Today we bring you part four of our Writer Chats series, from the lovely Felicia Lim of Dish by Dish. Felicia’s a long-time commenter here at the blog and, more than almost anyone I know, a picture of what it means to find joy in writing. A lot of writers start out with a joy like hers–at least I did—but, over time, after years of deadlines and uninspiring projects, that joy wanes. That’s why it’s refreshing to hear from a passionate, enthusiastic voice like hers here.
My first experiences with writing began with journals, both online and off, but it was really when I started blogging more than a decade ago that writing became such a part of me, I don’t think anyone could know me well if they did not read what I wrote.
I wrote about life in University, short posts about the friends I had made; I journaled the feelings of insecurity and eventually confidence as I blossomed at school; I shared about internship interviews I had survived. When I fell in love on exchange in Mannhein, Germany, I wrote about the boy who had captured my heart, the travels we made together, and the journeys we spent in our long-distance years and nowadays, I write about being able to live in the same country as him. I created poems, lines dictated by the emotions that tugged at my heart; I wrote long, winding prose, uninhibited by time or space or the opinions of others.
I remember years of writing, on and off. Some posts were private, for my eyes only. Others were password-protected, by invitation solely. The rest were free for the world to read, if any eyes felt keen to graze upon my writing.
But while those initial years of writing were largely about my personal life, and written for a small and select audience, I’m now convinced that writing, whose reach has extended beyond its traditional physical boundaries, thanks to the Internet, is meant to unite people.
These days, I write out of a strong, grasping need to connect to others; to meet and make friends in a way I wouldn’t be able to physically.
In part, there was a natural push in the direction to write to a wider audience because my relocation to Buenos Aires from my hometown Singapore suddenly left me far away from friends and family I’d believed would always be near me. With an 11-hour time difference between Argentina and Singapore, calls had to be scheduled ahead of time; and emails sometimes were replied much later, if not forgotten.
Having been installed in a country that spoke Spanish, I had to learn a foreign language from scratch; and, even though I’m now fluent in Spanish, there are some things and feelings which can only be expressed in your mother tongue; and because there are so many thoughts going on in my mind, I have to write them out – in English.
So every time I’m amazed by something, I write. I scribble about the warm, golden rays of sunlight that stream through my window on a bright summer morning; or the plump, blushing peaches in the farmer’s market. I journal about the emotions being stirred up inside when my job security seems uncertain; or when the future seems so blurred, and the only thing I’m sure of is the present. I put down on pen and paper the beauty of the dark, intense velvet night sky that greets me when I step out of the office, my face cold from the winter chill.
What I’m saying is that I write, because it’s a part of me; I write because I cannot imagine life without writing. I don’t write to show off writing skills or flowery vocabulary. I don’t write to meet a deadline. I write, because, more than anything, it’s the best way I can connect.
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Felicia for this heartfelt post! We’d love to hear some of your personal thoughts on writing—why you do it, what you’ve learned about it, what it means to you—too.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.