A New Journey

In mid 2023, I found myself on the unlikeliest journey of my life—creative writing.

Backstory

To understand why creative writing was such a leap for me, we begin with my childhood.

I always excelled at math, and, as early as 3th grade, I earned the label of “math whiz.” Throughout school, I was never able to shake this title, nor did I particularly want to, since I liked math well enough and it felt good to shine in some area.

On the other hand, I never found success in creative pursuits. I played a few instruments, but in a rote and mechanical way, unable to grasp the true musicality of it. I failed horribly at drawing and art, and not for lack of trying. Except for a brief comment from my 6th-grade English teacher, who liked one of my poetry assignments, no one encouraged me to do anything creative either. At some point, I accepted that I was incapable of being creative.

Now, I did read copiously throughout my schooling, and I particularly enjoyed science fiction and fantasy. But I was always on the consumption side. It never occurred to me to write, especially because English was consistently my weakest subject.

As I continued to university and then my career, I focused on programming, economics, and finance. I built a successful career on the basis on my finance and economics expertise, project management abilities, data analysis skills, and a drive to deliver high-quality work for clients—but still nothing creative.

What Changed

When I left my career, I went soul-searching, trying a number of new activities from ice skating to game development. Although I initially dove into the programming side of games, I worked with friends on projects that required us to take on multiple roles, so I explored more artistic skills like UI design. On one project, I ended up writing some lore as backstory for the game, and enjoyed the process, despite my terrible writing quality.

With my free time, I started reading a lot again, and rediscovered my interest in sci-fi, both in books and on TV. The ultimate catalyst that pushed me to write is a bit embarrassing: I was watching a particularly uninspired sci-fi movie one day and thought, if a writer could get this junk produced, maybe I should try writing too.

A New Path

New Beginning

So around June 2023, I started writing speculative fiction and poetry for the first time, with absolutely no foundation (think middle-school-level writing ability). I soon realized it was much tougher than I had imagined, and kicked myself for looking down on that sci-fi movie script. However, I found writing fun and rewarding, so I stuck with it.

With no training, no idea of what makes good writing, and no one in the industry to learn from, I was incredibly lucky to get a few works published in these few short months, which allowed me the hope of taking this more seriously. In particular, I am grateful for the support of Radon Journal and their community. I have a long journey ahead of me before I can write like the many authors I admire, but now I have faith it might be attainable with years of hard work.

And so we go.

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