I never actually wanted to be a writer when I was a kid. Writing about my feelings and voicing out my opinion was only possible in my diary – no one except myself was authorised to read it – or in my dreams.

It was way back in high school when I started writing editorials in the school newspaper about culture and other issues going around in school and in town.

I went to a Canadian school in China and my controversial tone in articles that the Chinese principal wasn’t very fond of, got me called into the office quite frequently, and the paper almost got suspended from being published. Good times.

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Now I’ve been a blogger for about 18 months, and since this partly makes my living- and might continue to be in the future- I take writing very seriously. Who knows, you might even see me on major newspapers or on TV one day.

Starting with the basic questions of “What do you do?” and “What do you write about?” that allow me to briefly introduce my work, people ask me a lot of intriguing- sometimes irritating- questions regarding what it’s like to be a writer, which is why I’m seriously thinking of printing a Q&A and handing it to any new person I meet before they start saying the exact same things other 50 people have already said or asked.

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To begin with, why would you ask me, “Do you make a living out of it?” especially when you know the answer.

No, writing doesn’t pay all of my bills. I don’t get to live in a fancy, serviced apartment in Central, but I get to write about almost everything including life, and there I can breathe through my work.

I write for the sake of myself, and for my own passion and interest, and yes, that means my parents are worried about my future.

If I invite you to go out for dinner or drinks to a cool place, that could only be because either I really want to have a fantastic day/night with you, or I’m researching for a place to write about, and you are my partner in crime. But you should feel honoured, because you are the chosen one.

author and his typewriter

A lot of people envy me because I don’t have to go into an office, and work 8 hours a week, but my work is not as easy as you think.

It’s not like I have a database of original and great stories in my head, and type them up anytime I want.

I often spend more than three days to come up with something/anything, and you have no idea how crazy it is to have writer’s block.

I also have a fear of impending deadlines and negative feedback.

Yes, I get to go to the beach on Monday, sleep till 1pm if I’m tired, but sometimes I stay up until 6am to edit my piece, and still feel stupid.

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I swear, writing is actually work. I try real hard to explain to people what I do, and at no point does it sound like work. I might as well just say, “I sit out in a nice cafe with a smoking area, get on Facebook, search for the cheapest flight to get out of this awful city, and make stuff up.”

All I’m saying is, it’s a “real job,” and I’m actually accomplishing something here.

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I also want you to know that weird shit goes through my head in a brisk, never-ending pace.

I get lost in my thoughts, imagination, and brainstorming ideas, and probably this is why I enjoy being alone, because I often don’t even realise how much time has passed.

What can I say? I’m a freelance penmonkey, and don’t even think about being a writer since it’s difficult, hard to monetise, hard to get anyone to care, and you are not good at it. Or maybe I am.

Stella Ko

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