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.
Who’d have thought travel writing would exist? You get to experience something you otherwise wouldn’t, and they pay for it? What is this, a writer’s wet dream?
When I flew to Boracay for my first travel assignment, I couldn’t believe I was doing it. Here I was, a writer that had stumbled across various dead-end jobs before finding this gig, and I was well on my way to collecting passport stamps and magazine bylines.
That honeymoon period lasted barely two months though, because while travel writing was fun, it also offered what any other job did—the potential for it to suck.
Photo: Ben White
“Maybe your writing sits better with westerners than with Asians,” Nick said, comparing my blog posts (read: more than five readers) to the Facebook shares (my sister being the sole reader) I occasionally put out.
I nodded with reluctance. It wasn’t as if Malaysia lacked a thriving reading community, but there was also no denying it: I get more traffic and engagement from the USA than anywhere else, all things considered.
As much as I’d like to believe that hard work and talent trumps all, it’s becoming real apparent to me that getting your work seen by the appropriate audience seems to be a more effective way of approaching things than just blindly churning out content week after week.
Photo: The Climate Reality Project
You wake up, you check your phone. You want to know the latest stats for the article you’d posted yesterday. Two views. No likes on Facebook. One spam comment.
An e-mail comes in. It’s from that fiction competition you joined five months ago. “Thank you for your participation,” it reads. That’s always a bad sign, and a quick scroll through the rest of the message proves it.
Photo: Pereanu Sebastian
Ah, the infamous shitty first draft. The place where hopes are simultaneously born and slaughtered. The one thing that writers fear the most.
The first draft can be anything. I can write poop all over again if I want. Poop poop poop. I can, like, use punctuation however I like—I can even make sentences no meaning at all fire escape what yes.
Perhaps I’ll rewrite that later. Perhaps not.
But that’s the point. That’s what the first draft is. The canvas where you start creating your art. You probably thought that the blank page was the canvas. Well you thought wrong.