Rebooted Writing, One Year Later

I started out my writing first on Blogger before moving to WordPress in May 2010 because it was a so much better platform to write on. I posted at least one article every week in the past until October 2016 when I stopped completely.

I cleaned out all my posts, images and pages because of my desire to protect my own privacy after experiencing multiple data breaches in 2016 alone. Over time, I convinced myself I didn’t need to write anymore.

I was wrong.

I restarted my writing in mid-March 2017 because I needed an outlet again to deal with what I was going through in my working life. I posted something at least three times a week before graduating to posting everyday over the last 6 months.

In November 2017, I joined Medium because I wanted to put myself on more places to build up a portfolio of sort as I wanted to be a full-time writer. On the other hand, it was also to prove to and convince myself and my friends that I’m a writer.

But the truth is my self-esteem is low and I am easily influenced by others’ opinions, e.g., when people say I’m not a writer, I tend to agree. It’s the same with any other endeavor I take on. That’s why I keep falling into bouts of depression. I admit I was trying hard to be somebody else that I’m not. Again.

So now it’s time for me to stop listening to those opinions because I know I’m a writer. I’m just a different kind, so is every other writer.

I also came to realize that creating and publishing content curated for different platforms is splitting my focus, making it hard for me to write. For example, Medium is a platform better for those listicles, self-help, personal growth, entrepreneurship type of articles whereas I can treat WordPress as my personal blog.

Couple that with my strong desire for the perfect piece of writing, I’m constantly stressed. My day job as a programmer is already making me pull my hair out metaphorically. So it is now obvious to me that I’m doing it all wrong. Writing is supposed to be therapeutic for me and not contributing to my stress.

Gary Vaynerchuk always talk about doubling or tripling down on your strength and why it’s important. If you think deeper about it, it’s a good strategy because you won’t find yourself expending too much energy on something that you just isn’t good at. That’s why I have decided to pivot myself towards more fiction writing and less non-fiction writing in this ratio => 6:4. After all, I started out writing fiction and done it for most of my teenage and young adult life before going into non-fiction writing.

And I will put more attention on WordPress and get my own domain name.

As for what I will do on Medium, well, it will just be another platform where I re-post stuffs from my WordPress account that I think are suitable. I will remain a paid member because there are paid articles that I like to read.

P.S. This article alone saw me changing the title four times and I re-wrote the first few paragraphs at least thrice.

What I learnt trying to write non-fictions

Most of the non-fictions I wrote are actually my personal journals called Daily Logs that are published almost daily. They serve as documents of what I have gone through, my deepest thoughts, and how I see the world. However, they get little to no readers because they only serve two audience. One is me, and the other is my friend.

As a writer, that’s just not the right way to grow because you will always end up writing about yourself and become self-absorbed whether it is intended or not. That was why I decided to try and write other kind of non-fictions because I want to be known as a “true” writer.

The past one year saw me writing more than a dozen articles so far ranging from reviews to my thoughts about stuff in life and published them. They are on my personal blog here on WordPress and Medium. Through those writings, there are some lessons that I learnt that are highly valuable.

Ideas are slippery things

Ideas are slippery little bastards. One moment an idea comes to your mind and you get so excited about it. Then it’s gone when something or someone interrupts you. If you didn’t note it down somewhere, you will forget what it was. When that happens, there is no guarantee you will get it back.

Therefore you should always have a notebook or something that you can write on with you. This is to ensure that you can easily jot down ideas that comes to you.

Good non-fiction requires good experiences

In order to write good non-fictions like those self-help, listicles or life lessons type contents, you need to have first experience whatever it is you want to write about. It is only then you can distill that experience down into lessons that you have learnt, what you have done, and could have done differently. The moment you try to imagine and ramble on like you would in fictions, the writing that comes out may not look authentic, could come across as pretentious, and readers are smart enough to pick it up.

So if you don’t have real life experience on something, it’s always important to stay away from it. You are better off writing about something you truly know. This is why you will never see me write anything about how to improve your lives or be a better person because I’m aware of how limited my experiences in life have been.

Informational or instructional content requires a lot more effort

It takes a lot more effort to write content that inform or instruct. However, before you can even start doing that, you need to be very clear why you are writing it in the first place and who’s your target audience.

Then you need to ensure you truly know what you are writing about and how to present that writing in a digestible and engaging manner. I’m pretty sure no one wants to read a research white paper because of its long-windedness and most of the time irrelevant to your life and what you do.

The moment you aren’t clear about the why, what and how, then your writing will be all over the place and nobody will ever read it.