I’ve gotta be honest here. This isn’t the first time I’ve launched a blog. I had one on what used to be ‘blogspot’ before (I think it’s now called ‘blogger’), which covered the process of writing. I even had a few blog posts on the very same site you’re looking at now that I have since deleted. The problem I had was that life got between me and my writing (and anything else, really). I found it difficult to find time to write blogs or even continue my dream of writing a novel, while also focusing on my career, buying that first house and doing all of those things you’re meant to do once you’re a certified adult. But let’s be frank:
I was miserable.
For much of my life, writing was something I knew I could do. When I was a teen, I remember turning an English test into a bonafide writing exercise. The exam consisted of us reading a short story about a teenage boy who was crumbling under his father’s athletic expectations. We were expected to write an essay detailing what the difference would have been had the story been about a girl. I walked over to the teacher and asked him whether I could write a short story instead of an essay. He looked at me, puzzled. We didn’t really have that much time, but he said I could try.
So I wrote a story about a teenage girl – the sister of the boy in the aforementioned story. She was made to participate in one beauty pageant after another by her overbearing mother. This was more than a decade before beauty pageant reality TV shows, such as ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’, hit the screen. I’m surprised this idea even entered my mind. I didn’t know any girl participating in beauty pageants back then (it wasn’t a thing where I grew up), so I made up the kind of dysfunctional family that wouldn’t be out of place in reality TV shows of today. I can still remember the words my teacher wrote next to that big, fat ‘A+’ he gave me:
You should write a book.
When you’re young, you think everything is possible. At the time, my 17-year-old me hoped that one day I could do just that. And if I did, I’d send a copy back to Mr. Sander (the teacher in question), inscribed with two words: Thank you.
I received similar comments later on, at university and beyond. It was as though I was in my element whenever I was writing. But unfortunately, all of us have to grow up, and once you’re out of your parents’ home, you need to chase after that one thing people say makes the world go round: money. Unfortunately, our world isn’t inclined to reward creative professions as much as others, and the careers that pay well these days tend to be time-consuming, especially if you need to ‘progress’ – which normally means you have to up your game each year (to any HR person or manager out there… that’s not sustainable in the long run). In some companies, ‘not progressing’ equals to you ‘being crap’, so you may find your career cut short, if you don’t fall in line with the rest of the crowd. There’s also the commuting, and before you know it, you’re just tired when you get home. All you want to do then is sit on the sofa and eat a tub of ice cream or mindlessly binge on Netflix. Or both. Even a strenuous activity, such as going to the gym, can then appear much easier than writing something on a blank page.
I could continue my life like that, but I decided that rather than drifting along like a leaf in the wind, I would turn a new leaf instead and get back into things other than work, work, work. I want to write again (starting with this blog), do different things (including things I’ve never done before), see different places… and I hope this blog can help hold me accountable.
Will you come with me for the ride?