What Writing and Publishing a Novel Means to Me + Asian American Kid Problems =)

Sigh. I’m querying a novel that concludes in the time period of the bubonic plague. During the Covid-19 outbreak and global quarantine. And lots of literary agents on social media are posting about how this is really not the time to be sending apocalyptic novels to them because they just want to read something light, fun, and heart-warming.

Like most of you, I’ve been sheltering in place for several weeks now and figured why not document the thoughts that have had quite a bit of time and space to magnify in my head around the trajectory of my novel writing journey.

If you’re familiar with past videos I’ve made on my YouTube channel, then you might acknowledge that usually I try to stay on topic and focused. However, this video got way rambly to the point where I couldn’t even think of a useful title.

So here’s a timestamp breakdown of what I chat about:

00:55 How this process has differed from being un-agented and querying boutique Mind, Body, Spirit publishers directly
01:23 Why this endeavor feels different to every other I’ve pursued before
02:18 Storytime about wanting to pursue an MFA after college and why I didn’t
04:13 Persistence and keeping up my creative writing while in law school; writing and subbing short stories to lit journals and dividing my time between studying for the bar exam and writing a novel
06:15 When the dream of becoming a novelist started dying
*** 07:51 Vlog #1, Finished My Novel
08:51 Reflecting on all my artsy fartsy dabblings and how they’re often encouraged as extracurriculars in Asian American families, but discouraged as professional pursuits
*** 8:59 My tarot deck, the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot: Videos Playlist
10:45 “Fate is fate”
12:03 Tangent rant on Asian parents who discourage their children from pursuing the arts or who tell their children to multitask or juggle both a financially secure career and their passions
16:37 Feeling too old to be a “debut novelist”
17:19 Why publishing my debut novel feels high stakes and how this moment comes back full circle for me
18:42 Question for you. Share, if you’re willing, in the comments =)


5 thoughts on “What Writing and Publishing a Novel Means to Me + Asian American Kid Problems =)

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your journey I can feel your passion through the screen! I just wanted to remind you of what I’m sure you already know- publishing a debut novel young really isn’t everything. From age comes wisdom, experience, different perspectives and all of that good stuff. It’s important to keep that in mind if you are ever feeling discouraged or left behind. You will be coming from a different place, but in my opinion you are coming from a place of advantage in terms of your ability and perspective, the older you get. Keep going! Maybe your fate lies in different journey to those in your circle, maybe your novel is supposed to come from a place of time gained wisdom. Keep following your dream, Gina

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nina

    This was a great post. I feel like I can relate to this post on several levels. My parents or my mother specifically, guided me towards my career instead of what I would have liked to work on or become.
    The one thing, I wanted to do or become was an English Professor who taught Victorian Literature. I love analyzing texts and while writing papers were grueling, there was a challenge in them and completing them felt amazing. When I finished my undergrad the War had just started and jobs were scare especially for academics. Becoming a college professor wasn’t feasible and it meant that I would just be poor, according to family. So instead I pursued a career in law. While I am grateful that I am still working in this current climate. I still miss deep analysis of texts and applying critical theory to uncover the hidden means the authors created. Now I explore other creative outlets like photography and sewing.


  3. ailsaek

    Sympathies. My mom did the same. I figured out sometime in my thirties that if had gone to art school straight out of high school the way I wanted, I could hardly have been *less* successful than I was in the business world. If I ever win the lottery, I am going to art school.


  4. Patrick Booker

    I couldn’t disagree more with those rejecting your novel – to get through coronavirus, we need to enter that darkness consciously and extract a power of universal compassion. It is in the Underworld that answers are to be found. If I survive this (I am 71 with health issues), I will surely read it. Epic fantasy is probably my favourite fictional genre


  5. Pingback: Random Personal Update – benebell wen

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