National Mentoring Program [Non-Fiction]: Processing Through Structure

I am looking forward to receiving the gifts of feedback and observation from my mentor as we begin this mentorship journey. I am hopeful that by working with an experienced author (May Q. Wong) who may nudge me to question and to challenge myself, I will ultimately dive deeper into my writing and re-emerge truer to myself as a writer.

The manuscript I will be working through has been steeping for about five years. I started writing bits and pieces in between the space of having my first child and having my second child. I developed some ideas into personal essays. I workshopped some material in online writing courses and in a program through the Manitoba Writers’ Guild. Yet it was only last year when I began to consider that my musings around spirituality could be a cohesive book. I have written most of the material this year, in short bursts of time after the kids go to bed and stolen moments on the bus to work.

I obsess thoroughly about structure as part of my writing process. I always start with core nuggets. I outline these ideas in its fundamental forms. These are the ideas or elements that compel me to write. I consider, play around with, and tinker with the structure to weave the narrative together. Then I write it and rewrite it and rewrite it.

If I could choose an author to write a book about my life, I would be honoured to choose Kim Thuy. She is a Canadian author of Vietnamese descent and I am deeply moved by her work.

In my perfect world, as a professional writer, I would be reasonably compensated for the hours and hours and hours of labour that go into writing. Compensation would address salary and benefits.  The increased financial stability of being a writer would remove barriers and lead to cultivating an inclusive space for diverse voices to allow voices from marginalized communities, voices have not heard from before, to breathe and to create.

Ten years from now, I have published my first book, the manuscript I am working on now, and I have published my second book, bits and pieces currently marinating, and I am working on my third book, emergent sparks in the background currently. My lowest point is the self-doubt deep in the night when it’s just me and the computer, whispers swirling – who cares what you think.

The highlight is receiving notes from readers about how they saw themselves in my journey, how my story resonated with them, how my personal path served them on their personal paths. The tears in my eyes and the hum in my heart – to do something that matters, that what I did rippled through the universe in a positive way, the interconnection to all.  Also, the highlight is continuing to model to my kids to pursue their hearts’ dreams by the road of hard work and perseverance.

I visualize this future and I work towards this future day by day.