NON FICTION: Thinking Of Being A Writer? Don’t.

Fountain pen dripping ink

Photo: Nicolas Thomas

Every once in a while I get people asking me if they could write for a living, and my answer’s always: “Why of course.”

Then they ask if they should make the switch from their current careers to writing, to which I’d say: “What. Why! Why would you do that to yourself?”

It’s not that I’m in any position to give out career advice. Eight years in various writing positions probably makes me an average minion at most, but since I’m like one of two writers in my entire circle of friends, the responsibility of pointing hopefuls in the right direction kinda falls on me.

And most times, that direction is away from the publishing industry.

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NON FICTION: To The Writer Who Changed My Life

Man staring up at skies

Photo: Matese Fields

A stranger changed my life. Someone whose identity I’ve forgotten. I don’t remember the byline, neither do I remember his face in the pictures, but he’d single-handedly set me on a path I didn’t know I would take.

I was a hairdresser, going through the motions every day just to pay the bills. On a particularly quiet day, while I was flipping through all the FHM magazines, I came across this story about an unfit writer’s journey to fighting an amateur boxing match.

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NON FICTION: Sometimes, All A Writer Needs Is A Little Bit Of Faith

Hands writing in notebook

Photo: Cathryn Lavery

“Maybe your writing sits better with westerners than with Asians,” Nick said, comparing between the lacklustre performance of my blog posts against the attention (read: more than five readers) for my Medium articles.

I nodded with reluctance, only half-agreeing. It’s not as if there wasn’t a thriving reading community in Malaysia, and there was also a good amount of westerners on WordPress.

But yet there was no denying it: I’d posted the exact same works on both platforms only to get much more traction on Medium. As much as I’d like to believe that hard work and talent trumps all, I’ll bet that more people will read this article on Medium than on my blog.

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NON FICTION: Why ‘Just Write’ Isn’t Just Cliché Writing Advice

A woman writing in notebook

Photo: Trent Szmolnik

I know, I know. Enough of ‘just write’ articles. If you’re a writer worth your salt, you’ve probably procrastinated more than five times the amount you actually work, so I’m sure you’ve come across your share of similar articles during these times of ‘creative rest’.

I’ll be upfront and say that this article is probably not for you—no wait don’t close the browser. What I meant to say was, I had a rough time piecing this story together and I almost sent this draft to the trash, but I’d recently made a decision to increase my writing output, and part of that commitment involves finishing my shit.

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NON FICTION: I Tried Meditation As A Skeptic

Girl meditating on beach

Photo: Simon Rae

So for some reason I’d decided to give meditation a go. I’m usually not one for spirituality, or even sitting still for that matter, but there was scientific evidence backing the benefits of meditation, so I figured at least I’d come out of this with some sort of benefit.

A quick Google search resulted in a host of alleged superpowers to be gained from this practice, such as increased creativity and lowered anxiety. That was enough to swipe it off the land of woo-woo and into me signing up for whatever it entailed.

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NON FICTION: Want To Be A Writer In Malaysia? Here Are 10 Things You Should Know

So you want to be a writer in Malaysia

Writer In Malaysia: Girl behind blinds

Yep. I’m as bored with listicles as you. Photo: Joshua Rawson-Harris

Great. Another top-ten things article. Here’s a stick. See that dead horse? Go ahead. Have a go.

Despite the cliché, there’s a reason for all this trite. If you’ve ever asked me what it takes to be a writer in Malaysia, what courses make the best gig magnets, or what laptops produce the best word diarrhoea, then this piece is for you.

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