The Passenger is Taking a Break

Journal

Dear Friend,

I’m taking a semi-hiatus from writing, but my memoir letters will continue. Although I don’t know how long this break will last, I’ll definitely return!

Čau!


Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train



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Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

When We Compare

Journal, TCK's Articles, Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

Comparing myself to others is so easy. It’s a struggle I’ve faced many times. I know I shouldn’t do that when the Bible clearly says, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12, KJV). What the Bible tells me to be wary of, is for my good.

So, why is it not wise to compare myself with others? Well, when I see that the other person’s path or what they have is “better” than mine, I want to have what they have or want to be on the path they’re on. And that shows I’m discontented and ungrateful.

On the other hand, when I see that what I have and/or what I’ve accomplished is “better” than what others have, I will elevate myself, thinking I’m “better” than them. And that shows I’m prideful.

Does the above sound familiar?

All of us have fallen into these traps one way or another. In both, we focused on ourselves and what others are doing.


How do we get out of it?   

Shift our focus to Jesus. We must be thankful, content, and praise God for where He has placed us and the blessings He has given us.


“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

1 Timothy 6:6-7, KJV



And quoting from Anneliese Louise, “When God blesses another, do not internalize it as though it were an attack on you. Rather, thank Him out loud for being such an overwhelmingly generous God.” Did a friend achieve something good? Praise God that He brought them there.  

As for pride, we need to humble ourselves. Acknowledge that all that we accomplished and have is because of Him. He is the One who blessed us and He is the One who brought us to where we are.


“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

Romans 12:3, KJV



It’s Not A Competition

The truth is, our paths are different, just like my journey in God’s will is different from yours in His. “It’s a personal race, not a competition,” a close friend once told me.

About a year ago, I told my mom I’m reaching my mid-twenties and started writing seriously not too long before that and additionally, I’m an unemployed graduate who needs a salary, how could I catch up? She said, “So? Your dad started “late” in his career and look where God brought Him now … Anyone can learn a skill no matter where they are in life.” What’s important is where God places me right now, no matter “where” I am in life as compared to other writers.

Currently, I’m 24. I am not published and am still looking for a job amid the pandemic. When I compare myself with others, it feels like I’m lagging. However, in God’s eyes, if I follow according to his plans and timing, I’m not falling behind. And being where God wants me to be, close by His side, is more than good enough. After all, He is the one writing my story. Who am I to say that I know it best? 

Thus, every time, I compare myself with other people, I try to remind myself this: 

Focus on Jesus, not on others nor myself. 


“Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.”

Psalm 105:4, KJV



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. I’ll be participating in the 7 Days of Hope Blog Tour! Hosted by Sawyer Marie and Abby Elissa. To follow the tour, go to either blogsite, Sundrop Girls or Abby Elissa from April 5 – 11.



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Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

Sorting My Priorities to be Priorities Again

Journal, Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

It seems that many people are swamped with work these days. Be it school or normal career work. As for me, I could not escape my own mountain of writing projects. I’ve always wanted to write a post on priorities; however, the right time for it didn’t come until recently.

A few months ago, I was going through a difficulty, and subsequently took a break from my own writing. After God brought me through my challenge, He eased me back to writing. Weeks later, I found myself buried in the mountain pile. Before I completely lost myself in it, He reminded me that writing should be treated as a job, instead of something that threatens to take His place and permeate every aspect of my life. I wanted to slap myself. How could I forget that?

And a few weeks ago, I told my mother I would do a certain project after I completed a writing task. She replied,

“Your work is never-ending.”

She was right. Just like secular work, my writing doesn’t “ends”. So why was I overwhelmed with it?

The problem lies with my priorities.

It was important that I settle this as soon as possible because they surround my personal walk with the Lord. I prayed, reflected on my priorities, and arranged them by macro (the big picture) and micro (within writing). My list of macro priorities showed what should be most important in my life.

Macro Priorities:

1. God

2. Family

3. Friends and people

4. Work (secular and writing)


I needed to ensure that God is always first in every aspect, that I’m protecting my quiet time with Him, and that I’m trusting everything into His hands. As a result, everything else naturally fell in their place. Then I asked Him to sort out my micro priorities within writing. He then reminded me of the list I wrote right after my difficulty.

Micro Priorities:

1. Letters for Book F

1. Fiction writing once letters for Book F are completed

2. TCK Ministry and blogging

3. Editing lessons, reading to give feedback, and guest writing


My problem was that my mind shifted from Him, and was fixated in completing my projects that they all became equally important. Before they could consume me, I surrendered them to Him, returned to the list He intended, and gave each moment to Him.

I reminded myself, priorities are something that I need to make a conscious effort to trust the Lord with each day. I shouldn’t have taken them to my own hands and assume I could handle them by my own strength. The truth is, I can’t because I’m not perfect. But Jesus Christ is, and I have His Spirit with me.

As days passed, I did not strictly follow the writing list because I was sticking to His leading. At times, He wanted me to rest from my letters and work on a blog article, or give feedback to another writer. Other times, He wanted me to pause from writing and spend time with my family and friends. And sometimes, He wanted me to encourage someone who needed it.

The writing list that He sorted became a reference for me when I have no clue on what to do next. I also found that ultimately, everything on my lists surrounded Him. And currently, I’m not overwhelmed by life anymore because

Christ is in the center of it.



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. A friend of mine wrote an article on productivity which encouraged me greatly. It is not what you might expect it to be. I expected it partly because I read several of her writings before. Anyhoo, you can read it here if you’re interested.

P.P.S. I’ve started a small section called Snippets of Truth. A snippet is a bite of the Bible, a simple lesson which you can read from the homepage. It’s also open for anyone who wants to contribute. If you’re interested, contact me.



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Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

New Updates on My Journey

Journal

Dear Friend,

Much has happened in my life for the past six weeks. And today, I can finally type my own blog post. The last article was drafted in June actually. The draft and the two guest posts helped me when I needed it. Thank you for your articles, Katja and Breanne, and I thank the Lord for His perfect time. If you haven’t read Katja’s personal writing journey and Breanne’s TCK article on citizenship, please do so.

Currently, I have a mountain of writing projects and non-writing related tasks waiting for me. I’ll thus be posting blog articles twice a month starting from this week. If I can’t, I’ll post as and when I’m able to. Here are quick updates on where I am in my journey:

Writing

I’ve returned to blogging, and Book F (written to maintain contact with my close friends). God willing, I may resume my fiction projects after I completed several letters for Book F. Other than that, I’ve resumed drafting articles to be submitted to other channels.

TCK Email Ministry

It’s continuing as usual by God’s grace. Any other update will be sent through the emails. Although they’re for Christian TCKs, any Christian would find them applicable. You can read sample letters here. If you want to receive emails every month, you can register here.

Content Editing Lessons

The editing lessons I’ve been taking taught me significantly in both crafting and editing. Also, I’ve been reading other writers’ projects, and giving them tips to help improve their craft. I subsequently learned a lot from all of these, especially from my mistakes. Funny how that works.


And there you have it folks! How about you? How are you doing in your journey? And do you need me to pray for you?



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo Choo Train

P.S. You may be wondering why I post in letter format. I started using Dear Friend and Very Sincerely Yours in the letters I wrote to my close friends (Book F). Then I decided to use the format in my blog, and articles published elsewhere.



~

Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

Updated: Accepting My Slow Writing

Journal, Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

If I had a weakness as a writer, it would be my slow writing. For a new novel’s first draft, no matter how fast I type, it would take me several months to complete. That is, without pausing to go back and edit. Additionally, considering I write several hours a day, this is awfully slow.

The irony is that I have a typing speed of 90-100 NWPM. Well, copying a paragraph for an online speed test differs from actual writing. The latter involves thinking and transforming ideas into words. And for me, I think slowly. My fingers follow suit. It’s a sluggish process. At least, slower than writers in general.

As a fiction writer, I write slow for first drafts because I plan and brainstorm ten steps ahead while I write. Although I usually have ideas and general outlines before drafting, my stories naturally change along the way. But for drafts after the first, I tend to write them faster than the first. Whereas, as a non-fiction writer, I write somewhat faster than fiction, specifically for snippets of my life (Book F). Because I knew what had happened in my life.

How about doing short pieces like a blog article?

Most posts take me hours to draft, and another day to edit it with a fresh mind. The reason is that I tend to think of each phrase. I did write a few articles within thirty minutes (e.g. My Home Is Not Here). However, rare posts like those occur in the spur of a moment.

My process takes significant energy from me. Hence, I would be mentally exhausted after one blog post. From a business perspective, this meant my input is greater than my output. Which may or may not be good. Of course, quality is better than speed. But I’ve written poorly with slowness too. From my view (and probably most writers), the ideal writing process would be low energy input with high-quality output.

At times, I’m disheartened by my slowness. Especially when I give much of myself into a piece, and coming out wondering if it’s worth it.

However, God made something good out of it. He taught me to endure, persevere, and be patient. I searched their definitions from Merriam-Webster (2020):


Endurance
“the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.”


Perseverance
“continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.” 


Patient
“bearing pains … calmly or without complaint”,
“not hasty or impetuous”


Their meanings are rather similar, aren’t they? These are attitudes I’m continuously trying to have. To be more like Christ. On top of that, slowness helped me to be humble, and to trust His timing.

I have a question for you before I finish:


Does it matter to Him if we write slow or fast?

You probably know the answer. It doesn’t. We tend to compare ourselves with other writers who write fast and complete quality projects. But their journey is between them and God. As how your journey is between you and Him. He desires you to give your all, your best to Him (Col. 3:23-24).


“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

2 Corinthians 10:12 KJV



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. I recently encountered another slow writer while I drafted this post (you know who you are). I’m not sure if this is relatable as yours may be a different cause. Nonetheless, thanks for reading.


References:
Endurance. 2020. In Merriam-Webster.com.
Retrieved August 8, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/endurance
Patient. 2020. In Merriam-Webster.com.
Retrieved August 8, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/patient#h1
Perseverance. 2020. In Merriam-Webster.com.
Retrieved August 8, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perseverance



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Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.