Oh, here we are

It’s 2019 and I have been absent from the blogging scene for quite some time now. And regrettably so, too. So much has happened, and it could have been stuff I blogged about and shared with you. But I didn’t.

Everything always feels so haphazard here. All these disconnected thoughts and ideas. The good intentions that remain just that.

Maybe it’s like this for me because on the Internet, everyone’s got their public profile so carefully polished such that it makes me feel that whatever I have to offer is so meagre and pointless. Like nobody is going to read it or care about it.

But every time those kind of sentiments engulf me, I ask myself again, why do I keep a blog? Is it just to collect thousands upon thousands of followers? Do I write to inspire? Am I doing so to make myself feel good or to solicit some form of validation from others to convince myself that my writing is legit and of sound quality?

It’s hard to write blog posts, perhaps, because writing is my trade. If I let a typo slip through the cracks, it feels like it completely blots out my credibility as a writer. So I keep putting off posting anything till I feel I have something worthwhile to say and the time and space to put it down in proper words.

Thanks to this ridiculous tendency to self-censor what I write though, I end up not posting ANYTHING most of the time. And that’s terribly sad.

I’d like to try blogging more often. I would like to say once a day, at least, whatever the content might be, but that feels like it’s a goal I’m going to break within less than a week. I don’t know. I feel like such an indisciplined bum.

I need to write to improve. I also perhaps need an outlet to say stuff that I feel matters.

I don’t really have any Insta-worthy pics to put up though. And no revolutionary topics to bring to the fore. I only have these tiny thoughts that bubble up from inside me. And this desire to bring cheer and encouragement to someone else who needs it.

I’m into my 30’s and I do realise that probably almost half of my life may have already passed me by. I don’t know how much impact I can have, neither do I know whether the rest of the years I have left will be enough for me to get good at all those things I should have worked on earlier in my life.

But perhaps, this year, I will try a bit harder to keep this blogging habit alive. No promises though.

Expansion

While the year is still pretty fresh and crisp and new, I ought to make it a point to expand the variety of content on this blog.

There are things I have carried in my head for months and years, but have yet to surface in writing in any of my (past and present) blogs. Perhaps it is time to put some things into words.

In addition to what I usually talk about here, which is mostly parenting, my writing career and life reflections, I shall aim to share more with you about the following:

  1. Food (because well, we are Malaysians and it is such a big part of our culture)
  2. Craftwork that I indulge in
  3. Quirky stuff I stumble upon online (as a vague means of continuing an old column I used to write during my journo days)
  4. Music music music (because I was raised on it)
  5. Books and movies (whenever I do get round to consuming any such forms of entertainment)
  6. My life as a church leader’s kid
  7. Marriage and love life issues in general (without revealing too much that it will embarrass my husband, hopefully!)
  8. Poetry (oh it’s been so long since)
  9. Photography (something I have always wanted to delve into but never quite got round to enough)

Alright, I think that’s quite enough to keep me occupied throughout 2018. If anything other than the above comes to mind, I’ll be sure to alert you to it. For now though, I think that’ll do.

I also have to forewarn you that I may, on occasion, go through random bursts where I put up more than one post at a time. Or sometimes none at all for a prolonged season. This being all because my life is currently unpredictable like that. Thanks to one growing and roving toddler.

Anyway, I hope to be back to see you soon. Need to focus on getting some work done meantime. Plus, son is snoozing on my lap and I need to dispose of him put him back into his bed.

TTFN!

Shift, twist

I guess the way I blog really needs to change. No more long and windy posts. Mostly because there’s not enough spare time to write them. 

But still thoughts and feelings and stories aplenty. If only I can manage to find the words to describe them adequately… 

This shift in style and approach begins now. Let’s hope for better things appearing here.

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.