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“The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. He wants a drink. He needs it. It happens to be a fact that nearly every writer of fiction in the world drinks more whisky than is good for him.

He does it to give himself faith hope and courage. A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul and that I am sure is why he does it.”

— Roald Dahl

I’ve been sitting on this park bench for at least two hours now, thinking about what I should write about. It’s frickin cold and I want to go home, but I made a promise to myself that I would not go home until I had an idea for a story. …

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At one point in my life, I used to think that courage was an innate trait, which was bestowed onto the lucky few people in this world.

I would say that I was a pretty confident and courageous child. Or maybe I might use the words crazy and reckless… but if embodied in a child I’d say that the words mean pretty much the same thing.

I was a rebellious, adventurous, and rambunctious child. I had no trouble getting myself into trouble and found myself reprimanded by my parents at every step of the way.

There was a folk tale about a little green frog who never listened to his mother and always did exactly the opposite of what she told him. …

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When you decide to create, you are overcoming the self-doubt and fears that are inherent in every creator. You are displaying yourself in all your vulnerability and putting your pride on the line.

Each time you decide to create, you are building courage and confidence.

While this belief can work for you, it can also work against you.

Every time you decide not to create, to give in and believe the self-criticism, you are encouraging regression and fear.

The more you allow the darker aspects of your psyche to control you, the more you will be unable to create.

You must understand that fear is always part of the process. Because the act of creating is a heroic act — it is a leap into the darkness, an encounter with the dragon of chaos. …

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There are many times in your life where you seem to be at a crossroads. You experience decision paralysis, because you realize that there will always be irreversible consequences.

They can be rather trivial decisions — deliberating on whether to have sushi or burgers for lunch.

But they can also be profound — choosing to live in another city vs. stay in your hometown.

While the weight of the decision is incomparable, the problem is always the same — you must choose one or the other.

While deliberating on the pros and cons of the two choices, we often forget that there is actually a third choice — to not choose at all. …

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Today I found out I could do jump ropes for 20 minutes.

Not the most impressive feat known to mankind, but it was a triumphant achievement for me.

I also found out how hard it is to do jump ropes without the rope getting caught on your shoes. Until I actually started doing jump ropes, I thought I would be able to easily do it consecutively.

But when I actually challenged myself to start doing jump ropes, I realized how much coordination and concentration is needed to do it properly. …

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Personally, I can’t say that I know my own limits.

I don’t know how long I can run, how many push-ups or pull-ups I can do, how many pounds I can bench press or squat, how long I can study for, how long I can work on projects for…

I don’t know them because I’ve never bothered to find out. I’ve never pushed beyond my comfort zone to figure out what I’m personally capable of.

And maybe I did it because I wanted to be proud of my imagined potential. …

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I was reading Art & Fear — Observations On The Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, and this paragraph stuck out to me:

“The world displays perfect neutrality on whether we achieve any outward manifestation of our inner desires.

But not art. Art is exquisitely responsive. Nowhere is feedback so absolute as in the making of art.

The work we make, even if unnoticed and undesired by the world, vibrates in perfect harmony to everything we put into it — or withhold from it.

In the outside world there may be no reaction to what we do; in our artwork there is nothing but reaction.” …

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Do you wake up each day with hope or despair?

For the past year, I’d have to say that I woke up with the latter.

And perhaps it wasn’t just personal issues that were affecting me. I know an unprecedented global pandemic and nonstop political tension certainly didn’t help anyone.

I’m grateful to have lived through the year with minimal financial and physical suffering, and I’m thankful that my friends and family have been able to stay safe as well. I feel sorry for those who do not have the luxury to say the same and consider myself extremely lucky.

But I’m tired of living in this victimhood mindset. …

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Starting a new venture is always hard. You struggle to find your “voice” or “style”, which I think is defined as the unique personality or tone you bring to your creative works.

When I started publishing on Medium, I felt like an imposter. I had read so many articles that I naturally absorbed the nuanced writing habits/formatting of the popular writers.

When I read over my work, I felt like I was just repeating what other writers had already said, but in a less eloquent and structured manner.

I felt like a fraud, because in my mind I was simply taking other people’s work and repackaging it so that it looked like my work. …

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I usually don’t say anything because I’m a conflict-averse person, but this moment was too much. He had the audacity to order a pack of cigarettes and a sandwich after lying to my face?

I had to say something.

“Hey man… I thought you were going to use the money for your kids. Why are you buying cigarettes? You’re not gonna have enough to buy food to feed them!”

The cashier accepted the $20 and handed the homeless man a box of Marlboro Reds. The homeless man was looking at the box, silently examining the pack. He gave the bottom of the pack three solid smacks. Whap! Whap! …


William Cho

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