Writer Chats, Part IV: The Joy of Writing

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. 

Felicia Lim on the Joy of Writing

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.

21 thoughts on “Writer Chats, Part IV: The Joy of Writing”

  1. Thank you for your sweet headnote Shanna! And thanks so much for featuring me on your blog! It’s such an honor! : )

  2. OMG Felicia. I know the feeling on emails that can be forgotten ๐Ÿ™ Its just sad because so much effort has been put into composing an email and then you get no response ๐Ÿ™ I am far away from family and friends too, having jumped from SEAsia to the Middle East to the US. And it can get lonely.

    Writing (including blogging) is a way for me to connect, but somehow is getting lost in this age of videos and photos. So I really do appreciate people who can make time and exert a bit of effort in composing lengthy emails.

    • There’s something so meaningful about a friend’s taking time to read your thoughts and to then respond to them. So true, ladies!

    • Hi Didi! nice to meat you! totally understand your situation, and a big nod to long emails because it’s proof of time and effort! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great week ahead!

  3. Writing can burn so many bridges, both personal and with others. This is a lovely post, heartfelt and to the point. I love that you say writing is an unavoidable task for you Felicia, and the passion that goes with it makes it interesting for others. And I applaud your relocation. I live in Buenos Aires too, and couldnยดt think of moving to Singapore and starting from scratch there.

    • It can burn bridges, but it can also create them. That’s something I love best about the written word. Thanks for your empathetic comment, Paula!

      • Here we also use burning bridges as a way of taking shortcuts, in a good way. My comment came out completely different then…

    • Hola Paula!

      thanks for your lovely comment; I agree with Shanna on the fact that writing can build alot of bridges; maybe even much more than it can burn. The power of the written word is immense and therefore should be used to uplift, not tear down, in my opinion.

      Buena semana! saludos!!

  4. I think what’s so great about this article is that it relates to writers, or to anyone that is passionate about a particular subject. Felicia, I feel the same way about writing, it’s the clearest way I can convey my thoughts to the world (even if the “world” is me). Only now am I taking the leap into doing it for a living. It’s thrilling and scary at the same time. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Janice, I’m so glad this article resonates with you ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sure taking the plunge of faith to write for a living is one of the best decisions you can make! Hopefully one day I’ll do the same as well! ๐Ÿ™‚ All thes best!

  5. Felicia, you know I love you! I have never met you personally, but your vivid and uninhibited writing makes me feel otherwise. Writing in English does not come as naturally to me as it does for you. It’s funny bc we are actually quite the opposite in that regard. Even though I’m now fluent in English, oftentimes, I find myself struggling to find the words to describe how I feel. You are absolutely right! My thoughts are formed in Korean and no matter how hard I try, things get lost in translation. While I do like to write, I started blogging bc I love food and nutrition. It’s what helped me to recover from my years of depression, eating disorder (funny how food was what got me out of this vicious cycle)…I thought blogging would be a great way to keep me motivated and inspired in the kitchen. However, it’s become so much more than that! I’ve really started to fall in love with writing and connecting with others. There are so many beautiful people out there that I wouldn’t have “met” otherwise.

    Shanna, your blog is inspirational as well. First of all, I LOVE the picture of you two in the sidebar. My husband of 6 years (his name is Tim also!) and I decided to join forces and blog together just 3 weeks ago because two is always better than one, right? We find ourselves spending more time together, talking about our blog and what we should cook or where we should dine. We are having fun ;). Anyway, love you Felicia and I am looking forward to following and getting to know you more, Shanna and Tim!

    • Min, your comment completely melted my heart! You are possibly the sweetest blog friend I have, and like you said, even though we’ve only known each other for a short few months through our blogs, I feel like you’re a long-lost friend and would love to meet you if we end up on the same continent/state one day! Soo glad that blogging helped you get out of your eating disorder and allowed me to connect with you! Btw, I think you write very well too (you’re too humble!). BIG BIG HUG to you my dear friend Min!!

      Btw, Shanna, love the pic of you and Tim in the top right corner too! It’s soo incredibly happy! ๐Ÿ™‚


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