***This is another post that was written some time ago [September 22nd, 2015 to be exact] and is only hitting the blogosphere now. It is amazing how far the book has come since this time last year.***
I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I am super excited and immensely proud of myself. So proud, that I am happy to share this great news with you. I typed the last words of my memoir yesterday and completed the first draft. I know that it is very rough around the edges and still needs a little work [or maybe a lot], but the initial draft is completed, the words and sentences have been written, and a copy has been printed. My thoughts, experiences, memories, and stories have been carved in stone, nearly ready for the world to read and enjoy.
This has been a very interesting experience for me. I have so much pride and the utmost admiration for the twenty-three year old version of myself, that girl who moved to Taiwan, that it was hard to put into words. Some parts were difficult to write about and I hope I did each and every single experience justice.
I have learned many things along the way – some things more significant and meaningful than others. Some from a writing perspective and some on a more personal level. And I would like to take a moment to reflect and to share with you some of these things that I have learned along the way. I hope that maybe you can also learn something from them or share with me some things that you have learned, as you write [if you do] and/or navigate your way through life.
From a Writing Perspective…..
 My writing style and tone seems to have changed and shifted over the course of time [and words and pages]. And my perception of what is good [or not] has also changed as well.
There were some sentences and paragraphs that, when I wrote them, I thought were brilliant. Amazing. Perfect.
But, as time passed, I realized that those were the parts that needed some major revision and re-adjustments.
Why? Because as I started to write more and more, my ‘voice’ and style started to change.
Which, for me is actually okay. Because, that means growth. And in all honesty, change and improvement is always a good thing.
On a More Personal Level….
 Some parts were more difficult to relive and write about than others
Yes, some things were very difficult to write about, relive, and include. Describing the predicament I found myself in, before I had even set foot in Taiwan, is a good example. The emotions flood back and it feels like I was there in the same situation again, reliving the events and watching them unfold right before my very eyes for the second time.
And then, there are the embarrassing parts, the segments that I would rather forget, the information that exposes how others treated me. I contemplated omitting some of those bittersweet moments, but I knew deep down inside that I couldn’t, for a number of reasons. First, I would personally know that I wasn’t forthcoming, and it is a memoir after all. Second, if I neglected to include this information, I feel that the reader would sense I was holding back and it wouldn’t be fair to the person who took the time to pick up the book. And third, my husband always says ‘If people don’t want to be judged or if they don’t want people to know the truth, then they shouldn’t have said or done what they did in the first place.’
Believe me, I know that my rambling here completely makes no sense right now, but if you read the book, then I think you will know what I mean.
 There is so much good in the world [and especially in Taiwan]
From the moment I stepped foot off the plane in Taiwan, I knew that the people here were something special. They welcomed me with open arms. It is hard to believe the extent that Taiwanese people went to in order to make me feel at home.
There are so many examples in my book, but there is one in particular that stands out. It is something that these people did out of pure kindness. I wrote this in my journal about that night, which was slightly modified to fit the flow of the book.
They showed me a different side to mankind that night. Their kind gesture wasn’t out of obligation. They had no hidden agenda. They did it because they were good people, plain and simple. I interacted with people who, just hours before, had no idea of who I was or where I came from and they, as well as I, had a ball.
 Great and amazing things happen when you are brave enough to step out of your comfort zone
I was always the girl that played it safe, and in some ways, I still am that girl.
However, moving to Taiwan and living here my first year meant that I was constantly out of my comfort zone. From the moment I walked out of my apartment each day, my ‘foreign sanctuary’ awaited me and presented me with countless new and amazing experiences.
I did things that I had never dreamed of doing. I no longer let fear stand in the way of trying something different and new. Every day was [and still is] a new and exciting adventure.
 You are responsible for your own reality
I will always remember the blog post, A Good First Line, by Nicki Chen. This is where she quoted the very beginning sentences of some books.
And that post got me thinking. Is my first sentence good enough?
My answer is that I hope so, because it is a statement that I believe in and live by. They were the very words that made me work hard, that made me take a leap of faith, and that made me move half-way around the world all those years ago.
And those words are – ‘We are responsible for creating and shaping our own reality.’
Will I change it? Maybe, but I doubt it. Because deep down inside, it is a sentence that I really, truly believe in. Plus, I feel it is a perfect summary for the over 100,000 words [give or take a few or a lot when I’m finished editing] of details and events that follow.
If you are a writer, has your writing style ever changed? Do you agree or disagree with any of the points presented? What do you think of my first sentence? [Don’t worry – I can take both good and constructive comments.] 🙂
~~~Title and covered reveal coming soon!!~~~