|▲ Sungho Uh, CEO of Uhsungho Writing Research Institute|
There is a saying that goes ‘A book is like a person’s life.’ As this maxim suggests, writing a book can sometimes enable a person to change his life dramatically. Likewise, it is not a coincidence that we can recently witness many cases where people, young or old, wish to write their own books to search for true meaning of their lives. In particular, since the 100-year life almost became a reality, those retirees who are planning the second act of life join this trend ardently. However, many people, despite their resolution to write a book, give it up simply because they alone don’t know where to start. Most of people don’t even think of writing books on the assumption that books can be written only by professional writers and people with special talents.
Writer Sungho Uh, author of eight books including 『Power of Writing lets me stand up again』, is the right person to visit if you are still hesitating to start writing your book. As CEO of the Uhsungho Writing Research Institute(UWRI), writer Uh provides writing education to those who wish to write and publish a book by themselves. Among other things, CEO Uh’s unique perspective on writing promotes an easy access to writing. He emphasizes that writing is not as difficult as it seems because backbone of writing does not lie in writing skills, but in arranging thoughts and ideas. Anyone can be a writer if they build thought-organizing skills through the help of good mentors, he added.
In an answer to the question of what writing is, CEO Uh says writing is about weaving one's thoughts to make a large garment, and bringing it out in a visible form, just like weaving yarn to make clothes. As well-woven thoughts can be, though invisible, a book on its own, it is necessary to learn how to weave thoughts and ideas effectively for good writing. Based on this belief, CEO UH himself prepared the textbooks used for UWRI’s writing education. In the textbooks, 'listening' is omitted which constitutes four major areas of language along with 'reading, speaking and writing'. Instead, another subject 'thinking' is added as a main feature of UWRI’s writing program. The program is also in the unique position to draw ideas from various sources such as movies, advertisements, TV shows, and sports programs as well as existing books and literature.
In addition, the classes of the UWRI are designed to help its learners understand and enjoy writing without difficulty, so that a spectrum of people, including elementary school students, can join the classes. Actually, even some professional writers take the Institute’s classes in an effort to draw ideas and arrange thoughts through the well-designed thought-provoking programs. Among them is Kim Soon-bok, the author of 『Runway at the Edge of the Cliff』 and famous lecturer who delivers hope and positive energy to many of her readers. She once mentioned her experience of taking classes at the UWRI, and expressed her strong confidence in it.
The UWRI generally allows its students to tackle with writing and publishing their own books after taking its five-month educational course. However, there are some people who found the joyment of publishing their own books within short period of time. CEO Uh introduced the case of Yang Byung-tae, author of 『Better Your Fear』, who were able to publish his own book through strenuous effort and research only six months after he took the UWRI’s classes. Mr. Uh also mentioned an impressive experience where he gave lectures to people who took the class with only a month to go. They were about to launch a writing class for children in a month’s time. It seems impossible to complete a five-month course within a month, but they were able to make it because of their strong go-for-it spirit and a clear sense of purpose.
CEO Uh, a native of Daegu, has taken various jobs at some local companies. He recalls, however, it was writing that made his heart beat in the end. Since receiving an writing award as a 5th grader, he tried to become a poet during school days. Even during his military service, he practiced writing now and then and had a chance to win an award at a writing contest hosted by a broadcasting company. Over the course of it, he realized that this was the life he wanted where he can make various attempts through writing.
Mr. Uh once applied for a graduate school of interpretation and it remained one of the most impressive experiences of his life. Upon discharge from the military, he prepared his application since he was very attracted to simultaneous interpretation in the diplomatic field. In an effort to save tuition money, he took part in thesis contest held by local universities and research institutes. He wrote three thesis within two weeks, and applied for three contests throughout college life. The passion and immersion into writing at the time brought him incredible results, and the experience left a great impact on his current life. After graduating from Kyunghee University's the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies, a graduate school founded for the purpose of nurturing leaders of the 21st century, CEO Uh got a job in a field unrelated to writing and led his life as an office worker.
“To become a writer, you don’t need to be a professional writer who received recognition from the literature field.” he said. “I thought the moment you write a book, you can be a writer. My new life has begun since I changed my mind and published my own book successfully.” As self-searching after retirement has become a recent trend in this 100-year life era, the UWRI is also continuously visited by people trying to find themselves through writing. However, CEO Uh felt sorry for those students who don’t take the education program as it is mainly because of their own stubbornness and insistence. In that case, they can’t immerse themselves in the education program and their writing barely improves. That's why, the slogan that Mr. Uh always emphasizes while running his institute is ‘Get rid of yourself to become the real you, learn to give others’. It means that because what you perceived as yourself for a long period of time can be, at best, a prejudice, you can experience your new self only when you courageously discard the prejudice.
In a way, that is where the essence of learning lies. It is both a right and duty of those who learned first to spread their knowledge to others so that they can earn new opportunities. That is the cornerstone of Mr. Uh’s philosophy in running his institute.
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