It’s been months since I’ve posted writing here. It isn’t for the lack of writing, but too much of a certain kind.
Writing is an endless labyrinth of tones, content, formats. The purpose guides the process. Think about your daily reads: books, magazines, websites, Facebook posts. Think about the varying lengths, chosen formatting and presentation, and the kind of images that accompany the copy. Think about yourself as a reader―whether you’re seeking to learn or to laugh, to be distracted or inspired. And you will find the particular sort of writing that fits (hopefully satisfy and surprise too).
The kind that I’m doing more of these days is what my strange internal compartmentalisation terms as “Professional Writing”. Not “work” per se, and certainly not corporate writing. The purpose: interest, traffic, sustained reader investment. Parties involved: SEO, HTML, numbers, sourcing, images, speed, headings that hold more power than the content. And ultimately, the battle of balance between providing value and quality content whilst acknowledging the necessary tools and steps that often overshadows the former.
(I initially wrote an entire essay on the above topic, but it feels redundant; an internal ranting monologue of sorts.) Simply put, working at this game of numbers and speed―or at the very basic, writing for 8-9 hours on end―also means that the rest of whatever time’s left needs to be devoted to refilling the well of words.
I’m often asked why I need so much time alone. So much silence. Loved ones worry; they think I’m keeping things to myself (my mum says my neck will grow thick). They wonder why I prefer to be in my room (and what I am doing in there) rather than watch television; why I would much rather head out somewhere else with a book when there’s lively company at home.
Well. I don’t speak when there’s nothing to say―nothing that has matured; fully internalised, processed, and come to a point of conclusion I’m comfortable enough with to share. And―despite being a silent process done alone, writing is much like conversation: words and thoughts fly around, entangling and morphing with an external stream of words from others, from websites, from the radio. At the end of the work day, the streams dry into trickles and fading waves. Sometimes it feels like I even lack the words to even form proper thoughts.
Being quiet is to allow the still waters to rise and whirl again. Somewhere in the subconscious, visuals and words and sounds are echoing, passing by each other in an underground Shibuya crossing, searching for a place they belong to. They need time. Just like oceans really―they don’t empty or overflow, holding deep worlds within blue bellies, bound by the moon’s call and earth’s weight. And being quiet remembers the newly past, appreciates the present, and (hopefully) gives respect to the future.
So why am posting this? I’m not quite sure, still. Perhaps it is to try to make sense of the whys and the hows, to find the words of explanation to the ones I am not sure if I can truly fully explain to (that this is how it is, but I am always here for you when you need me). Perhaps also a reflection on the past years of ventures towards better understanding of what and where I can contribute better.
…at the end of the day, I just would like to work towards a simple life: work hard and sincerely, love even harder, remember to notice the small things, be grateful. And of course, for balance, and to live slow―pretty difficult on this island built on productivity and efficiency…but always worth the try.
(because: a post written with people in mind; prose that feel strangely personal and self-absorbed; too many ‘I’s)