Dilemmas and Dead Ends

Of late, I’ve been dipping my feet a little into the Editing end of things.

Yes. Editing with a capital E. Heh.

I’m mostly a writer, but given how I’ve been working in an editorial environment for a good few years, I believe I have gleaned enough relevant wisdom to take on some small editing projects.

So I have mustered some courage and had a go at the smattering of editing roles that have landed in my lap in recent times. Can’t 100% say that I’ve always handled them well, but I do think that I gave each of them my best shot.

What I’m here to talk about, actually, is a terribly upsetting predicament that unfortunately seems to be a recurring theme in my editorial dealings.

You might wonder what exactly I’m going on and on about, my dear Reader.

Well, it’s simply this: So many people out there seem to be unwilling to pay a decent fee for editing services. Well, writing services too. Probably just any form of editorial services, I guess.

Now, I know I need to tread a bit carefully here as I discuss this topic.

Generally, I don’t like to talk about my paid writing gigs because I don’t think it’s particularly professional to quote experiences I have with clients (or potential ones). However, I’d like to say a little bit of something here because I think it’s a point worth bringing up.

With no mention of specific names or incidents… dear Reader, please tell me…

How is it you can spend thousands on a single inanimate object (like a smartphone, for example) and yet stinge so much on remunerating your (quite literally) poor writer/editor?

A smartphone costs thousands because so much effort went into sourcing and assembling all those tiny electronic components that, when put together, can work magic and mysteriously connect you to the rest of the universe as found on the World Wide Web.

Well, now. Let’s take a moment to consider this, shall we?

Just as much effort goes into sorting out your words from your sentences, rearranging your sentences into intelligible paragraphs, and building your paragraphs into a compelling story.

In fact, I think it’s highly probable that there are so many more words in your manuscript that require processing than the number of parts that you find in your average digital device.

But it’s alright, I suppose. Go invest your resources into those items that quickly depreciate over time.

Words written have the potential to be immortalised. To earn you a far reaching good reputation that might result in the wise things you said being quoted for generations to come.

Oh, but you don’t care, do you, my dear Reader? Forgive my sarcasm. Perhaps it’s just a temporary bad season for me.

Well, anyway, in case you might have been wondering about the title of this post…

Here’s the dilemma: Should fees that I’ve quoted for above mentioned editing tasks be lowered for the sake of accommodating the (somewhat unreasonable) demands of potential clients? Or should I let dead ends run their course since it’s good to do your work with dignity and to be paid what you’re worth?

Hmm.

Let me know what you think. Although I can wager a guess already as it is.

Reminisce

Back when I was a new Mum, I started a blog with a friend about our early days in motherhood. It was great, but sadly, it didn’t last for very long.

I’ve often thought of reviving it since having my second son, but have been delaying it because the site does kind of need some kind of sprucing up, and just as with every other project I hope to embark on, I am always hoping to devote enough time till I am satisfied with the result before making it public/known.

But aargh. Will it ever happen? Or will it be like almost every other motherhood related project I’ve ever dreamed up: Never executed, only to have my child grow up. Pfft.

I intended to recruit a bigger pool of writers this time, and to maybe extend the content contribution to go beyond just writing to maybe even art forms or any other kind of expression that can properly encapsulate the journey of motherhood.

So far, I’ve only mentioned these intentions to the original friend whom I started the blog with and another Mum friend. Heh. I wonder will I be creating unnecessary expectations that I can’t meet. I seem to be always doing that.

Anyway, it was kind of quaint to revisit those old blog posts and to briefly remember what it was like in Jamie’s first year of life. Oh how well I wrote back then. How I pen words these days seems to be but a shadow of my past writer self.

I can’t stay for long at the moment (isn’t that always the case nowadays?) but I’m glad I popped in.

Dear reader, I hope you are well. I certainly haven’t blogged as frequently as I had hoped (again, normal behaviour by my standards, isn’t it?) but I hope you’re still hanging on every word. Rest assured that whenever I am not posting something here I am actually endlessly thinking of what is worth writing about here. But self censorship prevails way too often, unfortunately.

Well, the morning’s coming so I’ll catch you later.

Words

I think I was born into the wrong era.

Society today prefers visuals over words. But for me, it has always been the other way around.

Perhaps if I lived back when letters, chariots and chivalry were the order of the day, I would have thrived more than I have in this lifetime.

Rather than merely garnering likes or comments on the webpages or social media accounts of my clients, maybe my words could have been used to persuade kings, to romance dark and mysterious strangers, or to convey the knowledge of mystical arts to hungry minds in remote corners of the unknown world.

Instead of being drowned in a sea of mindlessly shared videos out in the World Wide Web, perhaps my words could have sailed the seven seas and reached readers who would lap up every word in genuine eagerness. And there would be a chance they would even write me back, begging for more prosaic morsels.

But alas, I must concede to the ways of this generation.

Without an image to accompany this post, I will diminish the chances of anyone even bothering to read beyond the first sentence I have crafted.

Yet you might be that very slim exception, dear Reader. Here you are, after all.

Thank you for still reading.

Explaining everything

I used to be a journalist. This has profoundly affected the way I write nowadays. It’s both a good and bad thing.

The good part is that it has taught me how to be more methodical and deliberate in organising my writing and disseminating information.

The bad part is that it makes me overthink whatever I write (or want to write) even more than ever before. This makes me sometimes delay putting words to paper (or screen), and often altogether sabotages any efforts or intentions I may have to document anything.

Journalism made me question everything, including myself. It also made me a more thorough writer. It taught me the economy of words and the currency of information.

Ultimately, it helped me get better at explaining things.

It might seem like a trivial thing, but it isn’t as simple or straightforward as some may think. Communicating something clearly in a written form takes careful planning: From the order in which a subject is explained to the choice of words and the way sentences are strung together.

You start by deciding what is the most important facts you’d like to present, and you structure your sentences and paragraphs to reflect this hierarchy of information.

Choice of words matter, because you want to make sure what you are writing can be understood by your target readers. Simplicity is preferred over flowery phrases, more often than not.

Finally, you weave in all the parts that make a good story: Thought provoking words that somebody had said, the finer details of the scene (smell, sound, sight, taste, touch) and those delicious morsels from an insider’s perspective that only you could possibly offer.

And that, my friends, is how you explain everything.

Glimmer

Grey
Monotonous melodies
Permeating tepid atmospheres
Of meaning and mistakes
Big breaks, gargantuan falls
Grace, soft and tender
Lining clouds of thunderous tempest
Unheard, unseen
Angels aplenty
Unsteady, hoping
For better things
Brighter rays to illuminate faded portraits
Of perfection, perplexity
Animosity, confusion
Dissolution
Dilution of truth
If not for a tiny glimmer;
Undying truth
Amidst constant love
Faith to last
Emergent and extraordinary
Just faint reflections
Where, when, how yet unknown
Mysteries whisper
Eternal, unchanging realities
Enough to light skies ominous
Reach into hearts of stone
Just when you thought it’s an end of itself —
Hope reaches in
And breathes life once again.

*Dedicated to all who wait in hope and those who’ve lost the plot, but not the faith.