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Mabuhay! I'm an Asian American writer (Back Kicks And Broken Promises, Abbott Press, 2012), martial artist and teacher who was born in The Philippines, raised in Hong Kong and ended up in New Jersey.

29 October, 2012

Development in Martial Arts as I've Seen Them

Developments in Martial Arts as I’ve Seen Them

My last blog post, with my 27th anniversary having just passed, was about my longevity in Taekwondo. In this post, I am going to highlight chronologically, as best as I can remember, the major developments I’ve seen in Taekwondo and, in some cases, martial arts as a whole over the last quarter century plus.

I began my martial arts training in the early summer of 1985 when I started Shotokan Karate training at the South China Athletic Association, in Hong Kong. I’ve always been interested in martial arts and I was exposed to them at an early age with Chinese martial arts movies, a judo uniform I was given as a birthday present when I was about ten, and the talk of Bruce Lee and nunchaku demonstrations by family friends at Christmas parties.

My eventual start in formal training came to a head when my friend and his cousin and I were spending a lot of time together during my final two years of living in Hong Kong. During those years, Bruce Lee films were being re-released in Hong Kong movie houses, the original Karate Kid movie had just come out and, on television, there was a short-lived show called The Master, starring Lee Van Cleef, Timothy Van Patten and a very young Demi Moore. My friends and I did the things teenage boys do - hang out, play ball, talk about girls, and play fight with faux martial arts moves. They also have a friend, a friend of both their dads, who is also a Gung Fu master and whose name was often bandied about with Bruce Lee’s and William Cheung’s. It was one of these school friends who brought me to the SCAA for Shotokan and it’s from that point that my life, for all intents and purposes, changed.

Here is how Taekwondo and martial arts have evolved from my eyes since June 1985.


The popularity of martial arts is probably at its highest since the early 1970s with The Karate Kid, The Master and a surge of other low budget but highly entertaining movies being produced. Sho Kosugi, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal thank you very much.


Taekwondo becomes a demonstration sport at the Seoul Olympics.


1. From footage of Taekwondo events from the 1960s and 1970s, it’s clear that the v-neck pullover uniform was already in existence but it became more popular and widespread as the 1990s progressed. I got my first v-neck uniform from a supplier in California that had a turtle logo. It was 100% cotton, not too thick and heavy, but hot. I like the functionality of the v-neck but, overall, I think I still like the look of a traditional jacket wraparound.

2. All martial arts use physics concepts - action versus reaction, small giving way to use leverage to win over large, etc - but in an intuitive sense. Taekwondo, however, appeared to be the first to put a scientific approach to its training. From teaching traditionally passed down kicks from the styles that preceded it - Tang Soo Do, Shotokan Karate - that include wide swinging leg motions, Taekwondo’s use of narrow motions and generating its power from hip twist seemed to become more widespread in the 1990s. Hip twist has been around for decades. Bruce Lee cites it in The Way of he Dragon and Judo uses it to generate power for its throws but, from my experience in several arts, the idea of generating the same amount of power with narrow leg movements and full hip twist versus wider leg movements (essentially a swing) with a pivot at the hips and with the opposite foot, seems to have originated from Taekwondo.


Taekwondo obtains full medal status at The Olympics. USA’s Herb Perez won gold in the middleweight men’s division to become the first winner of a full status Taekwondo medal.

1993 - present

The mixed martial arts (MMA) spectacle became widespread thanks to the UFC, the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Some stand up fighters did well in the early years but MMA/UFC bouts typically are between jujitsu stylists who’ve learnt some kicking and striking and strikers who’ve studied some grappling. Really, it’s the widespread realization of the kind of training Bruce Lee espoused. Personally, I think the MMA guys are fantastic fighters but I suspect that many of them may not be martial artists. There’s a difference between being a fighter and being a martial artist. The latter can be both but someone who is merely the former cannot be the latter.

Late 1990s/early 2000s

1. There was a corruption scandal involving the World Taekwondo Federation, the International Olympic Committee and the United States Taekwondo Union (the governing body of Taekwondo in the United States that has been resurrected and is thriving as USA-Taekwondo). Any kind of scandal is not a good thing. Any kind of corruption is not a good thing. They’re made worse when they centre around something you love. In some way, you almost feel guilty by association like those involved reflect upon you as a member of that community. That’s how I felt, anyway. Regardless, Taekwondo and the involved organizations have survived and Taekwondo, as a world sport and martial art, continues to grow. It was also at this time, and partly because of this scandal, that I started to accept that martial artists are not the error-free monks and mendicants, who secretly know the ways of the world, that are portrayed in the movies. We, simply, are human beings; imperfect creatures that have chosen to fight against the demons we possess inside.

2. When I started competing, most of the tournaments around were open, point-scoring ones. After a point was scored, action stopped, the points tallied and then the bout resumed until time was over.  I suppose the point-scoring system was popular to lessen injury and to generate more revenue so people of all styles could compete. It would also, perhaps, settle which style is the best based on who won but that would invariably add to the controversy. (Personally, I believe there is no ONE best style. The style has to suit the practitioner’s personality and the style is the best if the person conquers his or her demons and achieves his or her goals through its practice.) Today, those point-scoring open events are few and far between with many more style-specific tourneys being held. Individual schools typically hosted the point-scoring events. Nowadays, most Taekwondo events are hosted by state, regional or national organizations. There a fewer individually hosted ones and the ones that still exist follow the same format as those run by the International Olympics Committee, the World Taekwondo Federation and USA Taekwondo.


I love all aspects of martial arts but forms practice (poomsae, kata) has always been my favourite. In the mid 1990s, I wrote a piece about formalized, high level forms competition. I stated that there should be some kind of event and that it should be as recognized as, say, The Olympics. In 2006, the 1st Poomsae World Championship was held. I can’t claim any influence for this but I’m glad it exists. Furthermore, high level poomsae competition here in the US has emerged in state and national championships that even allow older athletes, like myself, the opportunity to compete and become state and national champions.


Around 2010, I think, Chuck Norris came up with the World Martial Arts League. Essentially, it’s teams of fighters (I think most of them stand up fighters) and there’s a round robin of bouts across the country. I always wanted to run a school-based point martial arts tournament like this in public schools but with most schools not even having boxing in their PE classes or as an extra-curricular it’d be a challenge to promote a Taekwondo/martial arts sparring team. In 2002, I wrote a Taekwondo curriculum that was added to my district’s overall PE curriculum. I taught it in the 2002-2003 school year but, being the only qualified Taekwondo instructor, it was difficult to manage and maintain. I have spoken with my department supervisor about getting a grant to revisit this and to train instructors but there has been no further developments or discussions on this. I know of, at least, one district in Utah that has a full TKD program in its PE curriculum.

With congressional help, perhaps, this can become a reality across the country. After all, Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee has trained many congressmen and he has even had a day named after him. Grandmaster Rhee, nicknamed ‘The Father of American Taekwondo,’ has throughout his life promoted Taekwondo as a means to attain a better quality of life and as a way for children to develop character. What more could someone ask for to be included into a district-wide PE program and to be added to its list of extracurricular athletics?


1. There seems to be an abundance of girls and women doing martial arts and this is a good thing and there isn’t any real surprise at this. It’s not a surprise in the way a girl playing on a boy’s gridiron team would be. It’s natural for girls to do martial arts, especially when you think that the Wing Chun system of Gung Fu was invented by a nun and how there are Japanese weapons arts that are geared towards woman. The surge of female martial artists here in the US, though, has to be credited to women like Master Karen Eden, Kathy Long, Michelle Krasnoo, Diana Lopez, and Gina Carano. They are all confident, feminine - dare I even say attractive, hot - as well as being badass modern women who can pack a punch. If I ever have a daughter, I won’t object if she chooses any one of them to emulate.

2. Taekwondo is now a household word. When Taekwondo first came into the US, in the 1950s, servicemen who were stationed in Korea brought it back. The term ‘karate’ was a more familiar one so many of the Korean masters advertised their art as ‘Korean Karate.’ When they’d say ‘Taekwondo’ they’d usually have to explain what it is. I found this to be true even in the 1990s. Today, it’s a common term and, if someone doesn’t know exactly what Taekwondo is, he or she will surely have heard of it. It even seems to be the martial art of choice in popular culture. In movies, for instance, when a character does a martial art it seems to be, more often than not, Taekwondo. One example is in the movie The Five-Year Engagement in which Rhys Ifans’ character studies and uses Taekwondo to defend himself against Jason Segel’s character. This is a romantic-comedy and not an action film. Action films usually won’t name the martial arts the characters practice. Or, they’ll be named and there will be a wide array of arts and styles on display. In movies about everyday life, Taekwondo seems to prevail. I say this not from any kind of scientific research but from my own observations. It illustrates, on some level, how widespread Taekwondo really is.

As I enter my twenty-eighth year of being a Taekwondoist, I‘m sure there will be more developments. For one, I’d like to see some kind of equal recognition between Kukkiwon Taekwondo and ITF  (International Taekwondo Federation) Taekwondo, a reunification of sorts, if you will.  I’d like to see Taekwondo enter all public schools in physical education and as an extracurricular sport, the way wrestling exists. I’d even love to see the Koreas unified, the way East Germany and West Germany reunited, with Taekwondo having some kind of influence in achieving that.

Who can tell what’s going to happen? As a Taekwondo master, I have some say on how the future of Taekwondo shapes up by how I teach my students and how well I represent that tenets of my chosen martial art. As a student, and as a master I am probably more of student than ever before, I look forward to how it continues to shape me.

28 October, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary

I’ve been so busy that it wasn’t until the end of the day last Friday, as I was riding home on the team bus from a volleyball match, that I realized it was my 27th anniversary of becoming a Taekwondo student. Actually, to be honest, I don’t really remember the exact date of my first Taekwondo class but I do know it was in October 1985. I can’t find my copy of the enrollment contract and with my parents living in The Philippines it would be too much to try to find the cashed cheque or bank statement from then to pinpoint the exact date. I was sixteen, we had just moved to the United States from Hong Kong and they were paying for my martial arts studies. The 26th and 16th and even the 9th of the month stand out in my head - and, funnily, they’re also birthdays of former secondary school classmates and the 16th is the birthday of one of my friends who got me started in martial arts - but it’s the 26th that sticks out the most so I use it as my anniversary.

When I think that I’ve been a Taekwondoist for twenty-seven years, it astonishes me. People do things for long periods but in today’s day and age, with so many things to choose from and so many things being seasonal, it’s hard to imagine sticking with something this long. I’m not sure of the exact statistics but I think in the mid 1980s, when I started Taekwondo, it was something like 1 in 5 marriages ended in divorce. Today, I think it’s worse at 50%. With something so sacred having such an iffy chance of lasting, how has something seemingly trivial stayed with me?

When I look at my middle school and high school students, a compartmentalized and seasonal life is evident. Fall is for football or soccer, the winter is for basketball or swimming or gymnastics, the spring is for lacrosse or softball/baseball, and the summer is for holiday. Even if the student does more than one activity a season, the activity time is broken up by days of the week and is a cafeteria of sports, arts and music. (Whether a child should do just one activity and concentrate on it at an early age or do many activities and narrow his or her focus at an older age is a discussion for another blog.)

So, when I look at my martial arts involvement and development, amidst the other things I did then and do now, it pleasantly surprises me that I’ve been doing Taekwondo for so long. I think my longevity - and I believe others who have been doing anything for as long and longer than I’ve been a Taekwondoist will tell you the same thing - is because I didn’t and haven’t given my Taekwondo evolution any kind of timeline. With sports, a person’s career ends. Even in some arts, like dance, the person’s performance career ends even though he or she may turn to teaching, choreography, running his or her own dance company, etc.

With martial arts, and not just Taekwondo, there is a finite part - found in the sports versions of them - and an infinite part. The latter is what the do (Japanese and Korean; tao in Chinese) in Taekwondo, Karate-do, Judo, Kendo and so on means. The word means ‘way’ and it pertains to a way of life; tenets of character development, etiquette, courtesy, respect (towards oneself and others) and humility that the martial artist tries to follow regardless of his successes and failures in and out of the sports side of martial arts. The do pertains as much, if not more, to the inner aspects of one’s life as it does to the outer (physical, technical and combat). In fact, in martial arts, the martial part does exist with respect to the practitioner being able to defend himself but, ultimately, it is about the battles we all have within ourselves - conflicts against laziness, cheating, bigotry, being judgmental, arrogance, impatience, the inability or lack of desire to forgive, forgiving without forgetting, pride and others.

And that’s the beauty of Taekwondo and other martial arts. It’s not like a sport that has finite goals like winning a gold medal every four years, a championship at the end of the season, setting and breaking records, beating a particular opponent. Yes, you can set goals each year to win the championship again or score more goals than the previous season but those are finite, black-and-white goals. Being human, which I believe is the greyest area of all, martial arts fits perfectly with the ever-changing inner turmoil and inner peace within all of us.

With twenty-seven years of martial arts under my belt, which, yes, is black and awards me the title of ‘master,’ I am still evolving. I may be a master in some of the technical aspects of Taekwondo. I may have even mastered and conquered certain parts of my character but humans experience struggles everyday and what I’ve learnt through martial arts helps me handle them. Do I win all the time? No, but when I lose it’s with the knowledge that I can face those demons that bested me today and overcome them tomorrow.

A Rutgers Tradition - revisited

A Rutgers Tradition - revisited

Hi friends! For some reason, my last blog post, A Rutgers Tradition, doesn't come up properly on some devices through Blogger. On my Mac desktop and Nook, the content from my NaNo, NaNo blog comes up in the A Rutgers Tradition blog. On my Mac laptop, my work-issued Dell laptop and my iPhone, everything comes out the way it's supposed to. 

Just in case it's not coming up properly on your device, you can click here to read my blog post, A Rutgers Tradition, in another location. It's my full website, filamkickingscribe.com, and the blog is fine over there.


21 October, 2012

A Rutgers Tradition

A Rutgers Tradition

There are four entries (five, if you count that number one has two definitions) for ‘tradition’ in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary and I would say that all of them are pertinent when referring to the famous – perhaps, infamous – ‘grease trucks’ at Rutgers University.

There’s been a fair amount of press surrounding these once transient lunch mobiles. I recently saw an article (in The Star-Ledger, I think) that mentioned the trucks and how they are going to be affected by the new redevelopment projects that are about to happen at my alma mater. There was also a recent article in the New York Times that addressed the grease trucks’ cultural relevance to New Jersey’s state university and how they face possible extinction in light of the aforementioned proposed changes. Those changes will take place in and around the university’s main campus, particularly at the intersection of College Avenue and Hamilton Street, across from Scott Hall, where the trucks are now permanently located; but for how long?

I don’t know if other colleges and universities have grease trucks. I suspect they do - since they’re simply lunch mobiles - but their trucks may not be as ingrained into the identity and cultural experience of the school’s students as the ones in New Brunswick are to the Rutgers student body, past and present. And, to faculty too! There really is something ‘Rutgers’ about them. If you’ve attended university in New Jersey, whether you went to Rutgers or not, if the topic of food trucks comes up, for certain, you’ll mention or think about the ones on College Ave. I don’t know what will become of them but, like most RU students who’ve walked down College Avenue and spent any time on campus, I’ve had my share of being a grease trucks devotee.

My first experience with the trucks came around November or December of my freshman year. My first two years of college, I was a commuter taking an early bus from South Orange to Newark, where I’d catch the New Jersey Transit Northeast Corridor train to New Brunswick. If I were lucky, meaning my sister didn’t need the car and/or my parents were on one of their long stints in Manila or Hong Kong, I could drive and leave as late as 7:15am to catch my 8:10am class. When taking public transport, my bus was at 6:50am.

Anyway, during that time I joined the RU squash club and made friends with other Asian expat students. They were from Singapore and India and I’m still in touch with some of them. Coming from then British-ruled or formerly British-ruled cities, we played soft ball (yellow and white dot) squash as opposed to the hard ball version many of our American club-mates were playing. So, in addition to our background, we had the sport to speed along our friendships. It was one of these friends from Singapore who took me to my first grease truck. It was a Wednesday, I believe, and we’d arranged to meet after my classes on the Livingston College Campus (now the Kilmer Campus) for lunch before going to my much later classes on Douglass, the Women’s College, where my department (Exercise and Leisure Studies) was located. I don’t remember what I ate but I do remember my friend being very specific as to which truck we were going to queue up. We hadn’t just arranged to meet for lunch. We’d arranged to meet for grease truck food.

From then on, especially with the cold weather upon me, the grease trucks became a regular stop on my way to writing classes and economics labs. They were located in Murray Hall and Scott Hall, respectively, in the Voorhees Mall. I’d pick up a cup of coffee – light and sweet, of course – which would be served in one of those blue and white, Greek motif cups and a bagel with butter or a coffee roll. From these regular stops, I started to discern which trucks made the coffee exactly the way I like it, which trucks had the best French Fries, which ones had the best Taylor Ham, egg and cheese on a roll and so on. At first, you just go to whichever truck has the shortest line. But, when things don’t taste the same, you go back to the truck that gave you exactly what you wanted, how you wanted it and you keep going to that truck.

The College Avenue grease trucks, you see, aren’t just a convenience for Rutgers students and faculty. They’re personal. Each semester, because you’re on a schedule, you pass them on the same days, at the same time. They’re familiar, reassuring. Regrettably, I forget his name (Abad comes to mind), but there was one truck whose proprietor and I started to get to know each other. We’d talk about football (soccer) and Taekwondo. He’d ask about Hong Kong, which is where I grew up and still call home.  And, he’d even give me free coffee on occasion. One time, as I crossed the street to get to class and the line in front of his window was life zapping long, he saw me as I passed through the truck’s back door, next to where the generator was set up. He called me over and gave me a coffee. When I reached for my wallet, he waved me off. The times I visited his truck after that, he never made mention of it and I still got free coffee now and again. A couple of times, he’d even throw in a bagel. 

The trucks become extremely personal, in fact, that a student will risk being late for class – and not just a large lecture where one can get lost in but a small lab or seminar in a much smaller classroom – by getting off at the stop closer to his chosen truck and away from the building his class is being held just to get a particularly made drink or sandwich. Even though you’re not likely to see the owner of the truck in any other setting, he and his truck become ‘yours.’ They’re part of your college experience – your Rutgers experience – and they’ll stick with you for years after you’ve stored your cap and gown. The trucks become so personal and specific that, whether you are going to be late or not,  you’ll find yourself running from one end of College Avenue to another and back to get fried mushrooms from one truck, coffee from another and a hotdog with the works from a third. This might sound impractical – ridiculous and crazy even - but it’s all part of the unique experience the grease trucks and Rutgers are. Perhaps this is one of those things you’d have to be there to really understand and appreciate. One time, when I was studying in the Rutgers College student centre, I overheard other students negotiate a food run. One said he was going to get a burger from one of the trucks, which he named. The next person asked the first if he could get the same thing for him but at a different truck. It’s crazy, but like I said, one’s relationship with a grease truck is that personal and that specific. (I didn’t but I was tempted to jump in and ask the first guy to make a stop for me.) The food from a grease truck, back then anyway, wasn’t exactly the healthiest - burgers, dogs, fries, bagels, doughnuts, etc. – but it’s quick, inexpensive and comforting. And, when you want comfort, you want a truck you can trust.

I graduated from Rutgers in 1991 and I’ve gone back frequently in the years that followed to play tennis with a classmate, watch the US Men’s National Soccer team play Colombia, and compete at Grandmaster Y. B. Choi’s annual Open Taekwondo-Karate-Kung Fu Championship, which was always held in The Barn (the College Avenue campus recreation centre). In the 2000s, I took my wife down to show her where I went to school and to listen to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Just last spring, we brought our son and I got to reminisce with a meal at Stuff Yer Face, which hasn’t changed much. We even bought him a red hooded Rutgers sweatshirt. With regard to the grease trucks, though, it was a trip in 2003 that stands out. 

My son in his Rutgers hoodie
I went to the stadium on the Busch Campus with a friend to watch Manchester United’s practice. After it was over and he got autographs and awed at some of the best footballers in the world, we drove to College Avenue for a Fat Cat. (My friend from Singapore, the same one who introduced me to the grease trucks, also introduced me to this ridiculously generous sandwich, which I have to say has gotten much smaller - by more than half - from what it was when I was an undergrad. The size and variety of the Fat Cat is one of the two things that struck me but I’ll talk about the Fat Cat in another blog post.) The other thing that struck me was the location of the grease trucks. There were far fewer in 2003 than when I attended Rutgers (1987-1991). Then, they were lined up on the quad side of College Avenue from Scott Hall all the way down to the dorms just before Brower Commons, the College Avenue dining hall. Now, they’re safely ensconced in a lot behind the bus stop across from Scott Hall on one side, at the corner of College Avenue and Hamilton Street, and frat houses on the other.

They were still there but there was something bland about my grease trucks experience in 2003. Maybe it was because it was summer and not a teeth-chattering December afternoon. Maybe it was because there weren’t many students getting on and off the D and G campus buses and rushing to class in an intense frenzy, harried the way only a self-important college student can be harried. It was bittersweet for me, to say the least. Nonetheless, my friend and I got our Fat Cats and we sat on a concrete stump to enjoy our burgers and talked about football. 

In 2012, the grease trucks are still there in that same lot. I’ve been down to Rutgers a handful of times since 2003 but I see things with an older man’s eyes. The grease trucks may not be what they used to be but at least this generation has its version of them. I hope they stay in the Scott Hall area. That’s where they’ve always started (or ended, depending on which side of College Ave you’re coming from). I don’t know where the new proposed location is for them, if there is one. I hope there is one. There’s nothing like them, especially the way they were when I was a student at Rutgers. Independently owned and rivals for the same crumpled dollar bills in students’ pockets, they form a fleet nonetheless. Lined up, front-to-back and side-by-side, separated each by a generator that purrs as familiarly as the cat you left at home and weren’t allowed to have in your dorm room, they’re there for every Rutgers student. They’re unacknowledged and unconditional friends. If you listen carefully enough, you can almost hear the generators whispering, “We’re here if you need us. If not today, then maybe tonight. If not tonight, then maybe tomorrow.”  Either way, they are a part of Rutgers – a tradition – and they should be maintained. 

I’ve rambled enough about this to the point of needing a pick me up. Think I’ll get myself a coffee, light and sweet, of course.

14 October, 2012

NaNo, NaNo

NaNo, NaNo

No, this isn’t a post about the 1970s/80s sitcom “Mork and Mindy.” Simply, I couldn’t resist using the bad pun as the title of this post. It is, though, a blog post about writing, story ideas and a great way to develop discipline in getting one’s first draft completed.

A few weeks ago I posted a blog that offered suggestions to battle writer’s block and to keep oneself writing when the proverbial brick wall is too high to vault, too wide to get around and too thick to smash through. At the time, I was having a hard time putting words on paper. Getting the ideas - the scenes - in my head into a readable first draft was too much of a chore.

I decided to revamp one of my screenplays into a novel to jumpstart my engines. I’m glad that my reverse adaptation - let’s face it, usually it’s a book that becomes a script and not the other way around - is going well but, in some ways, it’s going too well. This time of year is usually my least productive as a writer. With a teaching job that pays the bills, I’m usually swamped with assignments to grade, workshops to attend and faculty meetings to attend. I’m also a volleyball coach and the volleyball season in New Jersey takes place in the fall. With practices, matches, Saturday tournaments that run all day and bus rides to and from other schools, I don’t normally have the time to write. This year isn’t much different. I still don’t have the luxury of getting to my keyboard immediately after school. What is different, however, is the way my brain is working. The normal resignation I give myself that I’m not going to get much writing done from August to November usually shuts the literary creative part of my brain down until the end of the volleyball season. This year, at least within the last two or three weeks, my brain has been on overdrive.

And, this is a good thing. It’s a writer’s greatest fear wondering if he has another story to tell after putting out his first novel. Lately, I don’t have that worry because I’ve been popping with ideas. I know they’re only ideas and that they may not blossom into a full story, whether as part of a short story collection or as a full length novel, but at least my mind is turned on and creating. The problem now, though, is which one to focus on. I still subscribe to my tactic of switching between projects when I’m stumped on the one I’m focusing on and turn to another to keep my creative juices flowing. So, with all these ideas popping in my head, right now, I’m spoilt for choice. I do, though, want - need - one project to be my main WIP (work-in-progress).

To get to there, I’m trying another new thing. I’m joining NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, you can get the specs and register at NaNo’s website by clicking on the NaNo image at the top of this post. Basically, though, it’s a pledge to finish a first draft of a book in thirty days. You’re allowed to preplan and even write before the month starts but, ultimately, it’s a way of having fun with one’s writing (hopefully it’s always fun, though) and blasting through one’s inhibitions and getting a story written. I’m hoping that NaNo - and my publicly stating that I’m doing it - will get my active creative juices to take charge and help creative discipline in my writing endeavours. For me, it’s about getting a first draft written. Once I have that, I find the revisions and editing relatively easy because there’s something to revise. Creating, in my opinion, is always harder.

I have to thank James Scott Bell, though, for pushing me into doing NaNo this year. I read his blog post about it this morning and, while I’ve known about NaNo for years, it’s always been something I felt was too big, overwhelming and scary to undertake. I took almost ten years, after all, to write, revise and publish my debut novel, BackKicks And Broken Promises. In fact, the idea of banging out a first draft in a month still scares the junk out of me but I’m going to give it a go and have at it. If I don’t get it done, I’ll at least learn something about myself.

So, while I have lots of ideas jotted down on paper and in the Notes app of my iPhone, for the NaNoWriMo I am going to commit to just one idea and plow through it. I’ll keep you posted on how I do and, for those of you joining NaNo as well, I wish you good luck and happy writing.

30 days, 300,000 writers, 50,000 words.