I packed my bags, hopped into my orange Nissan and I drove. A picturesque town where locals walk around in jandals holding surfboards all year round was waiting for me. My new home. The opposite from the big city lights of Auckland. Paradise.

And yet it was chaos. Finding a new home. Changing jobs. Adjusting to a new job. Not to mention, the week before I moved, having my wisdom teeth removed. Probably not the best timing. One day out of work is all I need, I told myself. I was, of course wrong. Drugged up on medication with blood coming out of my mouth meant I couldn’t do much for a week except lie in bed and eat coconut yoghurt while dozing in and out of consciousness.

But all of the above? No one cares. The world doesn’t stop. And unfortunately, my book isn’t going to write itself.

In fact, if the world was on the brink of destruction, I still must put pen to paper (or in my case put my fingers to my keyboard). I still must write.

And that is the hardest thing about being a writer.

Honestly, I’ve always wanted to be an Author. It’s cliché and cheesy but ever since i picked up my first book as a little girl, I was hooked. Back in my day (I feel so old) we had a television with three channels that mum never let us watch anyway. It was either go outside and play or read a book. I chose the latter.

Twenty years later and here I am.

And I am close. So close. But the last few months has also been a reality check.

You sit at your computer for hours by yourself. Writing.

And you don’t even know if it’s good.

Actually you don’t know if your entire book is good or if it’s really just a piece of crap. It’s not until your mentor gives you feedback and some encouragement that you realise you are actually a decent writer.

It’s almost like writing a book has little to do with writing and everything to do with diligence. And consistency.

Forcing myself to write even when I’m not in the mood. Suffering from ‘writers block’.

Forcing myself to write even when I’m hallucinating from very strong medication.

Forcing myself to write when I just worked a full on day for my new job and all I want to do is come home, kick my feet up and watch the new movie on Netflix everyone is talking about.

And of course you have all the other personal challenges and trials handed to you that I don’t need to talk about.

Every day disappointments. Sickness. Fatigue. Personal relationships. The list goes on.

But I must write.

I am constantly reminded the things in life that are of the most worth are always going to be the hardest to obtain.

That’s what diligence is. Steady, consistent and earnest effort.

And perhaps that is what I am learning.

I know all the work I am doing is worth it.


Shilo Kino (Ngā Puhi, Tainui) is a journalist who previously worked for Fairfax Media and has had stories published in Huia Short Stories. She speaks fluent Mandarin from serving a volunteer mission in Hong Kong. Shilo is delighted to be selected for Te Papa Tupu 2018.

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