Yi Shu (亦舒) is one of my favourite Hong Kong writers. Her writing style is clear and concise, often elaborating meaningful messages with simple wording. And her writing style influenced many other writers, such as Canto-pop lyricists Albert Leung (林夕) and Wyman Wong (黃偉文).
In this book published in October 2017 titled All about Writing (寫作這回事), Yi Shu shared about the rantings of her writing career. Some topics are relevant to all writers, such as whether novelists / essayists should go to work in an office regularly or stay at home and write. Or when miscellaneous matters pop up, why writers should always prioritise their work above anything else.
She was also very frank about what dread writers most: the lack of inspiration to write something, completed pieces gone missing, missing deadlines set by client publishers, just to name a few. The long-debated low rate issue which troubled writers for decades was also discussed in her book, and she merely said that her writing career earned her a living. As far as I am concerned, Hong Kong is perhaps the only place which allows writers to earn a living from Chinese-language writing.
Hong Kong writers are the most hardworking of all: many of them are writing daily columns for years. Such work demands high level of regularity, consistency and self-discipline – which are also crucial elements in my translation career.