Quantity and consistency lead to quality and confidence

You will probably find this kind of article everywhere. It’s been done to shit. Because of that, I created a file, gave it the above title of ‘Quantity and consistency trumps quality’ and left it alone for months.

It was only now that I figured out what I want to write about.

I want to share my story about how writing large quantity of content and doing it consistently lead me to where I am today. And as I was writing this, I realise the current title is more suitable…

When I first started writing fiction, it was for English Composition as part of my school curriculum during my primary and secondary school days, like most Singaporean student. Back then, I sucked at it. The stories I wrote were no good. My vocabulary was limited. Grammar was all over the place. But it was something that I feel comfortable with.

It was only during my upper secondary days that I figured out what I enjoy writing the most after having read a bunch of books by Tom Clancy. And I always went out of topic for my homework because of that. So I didn’t score very well then. But behind the scenes, I continued to write fan-fiction for games like Command and Conquer series. I didn’t care so much about grammar or vocabulary. Telling a story was more important to me then. By the time I stopped writing, my right-hand developed callous from holding on to the pen too tightly. The callous never went away until the day I graduated from secondary school when I switched to using computer to write.

And I didn’t stop there.

I crafted and played text-based role-playing games with people I met from a command and conquer fan-site which I was a part of. Those games went on for three years.

And I didn’t stop when I entered polytechnic back in 2005 to get my diploma. Since then, there were attempts to write at least four novels. Ultimately, only one reached the completion. I also wrote and submitted one short story for the Golden Point Award, and attempted to write a few more short stories–all of which have been published on this blog.

Now when I look back, the sheer amount of writing I did was just unbelievable. It didn’t matter to me if I am a published writer or not because the best part was, I enjoyed the whole process.

And you know what? With this consistent exposure to writing fiction during my younger days, I get to see myself getting better at crafting stories. How I prove to myself? It was by going back to what I wrote in the past and compare.

By this point of my writing journey, I can also say that I no longer feel that I suck at writing fiction, especially if it’s science fiction. Compared to the previous work I have done, my most recent novel, The Tainted Forbidden Love, is my best yet. It was the result of nearly sixteen years of intentionally writing fiction. If you have not check that novel out, please do and let me know what you think. The link to the first chapter is here.

So, if you want to be a creator, it’s very important to continue to create something at least once a day and doing it consistently. But I have to note that, it’s not enough. Each time that you create something, you have to put emphasis on quality. That piece of work has to be your best piece of work yet given what you have mastered.

P.S. If I had someone who give me a monthly pocket money of thousand dollars and I didn’t need to work, I probably will continue to write stories with more focus and intensity. And go back to do what I did: writing fan-fiction. There’s a game franchise that I love after all.

Discovering you are a highly-sensitive person and living with it

When I was growing up, I think I was like most kids. I was playful, hate studying, and make my parents mad. As I got older, I became more reserved, afraid of getting into trouble, and especially dislike rowdiness, but I didn’t think anything was wrong.

Then I reached my late teens and young adulthood. This is the time in your life when you start to take on more responsibilities and have more obligations. With that, it’s also when I realized that I don’t tolerate stress very well and have the tendency to snap at people once I’m over the edge.

When I reached my late-twenties, I started my first full-time job after graduating. Back then, I somewhat knew I don’t tolerate stress very well. So I told my supervisor and boss. He told me stress tolerance can be built up. One of the way was through exercise. I did that. There were periods of my life when I was going for runs and weight-lifting almost every other day until I actually hurt my joints.

However, I didn’t notice any major changes to how I react to stressors. I could barely function when the stress level is too high. I still snap at people when I get stressed up but not over the edge yet. Tiredness affects me pretty badly too. In those cases, I would throw tantrums when things don’t go my way. It became clear to me that hunger also affected me badly. I will feel very restless, irritable and get very impatient. Whining was one of my outlets. It was during this time, my friends told me to manage my emotion as I’m not a kid anymore.

I started to think something is seriously wrong with me but I didn’t do anything about it. I went on with my life as it is.

Life turned for the worse

My life turned for the worse when my boss at my new job kept commenting and scolding me about my inefficiency, my lack of stress tolerance, and generally messiness of how I do things.

Of course, it didn’t take long for me to slip into depression. I lost interest in almost everything else in my life and stopped sleeping properly. I gained weight. At the same time, I was blaming myself for being such a weakling. I even told myself that I was a worthless fuck.

It went on for a month when something in me clicked and I knew something had to be done. So I seek help from professionals. It was obvious that the company culture isn’t suitable for me and I didn’t want to be fired because of another screw up. I quit my job as I prefer to end things on my own terms.

Discovering the term, Highly-Sensitive Person

I took a long month break from full-time work. During that time, I spent quite a fair amount of my waking hours googling until I came across the term, Highly-Sensitive Person. I read the description and did the self-test here.

Lightbulbs started going off in my head. I finally understood who I am.

Now, the moment you discover you are a highly-sensitive person, you actually feel liberated. It was like you achieved nirvana. All the things you have experienced can finally be attributed to something. In a way, you actually feel empowered and now you can start taking charge of your life.

Living as a highly-sensitive Person

From where I am, being highly-sensitive is like a bullshit excuse, especially if you are a guy. People would think you are not mature enough and suggest that you didn’t face enough adversity. Well, at least that’s how I perceived those judgmental looks and comments I get. Some may just call you effeminate because of how bitchy you can get when your emotions overwhelms you. To be clear, that’s my extrapolated thinking as no one ever called me that. At least not straight to my face.

From time to time, I have to consciously make sure I’m aware of how I’m feeling about my environment so that I don’t snap at people without warning. I also make people aware of my sensitivities as most highly-sensitive person don’t tolerate certain smells, changes to their routines, being swarmed with work, and hearing certain noises. But in some cases, your situation remains unchanged because people just aren’t convinced that being highly-sensitive is a thing. You will have to figure out another way out as there are always alternative solutions.

Despite the cons of being highly-sensitive, it has its upsides and it’s up to you to turn your sensitivities to your advantage. You can now start designing your life so you can do your work better, live a happier life, and stop blaming yourself. You need to treat yourself better because it’s not your fault.

Helpful guides and articles

To help my fellow highly-sensitive people, I found a couple of articles online written by people for those who are highly-sensitive.

Angel Chernoff published 10 Life-changing Tips for Highly-Sensitive People that helps you to change your mindset and your lifestyle.

An article by Melissa on Why Highly-Sensitive People Need Minimalism is helpful. I fully agree with that because I discovered minimalism separately during my month long break from work. I stopped feeling so overwhelmed by my environment once I started getting rid of stuff and be more focused with where I direct my energy.