing in your own words, and not judging your work on relative terms with anyone else’s. And this may take a life time — or many more. So many posthumous writers have passed this material world unnoticed, unthanked. And the more you write, the more you find your own words. The more words there are in this world, the more richer.

This I have learned from Mr. P, and I hope to carry his teachings in me even after the magazine goes out of print.

Thank you, Mr. P!