Nobody reads this

It's just a hunch, but I'm almost pretty sure that none of the people I know in real life are actually reading my blog. Or even know that I have this one out there.

I could do the narcissistic thing of posting about it on social media like what most people might do. In fact, I had done so in the past. But then it feels so much like asking for markah kesian from the school teacher. I'd rather people stumble upon the blog than me having to stuff it in front of their face and make them feel obliged to comment or do anything about it.

But this isn't saying I don't appreciate you, my random reader. If even one person out there reads any of this and derives something positive out of it, at least I can feel that this is all worth it.

Anyway, whatever the case may be, I'm still committed to writing here and keeping this blog alive. For now. Unless and until something tells me to stop. That moment hasn't come yet.

Time and again

Ironically enough, it's become extremely hard to write anything that I feel is heartfelt and of significant worth nowadays. I've been feeling so ever since I made writing my official career path, I think.

Funny, isn't it, since you'd think that because you're devoting more time perfecting your craft, you should be better at it and everything should come so much more naturally than it did in the past?

But this is how it's been. Regrettably too, might I add.

I revisited the old, first proper blog I ever wrote, Veritas Project, recently. It surprised me just how differently I used to write. So uninhibited. So candid.

In some ways, I wish I was back at that place and time of my life, and that I had utilised those moments more fully to revel in the emotions of that season more, to write more wholeheartedly. Because now that I am where I'm at in life, here in my 30's, there's a great difference in the things I'd write and how I'd write them.

Yet, of course, I'm not discounting the value of experience and where it has gotten me. I write now through the lens of someone who has seen more, who realises what she is capable of, and who now knows so many more precious things about the world and the seasons and rhythms of life.

Time and again, though, I keep returning to this point of contemplation that I need to put forward a more genuine version of myself whenever I write. Particularly when I blog for a wider audience, like I do here.

The difficulty here lies in the fact that having been a journalist in the not-so-distant past, my writing disciplines have been shaped to habitually involve the practice of self censorship. We do it all the time in the newsroom, although the reasons for doing so may differ each time. The words we allow to escape our keyboard are filtered: tapered down in its depth of feeling, politically correct, shifted and sorted to take on a supposedly neutral form, appealing to the average reader. Which is, in reality, probably no one.

Here in Blogdom, everyone is writing nowadays to garner as much Likes as possible. Building a band of followers that will faithfully swallow whatever you put out for them, just because they feel like you know them. You are like them.

For that is what is being peddled. Writers putting on a front of being an expert and knowing something special. Teasing readers with minimal prose, abandoning the art of it all, and replacing it with GIFs, memes, haphazardly compiled lists of things that nobody needs but everybody identifies with and wants to know about. A place where words are money, so make as much as you can, with as little beauty infused into those sentences. Because, what is the point in poetry? It is unnecessary and underappreciated.

Then there are those writers' circles, those exclusive associations formed amongst writers on social media platforms. Where writers rant and rave about the perils of the realms of publishing and lament the naivety of rookies seeking their way into the fellowship. Spouting advice like, "If your writing is rejected by publishers, it's because it's worthless. Please move along".

I somehow cannot fit into this landscape.

As it is, I already have trouble believing that I am a writer, and even more so calling myself one. And all this… this massive community of successful people before me; corporations who make profits from the words crafted by others; the formality of it all; the formatting of pages, columns, fonts; the rigours of being part of the publishing process… all of this feels stifling to me.

I want to go back to that spot where simplicity and freedom of expression were. That quiet corner in the middle of nowhere that I could sit at for as long as I needed to, use as many paragraphs and pages as I wanted, and express precisely how I feel without fear of judgment or ruthless editing.

Where it was just me and you, my darling reader.

I still want to tell my story. But (and this may be hard to believe, coming from a person with a history like mine) I am having trouble finding the right words.

Camp Nanowrimo 

Find out more here
Okay, so I decided on a whim to do this. Yes, this bum of a writer will finally take on a creative mini project. 

Great news is that you can set your own goals for Camp Nanowrimo, rather than the daunting word count require of the usual Nanowrimo held every November (which I had always failed to achieve on all the years I joined bleh). 

This time, I’m keeping it short and simple. So hopefully I’ll make it this time. 

My project has been christened as Imperfect: A creative project. I’ll share more when July arrives. Meanwhile, I’ll need to put some thought into planning this first. Stay tuned! 

Lookout point 

The drudgery of day-to-day chores and freelance work commitments got to me a little in the week that was. 

As a result, I didn’t quite feel like blogging as much although I did have plenty to say. I guess it’s for the fear of saying careless things that I will regret publishing later. Well, there’s always the Undo and Delete features, but having been a journo before, I tend to err on the side of caution. 

Anyway, here I am. 

One thought that keeps returning to me recently is this: What could a homebound woman like me have to offer you, my dear reader? Aren’t there a gazillion other more fun and intriguing places to spend your time at on the Internet? Why would you want to be here? Why do I want to take up your time to peruse my nonsense? 

Perhaps I am blogging not so much for you specifically. Maybe this is for me. This is the space I need to say the things I want to say. To be the individual that I should be, even if nobody is reading. 

For  as long as “Writer” is a description that I’d like to attach to my name, I guess I should keep up this blogging discipline. It’s just daunting that everyone else always seems to have intelligent things to say and/or is a subject matter expert in at least one topic or more. 

Me, what do I have? Just a random collection of thoughts, anecdotes and the occasional life hack to share. 

Not a niche in sight. 

But maybe I like it that way. Why be labelled or pigeon holed into a particular genre? I like the freedom of being able to pull out any topic to write about, at any given moment, as though I were pulling that proverbial rabbit from a hat. Maybe you like surprises. Or randomness. If you do, I hope I do not disappoint. 

However, even if this blog amounts to nothing great on the scale of going viral (because what other yardstick of measurement is there on the Web nowadays, eh?), I hope it is the platform on which I build my courage. That boldness to just say things and not think so much about them. 

And maybe once I have finally cleared the backlog of thoughts in my head, hopefully something more meaningful will emerge. 

For now, it’s back to writing boring old business reports and editing longwinded sentences about serious stuff that nobody talks about unless it’s to do with either religion, politics or money. Or perhaps just money. 

Money makes the world go round. Or just words, more or less. 

Journalling: Another year, another attempt

My new journal for 2017. Hopefully.

I stumbled across a Facebook post on my Feed today that piqued my interest. It was about Bullet Journalling. It’s the first time I’m hearing about it. Or well, rather, reading about it. 

I used to be an ardent journal writer back in my teen days, but since turning into a Boring Adult, I have failed time and again at resurrecting this deeply satisfying and extremely therapeutic habit. 

Part of the difficulty is being disciplined enough to write regularly so that whatever I jot down eventually forms a year long tale that makes sense. My journalling has reached a point of being so sporadic that it feels like it is useless to do so at all. 

Hopefully this Bullet Journalling thing will change that. 

And even if it doesn’t, I do so love making lists (and usually end up never being able to cross out much from them… sigh) so perhaps it will serve its purpose as some form of therapy. Which I do sort of need right now given that I feel a combination of depression + boredom + discontentment + aimlessness in my life. 

So here goes. 

Good thing is that the New Year has just begun, so it doesn’t feel so out of place to start this thing right here and now. Teehee. 

Well, I’ll report back later on if anything much comes out of it. Don’t want to have too high expectations. Toodloo!

24/7 shift

It’s only 8.13am in the morning, but I’m already tired. I suppose that’s because I’ve been up since 4+am. 

‘What are you doing up at 4am?’ You must be thinking. 

Well. I have a 6 month old kid, so even if my body doesn’t of its own accord wake me up at such ungodly hours, my dear son certainly will when amidst his dream-filled slumber something deep inside him screams for an ounce or more of milk. 

My days are run on 24 hour shifts nowadays. That means… literally no breaks. Every waking hour I am either caring for Jamie or trying to frantically get work done or doing house chores. Well, discounting eating and sleeping and toilet time, of course. 

With this Work At Home Mum arrangement, I doubt I will ever have any official leave the way you would if you work at a full time or even a part time job. It’s a bit mad, but I guess for now, I can manage it. I do wonder though if ever at time will come where my body will just give up on me for having been so harsh with it and never letting it relax or rest. 

SIgh. 

Actually, I should be blogging about stuff like this on this co-authored blog on motherhood that a friend and I have started up (YES, I do blog somewhere other than here). But I hate to cloud that space with too much negativity. Motherhood is a joyous experience, despite these tiring, rigourous routines we have to put up with in these early years. So I guess I feel I can only fully rant or be myself about it all in this personal blog of mine. 

Dreams of ever publishing a novel are almost completely banished from my mind nowadays. Never mind the issue of finding time (for that can still be arranged somehow), it’s more a question of what could I possibly write. What intriguing tale could I have buried inside of me that anyone out there would even want to read? 

Perhaps I should just focus on making money through my writing. Maybe that’s all that this gift of words that God has given me is for. For me to earn my keep. To supplement our family’s income so my son doesn’t die and so that I don’t use up space on this Earth with nothing to show for it. 

Deric says I dwell on the morbid side of life. This is probably one of those instances where it’s showing. 

(Just last week, I found out we had a mould problem on our walls and an infestation of book lice, not to mention the ongoing ant invasion in our kitchen. I messaged him to urge him to come back from work as soon as possible to have a look at the problem. “Hurry or you may find us dead with the sky having fallen on our heads and worms crawling out of our ears,” I told him. Well, something to that effect. Now you know how morbid I can be). 

I think I’ve lost the joy of writing. I’m so afraid to pen down thoughts, and to publish them online especially, because I feel I have nothing good to say. Nothing clickable or viral worthy. But why should that matter, I wonder? 

I miss the old days when random readers would surf my blog and leave comments on how much they enjoyed my posts (this happened for previous blogs I wrote on, not this one though). That feeling of a geniune, supportive blog community where everyone was just an ordinary netizen sharing about their lives on the Web. A blogosphere untainted by writers seeking to make a million bucks through click bait and advertising. 

I really should just think less when I write. It’s the curse of journalism that has made me self-censor so much. I need to shake that off. After all, I am a journo no more. 

So I’m going to try to write a little something here every day. If nothing else comes out of it, at least I know I am practising putting my thoughts to the screen and improving my writing in some way or another. 

I know I’ve made resolutions like this so often in the past, and that it always comes to mind around the time when I have to renew my domain subscription (which was just this month actually). But maybe for once, I will make good my word. Words. 

I need to unleash once more that long lost habit of crafting poems and conjuring short stories. 

I’d like creativity to be the hallmark of everything I write. 

I want to write shorter blog posts but yet offer worthwhile content that any random reader will appreciate, with ideas and perspectives that will remain in their memory long after they have left the boundaries of this blog. 

That is the sort of prose I want to attributed to my name. 

So I guess I should stop writing about writing and just write. 

Things that were, things that are

Image source: BBC

Received my first writing assignment today since delivering Jamie in April. Feels like ages ago since I’ve had to write for work. I wonder if I still know how to do it the way I used to. 

My sentiments about work and my career direction in general have been greatly altered since Jamie’s arrival. I’ve always said to Deric that I would consider quitting full time employment once we had children in the equation, but saying that in advance and being faced with the actual decision is two different things. 

I do not regret my decision, of course. It is something I have thought over many times and in my mind and heart, family always comes first (well technically, God comes first, but that goes without saying and I’m speaking of earthly commitments here). So here I am, finally living out what I have chewed on mentally for years. Giving up a regular career to focus more on being a better mother and wife. 

I’ve been told it’s hard to juggle between the two: working at home and tending to family affairs. Someone I know said it involves things like working at night since you can’t really get any work done when you’re alone with the kids and need to wait until your spouse comes to relieve you before you can get cracking at meeting your deadlines. Another tells me she sends her baby to the babysitter just so she can get things done during the daytime. 

I hope to do neither. 

But seeing how tough it is to get much of anything done with Jamie to care for, I wonder how I’ll actually accomplish this. I suppose I will find out soon. Well, I guess it helps that Deric has been supportive of all of this and hasn’t ever pressured me to find work. In fact, I think if I were to just decide to be a stay at home mum (aka SAHM) instead of a work at home mum (aka WAHM), he wouldn’t mind either. 

However, I see value in continuing to keep up my harga saham in the working world. That’s because you never know what the future will hold. What if Deric loses his job? Or has a pay cut? Or… Well, the possibilities are endless. 

So I’m going to give this WAHM thing a shot. I certainly hope it works out, because it has been so fulfilling to get paid to write all this while and I wouldn’t want to lose that ability. 

Writing itself isn’t a chore for me. In fact, it’s something I do willingly. It’s what you find me doing here anyway.