On Starting Again (Picking Up Where You Left Off)


One of my best friends has been encouraging me to write for… at least the past 400 days.

Clearly, I’ve been ignoring his request.

My motivation to write, even from others, rarely outwits the  self-discipline needed to accomplish a daily word count goal or completing the deadline of even the smallest post online. My priorities have been mixed up recently, I know. I’ve spent more time thinking about writing than actually writing, I spend more time shopping for additions to my bookshelf than finishing the ones that are there, I spend more time trying to design a life of perfection than taking small steps in my routine each day to accomplish what should be done. Most of us want to imagine how we’d live the perfect life, we spend hours in complacency dreaming and designing how our lives will look one day, but how many of us bravely take the steps (today!) to achieve it? Day by day, step by step, little by little, fake it until you make it. Self-discipline is the key to success.

The truth of the matter in regards to writing is I’ve experienced some major setbacks in the realm of ordinary life. The totality of these effects stem from a death in the family, the end of a heart-breaking friendship, relocating my entire life from Asia back to North America (currently, I’m living in Asheville, NC), embracing a new job, and ultimately an entirely different way of living -thus, my hiatus. Others make choices, we make choices, and at the end of the day both parties are stuck with the repercussions of their decision-making; like it or not we are stuck within a collective pain body containing those around us feeding on his/her-stories of the past, allocating happiness to the future, and totally avoiding the present in hopes of something better either  later in this life or one after.  Suddenly life happens and when we thought we were going one way, the reverse entails: from the growing of a beautiful flower to the plucking of a weed, life is no other than our best preparation for what is to come. Embrace the demise, follow change, this too is good!


Setting Your World Aside When Everything Crumbles


Picking up where you left off is far from simple. It’s been more than a year now since I’ve published any of my own work online. Getting back into the process of writing is a bit intimidating. With Dropbox folders filled with research, hundreds of Chrome bookmarks needing to be sorted, and an amassing of around 150 physical copies of books (collected from this year alone) that I’m planning on reading over the next couple years, in addition to writing & editing, the work needing to be done is daunting. Of course, the commitment to self-education never ceases, which is all the more reason I chose this path. It’s worth the time.

For those who care, I’ve taken the past year and a half off for personal reasons. I never intended on stopping the creative process as suddenly or severely as I did, but my intention is not always what life intends.  If there was anyone regularly reading this website, I’m sure they’ve moved on to greener, more fertilized pastures of font. I can’t say I blame them. What I will say is that I’m planning on writing every day this year and I’ll start posting on the site again more regularly. It’s been awhile since I’ve written, so who knows what’ll turn up. Whatever it is…I’ll be sharing.

Now, back to the point of this short, but hopefully helpful article.

How do we pick up where we left off? How do we start over? Moreover, how do we begin again?

In the most simple terms, we pick up where we left off. For those of you that have recently stopped doing something you love, begin again by following three easy steps.

    1. Organize

What we had is where we left it. The pile, the mess, the savings of clips and recordings, the unsorted drudgery of our prior lack of organization that will take months of sorting out is all there waiting to be organized, waiting to be utilized, waiting to refresh you. One of my greatest weaknesses in transitioning towards a completely digital work space has been organization.  At least for me, organizing as an intellectual means is something I’ve severely struggled with over the past three years. The first step in starting over is getting everything in its place.

     2. Prioritize

Once you’ve organized what’s been left behind, then and only then can what’s important be decided and straightened out. Following the principle of organization becomes the principle of prioritization. Knowing the order of what to do with what you have to work with is crucial. With this understanding comes the pertinence of a question: What do I want to accomplish? Where are we going? For we must know what we want in order to assort the order of what needs doing in correct fashion. This is why organization is such a powerful process to begin with. Organizing shows us what we are working with, helps us assimilate our material/tools, and clears up our thinking process. Prioritization furthers the process along with making choices on what material we should begin with, instead of being overwhelmed with all we have to do.

We can imagine an assortment of books and a bookshelf. Once all the books on the bookshelf have been placed, to some degree, with the spine facing outward we can clearly see all the titles of our books. When all the books are organized in this fashion, then we can decide which ones we must read first; we prioritize our reading list based on what we’d like to accomplish.

The challenge with prioritization is overcome with asking the right questions.

Do we need to read books for our online college classes first?

Are we responsible enough to read investment literature to attend to our own financial goals, or should we delegate this task?

Are we reading for pure enjoyment? Do we simply want to kick back and absorb some popular science-fiction?

If we are trying to be a better writer, what’s more important: reading a book on improving our writing, reading a contemporary masterpiece by Alexandre Dumas, or practicing our craft via writing?

      3. Decision/Action (The Chaos of Choice)

Choices, choices, choices. Since when did freedom limit our progress?

With each decision comes a choice, trying to make “the perfect choice” every time results in insanity.

The future is uncertain, and even our best ability to make correct decisions can be met in the wildest of returns. The best we can do is make educated guesses based on asking ourselves, “What’s most important to us and our futures?” Ask the question, “What do I want most?”

Be productive with your choices. Be efficient. Be innovative. These are all terms we constantly hear as Americans. At our very best, continually asking ourselves what’s most important to us and our futures, combined with a sufficient amount of honesty and transparency towards ourselves and taking in consideration our responsibility towards others, will force an adequate response. Our daily attempts toward progress lie in choices embedded in uncertainty such that even the best of us are led through the guise of want and desire, those lucky enough to share some form of inner knowing have told their various tales throughout history including what became of their fates, and at very best exist those silent sages who in the inner fortitudes of a subtle essence are led to a path which is no path, a choice which is no choice, and that point of being which becomes to such a point of discouraging confusion for the many they dare not try.  

Feel free to keep it simple: decide on what’s important and take actionable steps in getting the process started again. With enough time and action, you’ll pick up right where you left off.

Starting over is like riding a bike, you’ve got to reorganize the garage to find where you left the thing before you can ride it. After picking back up what was thrown aside, stand firm with the inner confidence in knowing that you’ve already practiced how to ride, now it’s about remembering the steps. Put those steps in the proper order. Prioritize the steps to riding it: You can’t peddle if you don’t remember to get on the bike first. Forgetting to wear a helmet could save your life. And once you’ve ordered all the steps to riding (prioritizing) you can take off. Then its up to you to decide where you wanna go. Maybe the location has changed after taking some time off, maybe you are headed to the exact same place but this time down a different road, or maybe you don’t make it there after all. We never know who we’ll meet along the way, what unexpected encounters we’ll face, or the simple uncertainties blocking the road we are headed forcing us to reroute. Regardless, determination is a choice that is ours to make along this never-ending trail of return. 




The photo above is entitled Determination by Zach Dischner. No changes have been made, thanks Zach!