Writing a novel and a memoir made me feel vulnerable and I wanted to run away and disappear. For a while I no longer felt the desire to reveal any more so I decided to delete my Facebook account and my tweets. But writing is also about being vulnerable and self-aware. Unfulfilled desires need expression and writing is one way of addressing this need. Being vulnerable is about being emotionally transparent and as a consequence writing is very healing.
I’m always telling myself to be patient, love my family, give them my attention, share my love, focus on my health, keep building my energy and fitness levels. Writing books requires endurance and stamina. My level of energy governs my thoughts. To keep writing I need to keep positive and this requires a lot of self-care so I make sure I exercise, get plenty of sleep, eat well and drink lots of water. When I am not in front of my computer writing I like to spend time in nature. From this place of love, vulnerability, emotional and physical fitness I can be a better writer and family member. I stay out of my head and remain in my body. I like to keep my body moving. From this beautiful state, a place of love, I can persevere and better manage the ups and downs of a writing career, especially one that ventures on the sorts of truthful, emotionally charged books I favour.
Last year I published a memoir about my family’s migration to Australia, set in Melbourne in the late eighties and early nineties during my teenage years, and it was a cathartic experience. Talking about the book and promoting it were difficult. The experience opened me up and made me feel extremely exposed but at the same time it awakened a new awareness, the more I understand about myself and my surroundings the more I seem to gain additional strength. By being vulnerable and grateful, I have extra energy and, in the process, I am learning to better judge what is most valuable to me. Writing is something I do every day but being a father, son and friend is far more important to me so recently I have been concentrating on what my friend and mentor Iamm Liew calls the Six Fs. These include fulfilling work but also family, friendship, fitness, finance and faith. With faith I trust someone beyond myself -and nothing seems impossible.
The reason that I write is to connect meaningfully with other people. By following Iamm’s 6 Fs and by being vulnerable, truthful and appreciative my significant relationships are given the highest priority and my writing practice is always an interesting adventure that fills me with hope and anticipation.
See you July
Christopher Raja will be presenting Writing your own story at CYA 2021 on Sunday, 11 July 2021, 3:15 pm AEST