The Disappearance of Ana Abdullah

by on September 15, 2019 under ,

My last post to the blog was around four months ago. Last year, I disappeared from my blog just like that too. It’s because I couldn’t stand it or something happened in Real Life. Ironically, I had begun the year 2019 with a sort of manic energy and thus plenty of high expectations. An anthology of short stories every three months, a novel to be drafted every six months and a weekly blog post about writing. But in the end, I got stuck. Leaving this blog bare for months, hating even to look at it.

I wondered if writing is for me.

It is good that there is hardly anyone reading this blog loyally. I’m glad there is hardly any interaction here. Because there weren't any expectations then. I could leave and come back when I’m ready. It’s good to be anonymous and not popular at times.

But writing is so hard, so slow, so lonely and so unprofitable. There is no real success in it unless the novel made it to print by major publishers and then possibly to film. Writing is just so hard. I must have been so crazy to think I could even be a full-time writer.

And so I stopped.

I returned to Real Life. And Ramadan in June 2019 helped me to align myself. I had been too intense with my writing. I pressured myself too much, wanting to write and sell my books quickly. Should I be a full-time writer, I can put food our family’s table consistently. But writing is never consistent. It isn’t such a stable career, not in Singapore. Just no way. It is an art. A creation. And to create something of quality requires time and patiences. Lots. What more with me holding myself to such high standards when writing, it is going to be very slow for me.

And so after much deep soul searching, I have decided to take up a job, leaving writing to at least an hour in a day. Last time, it was almost an entire day of writing. No wonder my brain turned to mush. I often felt really hung over and don’t wanna write in the next few days. Too much writing was bad for my health too.

I’ve also reduced all my social media profiles to only Twitter and Email. So if you wanna get in touch or see how I am, this blog and those platforms are the only way to do it. Minimalising become crucial now. I forgot that writing isn’t about being popular online. Writing is about my stories and myself.

There were too much writing and marketing advice online that were good and useful. But I didn't need them at this point in my writing phase. Right now, I am still a very new writer even if I had been at this since last year.

Last year was all about discovering where my writing style and genre were. Last year was like an outline, just getting to know my protagonist. And in this case, that main character was myself. Discovering what I liked and disliked about writing. Learning about people in the writing community, albeit with much anxiety because I was very much socially anxious even if online. My social phobia is that bad. But I still wrote then. And looking back now, I am proud I had kept going. Sure, I’m still shy to read back my works but as I do read them, I realize they’re not that bad. But the stories were mostly for myself. Not for other readers. Thus, the very reason I noticed there were hardly any comments. Because last year, I was just getting to know my main character, myself.

And this year, I discovered my direction as a mystery writer. Not to say I won't experience with other genres but I love this focus. I’ve always enjoyed the mind-stimulating nature of the mystery genre. Mystery as in the puzzles, strategy and schemes between villains and sleuths. But I'm still nervous about it. I wonder if I'm capable. No, I know I can do it. After all, if other writers on Youtube and Twitter could do it, then I too can.

I have stopped pressurising myself to become popular. How can I do that when I am still so new to the art and craft of writing. And furthermore, everyone else are already born into the English language. Writing stories in that language is easy. For me, I have to struggle to translate where I come from, culture and faith for the English-speaking people. It is a challenge. So I shouldn’t pressure myself and instead take my time.

And so where I am at now?

I am at finally at peace with my writing. There is no tension in the chest. No pressure at being the best. That I’m not good or I’m not meant for this, or whatever self-deprecating thoughts. Now, I am taking writing with ease, allowing myself mistakes and writing my stories for myself first and foremost. This entire blog is for me, first and foremost. For me to look back and see how far I’ve come. In the next few years, Ditinta will be popular all by itself when I become a better writer. I trust in the future.

So no worries about making money about writing. Now, it’s about creating for myself. And because of that too, I am also at peace doing my job now.

Writers are persistent crazy fools, aren't we? And since 2019 still has about three months left, I will be sharing with you my stories, personal notes and reading escapades soon!

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