Photo: Miguel Henriques
“You look like an idiot.”
That was the first time I’d tried public speaking as an adult (well, I was barely an adult at eighteen), and a member of the audience told me that straight to my face. Harsh? Maybe. But maybe you’d think the same after I give you some context.
Photo: Ryan Snaadt
It doesn’t matter if you’re on a magazine’s payroll or if you’re helping out a friend of a friend with his website copy—as a writer, you’ll need to answer to somebody for your work, more often than not.
The thing is, these relationships do sometimes come with a bit of feedback, and some people are better at giving it than others.
Trust me, it’s no fun reading an e-mail with a list of things you’ve done wrong, even when you put your heart and soul into it. But receiving feedback and amending your work doesn’t need to be a helpless process. You, too, have a say as a writer.
Photo: Rita Morais
I feel I should clear things up before you guys go grabbing the pitchforks. The title doesn’t condone you lying—and you shouldn’t try to pass yourself off as something you’re not—but you can reframe a story so that it matches your narrative.
Photo: Timothy Eberly
I had many unorthodox interests growing up—I wanted to be a magician, an X-Games rollerblader, a breakdancer, a pro gamer, an MMA fighter—and thanks to the invention of the internet, I was able to truly learn just how lacking my country was when it came to these new interests.
For instance, instead of mixed martial arts (MMA), I would train kickboxing, only because it was one of the few martial arts gyms in Malaysian that didn’t involve Silat, Karate, or Taekwondo.
Photo: Sticker Mule
So you have writer’s block, or you could be behind on your blog-posting schedule. Your creative well might’ve run dry, or you’re just not looking forward to writing yet another article about the property market.
Well fret not then, because you’ve come to the right place. I’ve spent most of my life writing articles I didn’t care much about, with tight deadlines to boot.
Doing that taught me a very valuable lesson, and that is you don’t need inspiration to actually do the work. Also, writer’s block doesn’t really exist.