Genre vs. Idiosyncrasy

Genre is like an index. You are put there so people can find you. We always need to think about how others can find us. How they can hear us, can see us.

When they do, it’s what only we have that keeps the right people around.

Genre is a labeled box.

Genre is a platform.

Genre is a stage.

Genre is index.

Genre is an opportunity given by the stability of an ecosystem.

But in the core, genre is the part of what you do that shares with a bunch of other people’s work. It’s the general theme that connects different paths.

Idiosyncrasy is the reason for people to stare, linger, and stay.

Idiosyncrasy is the texture, the smell, the waves on the surface of a still lake.

Idiosyncrasy can be a disruption, too, when it’s strong enough. When it’s so disruptive that others might follow your lead, so that they will need to make another genre for you.

But idiosyncrasy is also going to be the reason why you are remembered for being who you are.

I think the way I’m putting it makes everything daunting to me. My first reaction was like “I will never be able to ‘disrupt’ anything”, “oh gosh I don’t want to put that much pressure on myself!”

But the way to do it should be simple, right?

I’m learning to sound like myself. I’m learning to listen to how I sound like when I’m being myself. But the answer always appears where I’m not looking. Not to sound too “Asian mysterious”, but “sounding like yourself” is something that you can only find when you are not actively looking for.

So I’m just reading, and writing.

I’m figuring out what I like, what I don’t like. I’m writing by imitating the things I like, avoiding the things that turn me off, believing one day I will be able to say: “This is me. This is how I sound like. This is what makes me remarkable.”

The name

Give it a name so that it can be seen.

Give it a name so that it can have a voice, can be heard.

Give it a name so that it can be understood.


Strip away the name so that it can stay how it is since the beginning.

Strip away the name so that it can go anywhere.

Strip away the name so that it can be anything.

Strip away the name so that it can be free.

Plan for 2022: write a memoir

Who writes memoirs?

I thought only old and very famous people write memoirs. They must have much to say about their experience. And it’d be interesting for the world to know their side of the story. Because their view matters.

I want to write a memoir next year.

I’m not old. I’m in my early thirties. And I’m not famous either. Nobody cares about my past experience. Nobody cares about my point of view on things.

My view doesn’t matter to anyone…

Any one but myself.

I’m writing a memoir for myself.

I’m writing it because I was lost for a few years. I fell off track and couldn’t come back for a long time. I want to look back at when and how it happened. “Face it,” I hear myself saying, “so that you can grow from it.”

I’m writing it because I start to forget about things. Things that I wish I can keep in my memories forever. Like in the film “Coco”, we live to be remembered; we exist as long as we are remembered. I simply want to keep some people alive in mine, in the only way I know how.

I’m writing it because I’m feeling stuck in my own life. There are things I want that I don’t know how to get them; and doors I don’t want to go in but they were wide open. It feels like I’m standing mid-way in my life but I have to start from scratch anyway. I feel there’s nothing in my hand, since the “me” in the past didn’t earned us anything useful for the future.

I’m writing it for my child. I care about her view on me when she wants to know about me. And I want her to know my side of my own stories.

I’m writing it from the earliest memories of mine. I’m writing about my family, my childhood, my school time, friendships, rebellious time, struggles, persistence, dreams… choices, heartaches, hopes, disappointments, the beautiful and the ugly…

As a storyteller, finally I’m telling my own story.

That’s going to be quite a project. That’s why it’s going to be the project of the year 2022. I will keep this channel posted about the exact plan and record my progress.

Turn something you “like” into “love”

Imagine something you like to do and wish you can say that you love doing it.

Because we all know (I hope) that love is heavier than like. It requires more responsibility and commitment. You will need more courage to even admit love’s existence.

But love can work miracles.

Its passion fuels up your actions.

It makes you feel alive and keeps you going.

So when you see something you like, and maybe “can even love it”, you might wonder how to make that transition happen?


Why else would you want to turn something you like into something you love?

It’s good if you like the things you do.

But you will live happier if you love the things you do.

Simple, but true.


This method applies to things you use in this sentence: “I wish I could do XXX better and want to keep doing it. I feel fulfilled and happy.”

For me, this “thing” is writing.

I’ve always been a keen journal-keeper. What I used to write was almost all self-therapeutical. To call myself a writer, I will have to write something with a reader in mind.

I will be creating something, consistently and constantly, so that I can call myself a real writer and content creator.

That, I like to do, but I wish I could do it better. Because I feel happy and fulfilled while doing it. I want to love it. I want to commit to it.

I want it to become part of me.


So this is what I do.

  1. Love makes us naked, physically and spiritually, so that it shows us the purest and most honest self.
    • Aka: I keep the setting simple. I don’t expect myself to write with fancy writing apps, on different platforms, or using the latest laptop. I have one place to write everyday.
  2. Love is consistent, even when it starts to get dull. And even when the dullness is apparently killing love. Sometimes it’s not dull but frustrating. Frustration is part of consistency. Frustration is because of wanting, expecting to be more.
    • Aka: I write every day. Plain and simple. It gets challenging with coming up with new ideas. It’s sometimes like roller-coaster ride. The excitement from “writing high” comes one day; the next day my brain was as dry as the Gobi dessert. But I just keep going. Writing trash. Every day. Nonsense? Maybe. But I’m still doing it.
  3. Love makes you want to stick to it forever, even if there are unpleasant things about it.
    • Aka: I don’t have time to do my writing during the day. Late night writing means not enough sleep at night. If I hit an idea-drained day, I would not only hate writing in my head. I’d also hate myself for making this stupid decision to stick to such a stupid plan… I let myself complain, while typing on my keyboard — there are unpleasant things. But love means I will keep doing it while bitching about it.
  4. Love is pure. It’s about enjoyment. It’s about being alive. So don’t do it with the “end outcome” in mind.
    • Aka: I write, no matter how many likes I have, and how many followers I get. I’m happy if my words get positive responses. But I don’t write for those responses. I write for the feeling of writing; what’s more, I write for making sound for my soul. Maybe, only maybe, there will be echo from some others come back to me. That’s hope. Not about profit or money.
  5. The sign of mature love is when something you love becomes part of you.
    • I’m not there yet. But this is my goal. And implementing the above three points, I’m going to get there at one point. Love takes time. If I want it, I will have patience.

I’m happy and fulfilled when I keep writing every day. I wish I could write better. I wish to have this feeling in my life, forever.

What’s your thing that you want to turn the like into love?

2021 Keyword: Reflection

I had to take a step back from work this year.

Unfortunately, I had to do so. But fortunately, I got to do that. Because I was told by a health professional that I needed time to heal. And in my heart, I knew I did.

Starting in March, I was on this journey called “healing while being pregnant”. It was chaotic in my head — many thoughts, sadness, anxieties, fears… I didn’t know when and how to start to feel better, what to do to make myself feel a little bit better. Even a painkiller would have done the trick.

But there’s no real healing from quick solutions like taking painkillers.

Pain is part of this journey. It can’t be erased. It can only be transformed.

And transformation needs time.

My instinct was to not think about anything else in my life but focus on my pregnancy. Yet the pregnancy can’t prevent me from thinking about my own mother, who passed away not long ago. 

Life has given me time to work intensively on the biggest trauma in my life. 

Because I needed time. If I kept working and running around in this world, this wouldn’t be possible.

Interesting timing.

So I started thinking about the word “motherhood”. Never pondered on it. Ever.

As someone who never wanted to become a parent, I pushed myself into finding the little hope in my heart, shining through the cracks in a think brick concrete wall called “cynicism”. And that, the “cynicism”, was just fear wearing a mask.

What came with the hope I found was reflection. Day and night.

I reflected on myself. Who am I and who do I want to be? Where does this kid stand in my world when it arrives?

I reflected on my mother. Who she was and how she was like as a mother?

I reflected on my own childhood. How was it and what has possibly caused me to be me today? Both the pleasant and the unpleasant parts.

How do other people raise their children? What kind of mothers are they? 

I watched documentaries about babies and read books on children’s early development. I saved articles on the psychological impact of childhood on people, and mother-child relationship dynamics and their effects on the children’s lives.

I was restless.


Now I’m here. A baby in my arms.

I feel happy and peaceful.

I still relentlessly reflect on everything. I’m here, and still going on the journey of healing.

But I’m proud to say it’s been going well.

I’ve started this journey and been doing well without even noticing it. 

All thanks to focusing on my one and only task: learning about motherhood and parenting through reflection.

And when gratitude comes as a by-product of this process, healing is working in the background, silently.

What hinders your creativity the most?

Since I call myself a writer, I’m ashamed to say that my most prolific time of writing is when I was in school.

We had two writing classes per week. Every class was 90 minutes long. We got a writing prompt at the beginning of the class, and we spent the rest of the time conceptualizing and composing. 

When I was in college, I changed my writing routine to every Friday afternoon for two hours. My reason to only have two hours per week was that I had other classes to focus on – my college major was not Creative Writing. So two hours of writing was all that I deserved. 

It’s been three years since I graduated with my M.A. I had been struggling with writing all the time. Much more than before. 

I didn’t call myself a writer. Not when I was not published. Not when I didn’t have a writing schedule that could make me feel my “flow of inspiration” and “water spring of productivity”.

Now I do see myself as a writer. Because I write regularly anywhere online, and I have an audience.

Someone reads my story and likes it. That is good enough for me to keep writing.

Writing is creating, and self-caring for me. The creative aspect of it sometimes serves the opposite purpose of self-caring.

To be completely honest, it stresses me out.

It stresses me out because it’s “supposed” to be in some way. Like the girls are supposed to be obedient and the boys must be tough. 

Creativity starts personal and private. What’s personal and private is subjective. What’s subjective is never limited to being in some “supposed-to-be” way.

It’s that simple.

So yeah, I started conceptualizing this post by making the following list:

What does not hinder your creativity:

  • gadgets
  • big chunk of time
  • endless resources
  • huge pool/endless information

What actually hinder your creativity:

  • perfectionism
  • impatience
  • inflexibility/stubbornness
  • lack of confidence

But I’m just going to let all of this go for now.

Because:

Despite it’s true, that we don’t need gadgets, a big chunk of time, much information to be creative, and it’s true that we need to work on our perfectionism, impatience, stubbornness, and lack of confidence, the only way to be creative and keep being creative is by simply doing it.

Doing it without considering the word that carries tons of weight — “be creative”.

That word can make things really difficult if you put that on your shoulder.

“I’m a creator so I need to be creative and I have to keep being creative…”

No. Just create. And create some more. 

Find your time. Enjoy your time to create and work on your craft.

Find your audience who appreciate your voice.

That’s enough. Do your work, and have fun.

So my conclusion is this: what hinders my creativity the most is the burden of the word “creativity” entails.

The secret to success – what “Better Call Saul” teaches solopreneurs

I’ve been watching “Better Call Saul”. Currently at the beginning of season 3.

Jimmy Mcgill is the odd piece that doesn’t fit anywhere in a law firm.

Doing bits to rip people off in bars and the streets for many years, he entered law with an already established value system – he doesn’t play by the rules. When he’s “being himself”, people who are traditional lawyers who hold things seriously and the law sacred dislike, even despise him. Considering he’s capable to be a good lawyer, this value system makes him perfect for flying solo – starting with entrepreneurship. 

But what he has that is considered “useless” among the serious lawyers – showmanship – is what makes him successful as a solo practitioner of the law. 

When someone is good with people, she understands what other people feel. She knows what they want and what they desire. She knows what they need.

That’s why she can say the right thing to get other people’s attention and trust.

She will get their business.

But don’t ever forget, if the ability to empathize and “showmanship” is all she’s got, it’s not enough.

Saying the right thing and doing a good show can only get her this far.

Only when she’s able to DO the right thing and DO it well and KEEP DOING it, can she keep these people’s business. 

Jimmy Mcgill has the work done. And he got it done well. 

Again and again. 

That’s why the elderly love him. If it’s not Jim’s own change of business direction, I don’t think his clients going anywhere.

(Well, I will keep watching. Of course, his business clientele changed… as we all know…

Don’t tell me what happens next…)

I’m learning so much from Jimmy’s experience so far.

Empathy, showmanship, real ability to do good work, AND good customer service are equally important for entrepreneurship — especially for solopreneurs.

Easy Novelty

We are limited by words.

We are limited by the world in front of us. We see, but we only see what’s before our eyes and not everything beyond that.

All we need to do is to shift our perspective. And that is the most difficult thing.

Where does novelty come from?

It doesn’t lie in the new things that we haven’t experienced.

It hides in the things we are used to. And the comfort we are stuck in.

The way to break through is to narrate the story from another person’s view. A view that we might not be happy with, that from the core, disrupts us.

Seeing

Stop hiding in something that only suits your needs. Start seeing.

Looking for the new in the old things.

Give something meaningful to you to another person. And ask them to make meanings out of it.

In this way, you see new things taking shape. And that’s the novelty you will be surprised to see.

每天一点中文,从今天开始

每天写一点中文。不要生疏了。

这几天非常忙。自从生日以后,过度的party,突然让自己被各种assignment淹没了。昨天探讨了靖国神社以及战后日本的国民性建设,近代早期奴隶制的救赎,今天又是东亚经济结构和机构与发展的关系。明天还要讨论中国的民族性。明天开始还要为下周讨论东亚文化以及发展的关系,欧盟和中国的外交及战略关系等等做准备……生活被压缩的满满的。

这种感觉真好。

朋友说我这么折磨自己,真的是疯了。可是精神的丰盛真的算是一种最好的自我救赎的方式。这一点不是每个人都能同意的。

今天读到一篇文章,讲“目的地导向”和“好奇心导向”。觉得企业发展主要还是依靠前者,而研究领域最适合用好奇心驱动自己。但是好奇心每个人都有,却不是每个人都有使用“好奇心导向”的条件。“无心插柳柳成荫。”“众里寻她千百度,那人却在灯火阑珊处。”刻意去追求的,总是觉得很难得到。但是回头看看,偶然的发现,才容易发现最有价值的惊喜。

现在的学习中,就是以好奇心为驱动力的。没有办法,因为喜欢的领域真的太多,要找到研究重点真的不容易。那倒不如不要选择,只要去做。最后能走到哪一步,也让未来的自己来评判吧。

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