It’s Day One into my forays of writing.
As expected, I am the sole viewer of my blog. But I’ll admit, I was kind of hoping I’d have at least one other viewer.
Then again, I haven’t shamelessly self-promoted myself on Facebook (yet), so I shouldn’t have expected much.
But I was a little surprised when I logged in this morning and noticed that I’d gained three new followers. Followers! Three people who were actually interested in what I had to say when I hadn’t actually said anything apart from saying I wanted to say something?
I clicked on their profiles.
As the first page loaded, the first thing I saw was the phrase ‘erotic literature’ next to a close-up of someone’s boobs that were–thankfully–not exposed. I immediately closed it. “Probably hoping I’d be some perv,” I thought.
The second looked a little more promising. Apparently, he was an author who had just published his first work. He didn’t seem to write much though, and when he did it was to advertise his new book. I scrolled through, unimpressed. “Maybe he’s following people at random, hoping someone’ll buy it,” I mused.
The third blogger looked the most legitimate. There was a profile picture of him: a man with watery eyes and a weak smile, casually leaning against a brick wall with one leg propped up. He was trying to exude an air of confidence and professionalism, one that said, “I know what I’m doing; trust me.”
I scouted around his blog. He posted tips on how to improve your writing, how to sell yourself, how to get your work published. He had a weekly podcast for writers–like me–hoping to get noticed, their works showcased. “Did he follow me so that I’d subscribe?” I wondered.
Nevertheless, I was struck by what I’d read. I’d forgotten that when it came down to it, that’s exactly what published writing entailed: nitty-gritty hard work, one that required you to ‘know your target audience’ and to ‘make a concrete resolution’ and to ‘project your sales outlook’. I felt depressed.
“Can’t I just write for the fun of it?” I groaned. Like what I’d always imagined writers doing! Sitting in a sunlight-bathed room, clacking away at a typewriter, words pouring out from some internal well of inspiration that never ran dry; and if it did, all that’d be needed to replenish it would be a new muse or a day out frolicking in nature.
Yet I knew–but didn’t quite know–that writing wasn’t that easy.
I knew, because I’d tried and failed many times before. It was easy, in a fit of enthusiasm, to pick up pen and paper and to scribble down soliloquies. It was easy to lick lovelorn wounds and bleed poetry along with my tears. It was easy to set up a blog, write about how I wanted to write, and feel proud about what I’d just written.
But I also knew that it wasn’t easy: it wasn’t easy when I underwent dry spells or had upcoming commitments; it wasn’t easy when I had no pictures to show or stories to tell; it wasn’t easy when I was too busy with assignments and internships. Because in those moments, I would lose my motivation and concentration, and I would give up. I would close my journal, delete my blog, and set aside my dreams.
It wasn’t easy.
So I’ll be honest with you: I don’t quite know how long I’ll be sticking around for. I say this with much caution, but also with much hope.
Because I have a feeling that maybe, maybe, this time around it’ll be different.
It’ll be different because I’m not in school this semester–I’ll be going on a student exchange to Hong Kong. And when that happens, I know that there’ll be so much for me to experience and chronicle that writing will become absolutely inevitable for me.
I’m hoping that this time, I’ll be given a push in the right direction; a kickstart to finally achieving what I’ve set out to do. Even if it means writing for an audience of one. Or well, three.
To my new friends: thanks for believing in and following me–even if it just meant that you were hoping I’d follow you back.