Photo: Jason Strull
I’m fortunate enough to have grown up as a nobody who’d had a day job that involved public speaking.
What that taught me was that if I were to talk to a crowd of strangers, I better damn well have something interesting to say, lest I end up talking to a disinterested audience for however long it is I’m slated to talk.
Photo: David Klein
First things first, I never actually knew I could write for a living, so why not start with that.
I grew up in a developing nation, pre-internet, so that meant you either went to university to get a job, or you sucked it up and applied for any vacancy you could that paid more than USD 300 per month.
Photo: Nihal Demirci
This might be anecdotal, but I do think that the world is changing to accommodate generalists rather than specialists.
I might be biased though. After all, I’d jumped from hairdressing to auditing to writing. And that doesn’t even include my other odd jobs such as being an insurance salesman and a roadie.
All my life, people have told me that I lacked focus, that I’m doing myself a disservice by not hunkering down and focusing on one thing.
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: Luan Cabral
“I think you’re in a cult,” I said.
“You’re just not used to it,” Sara replied.
“Not used to what, a man telling me that mercury is medicine?”
“Forget it,” she said, more to keep me quiet than to concede her point. The other volunteers still flitted around us, packing up the event space and patting each other’s backs for a job well done. Some of them glanced sideways as they overheard my skeptic thoughts.