At just 26-years-old, Charissa Ong has published two books and started a publishing company of her own.
Naturally, as much as Charissa loved writing since young, she never expected to go into this line at all. She shared with xtra,
“I started to write when I was really young, but I didn’t really know it was something that I would do in the future.
“I wrote stories about unicorns and Pegasus and adventures, which then led to more comedic blog entries about my daily life. It was never serious and my grammar and vocabulary were really bad.
“Short stories were supposed to be my main thing while I had ‘poetry breaks’ between each short story to let my mind breathe every week to practice. I ended up writing so much poetry until it eclipsed my blog.
“I get inspired by everything around me, daily life, stories, books, and conversations.”
The catalyst to the young lady’s venture into writing was none other than heartbreak. A very painful ordeal which writing allowed her to cope better.
But of course, her books, Midnight Monologues and Daylight Dialogues, aren’t just about a single person.
“It’s a little bit of everyone and myself.”
“I want my readers to think differently from different perspectives.
“My books are not just confession books. They are books that make you critically think about what you already know and what you don’t know.
“Challenge your thoughts and principles.”
The words sometimes come to her out of the blue and sometimes, even when she spent hours trying to write something, nothing comes out.
“The first book took 2 years to write because I didn’t know I was ever going to publish it, so I took my time. Compiling, designing, formatting, proofreading and printing it took 5 months for Midnight Monologues.
“I took a year and a half for Daylight Dialogues and compiled it in 4 months.
“Sometimes writing felt like a chore because I put a very strict schedule on myself on producing new pieces every week.
“I don’t want to be discounting myself by re-posting old work and getting out of practice. It’s just something that I have to do if I want to improve myself.
“But I do enjoy the process when the outcome is satisfying enough.”
Sometimes, when the young lass really ran out of ideas, she’d read some of her favourite books.
“I get really good ideas from the books I’m reading. I’d take the idea, butcher it and make something else out of it from a different perspective.
“I really liked the recent one that I’ve read ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ by Paul Kalanithi and ‘My name is Malala’.
“They’re both very inspirational books; although dramatised, they thought me a lot of things I didn’t know about myself.
“My problems aren’t just that big anymore, you know? It’s humbling.”
When asked which of her own piece does she like best, she named this:
“My favourite would be my two-side poetry piece because it’s both literal and metaphorical. You can literally read it from either side and combine it later on.
“The meaning behind the piece also speaks about how being single and in a relationship is not right or wrong at all. There shouldn’t be a negative stigma of being single or being in a relationship.”
You can also check out Penwings Publishing’s website for more info.