“Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.”—Benjamin Franklin
I’ve wanted to be an author ever since I was tiny. My family fostered an early love of books in me, and I took off soaring. I loved it and wanted to create my own for other people to enjoy.
Throughout my childhood, I grabbed onto this dream and spent lots of time creating stories—be it in my head, verbally, acted out with my little sister’s teddies for a nighttime performance, or handwritten. This continued in me teens, and I wrote too many things for me to remember now. Yet, there’d always be something I hated about them, and I threw them away or deleted them. I did incredibly well in the creative writing at school all the way up until I left the sixth form, and was determined to write books of my own to publish.
Yet, there was always something I wasn’t happy with. I thought my writing was too juvenile. I, a young person, just hadn’t had enough experience. I knew that. I constantly tried to figure out how to improve my writing and write the books I wanted to write.
Write something worth reading, or do something worth writing quote
I mooched about with this a bit in my head, unable to write due to crazy university and work commitments (somehow I scraped through a period of 75-80 hour work weeks at one point). My mental health dropped—the one thing I wanted to do was the one thing I couldn’t do (time-wise and mentally).
I finally gave in and followed Franklin’s advice. I'd seen his quote on all the top author's quotes pages and knew if I lacked life experience, I had to go out and earn it. So, I did.
There was one place I’d always wanted to go: Japan.
I’d grown up in a martial arts dojo since I was ten, embraced manga and anime, loved the food, and was trying to learn the language. I was always scared to go as it was far away and I knew I’d have to go alone. And I couldn’t speak the language. But the best way to learn the language is to just jump in and learn while there, so I did.
I did my thing that was worth writing about.
The plane to Japan was long and involved a transfer in Hong Kong. But, the view of the moon as we flew overnight from England, and then of the sunset over the Hong Kong sea and behind the mountains as we landed for the transfer flight was magical. Already, the writer in me got excited. This was it!
I found work in Japan as an English Content Specialist—my office was on the 39th floor of Yokohama Landmark Tower, famous for being the tallest work building in Japan. The view was magnificent, and if you looked to the left out of the large windows of our office at the right time in the morning or when the sun set, you could see Mount Fuji in all her glory. She really was spectacular. It was inspiring. Throughout my stay in Japan (and even now), I always felt there was something spiritual about her. I’d love to find a way to convey that in my writing.
Well, fast forward a crazy nine months, and my time in Japan was coming to an end. Originally planning to stay for a year, get a job and a new visa, and stay forever (I wished), I ended up flying to Australia for yet another experience-giving adventure. In Japan, I’d met many amazing people, several of whom became incredible, life-long friends, and one even became my partner. Trouble was, I had chosen the Japanese man who didn’t actually live in Japan—he lived and worked in Queensland. When we’d met, he’d been on a long holiday to visit his family.
So, I left and moved to Queensland to live with him and start our life together. I’d really miss Japan and will always want to go back to visit (and maybe retire there, who knows). And I knew it wasn’t a bad thing to be leaving. Despite my full-time job, I’d seen so many places in Japan, tried new things, and got those experiences I’d been searching for in the country I’d always wanted to go.
Now in Australia, my writing mojo has come back in spades. Somehow, my adventures in Japan and now in Australia really did add to that experience that created something worth writing about. The book I started when I was 18 finally got pulled from the depths and completely reworked. Would you believe it now has two books that take place before it and has become part of a series (plus a side book), with possible room for more beyond? And, other than this fantasy series, I’ve planned many other fantasy books (children’s and adults). It’s really fun.
So, Franklin, you’re totally right.
Something was missing in my writing before, and it killed me inside because of it. Now, I’m writing a global fantasy series with the best of everything we all love from fantasy. I can’t wait for it all to come together and show the fruits of my adventures in Japan and Queensland.
And, even better, I’m finally excited for others to read my writing. I can’t wait to share my books with readers and bring a world of fantastical wonder to even just one person.
So, I highly recommend you taking a risk and reaching for that experience you’ve always wanted. It’ll be worth it, and you’ll find your life goals will gradually become clearer, and you’ll have more drive to reach them, too.