I write for myself
For as long as I could remember, I started writing when I was in secondary school (high school equivalent in Malaysia).
I also wrote on a book journal for a while. But burned them because I was paranoid. I wrote my life too detailed that I was afraid someone will read it and know all of my secrets.
This was before blogging existed.
Then early 2000s, I started to blog. I tried a variety of writing style. From personal blogger to magazine-style like Engadget, Gawker and Lifehacker (to name a few, couldn't remember the rest).
We used to have a popular Malaysian blog aggregator called Project Petaling Street. Encouraged a lot of us to start blogging. It took a different turn when the ownership changed. Then it slowly phased out.
In my case, adulting happened.
Other than the occasional ramble on the social media, I didn't write anything until 6-7 years ago.
I was on Twitter, and saw somebody shared their Medium page. I checked it out and was intrigued by the concept. I signed up and started writing again.
I wasn't as active as I wanted, but I wrote at least 4-5 posts in a year.
Only until end of 2020, I picked up the writing habit again. It was supposed to be documented reports that I shared with my clients but eventually with the No-Code Malaysia community as well, but prettier.
I was on a roll, building on one idea after another, created my first newsletter to share my build thought-process and then... everything stops working, I stopped working.
Another burnout happened.
I asked myself, I can't be starting over again, right?
I can't bring myself to build, playing with new no-code tools or learn something new.
The only thing I can do was read. And I read ALOT science fiction books. Not business or self-help books. Not even mental health self-help books.
On Twitter, I muted “nocode”, “startups”, “buildinpublic” and a lot more, because I can't be bothered. So, what left was tweets about writing, books, politics etc.
One day, I saw David Kadavy, the bestselling book author, tweeted about building a daily writing habit as part of mental therapy. Sure he was promoting his 100-Word Writing Habit, but I felt it might be it, and I was right. It was a life-changer.
But how is that any different than writing for my newsletter, right?
With a minimum of 100-word per day, I can write anything I want. As long as it's not a burden and you don't feel obligated to write long intelligent essays.
So I write for myself.
Whatever I was feeling; dread, sad, angry or even 'nothing' — I put them into writing.
Once I achieved the daily numbers, I will leave it alone. No revisit or edits. Just pushed aside and forget about it.
As weeks goes by, I started to read them. But I don't feel the dread, the sadness, the anger or whatever. I felt silly, for being difficult. I can't even remember why I felt them.
And it struck me. Writing is indeed my solution. My drugs. My Prozac.
So I kept going, writing every day. Only missed a few days but missable.
Thanks to that, I was and still am at my most active ever in my history of writing.
I started to read a lot about the whole process of writing a book.
I even have an epiphany that I can write a book if I continue with this new-found habit.
I then removed all the filters and began to follow a few independent book writers on Twitter like Guy Raz, Blair Enns and the now popular, Arvid Kahl.
Kept in touch again with Kevon Cheung, who wrote the Building In Public guide. Whom I would say — became closed acquaintance, thanks to the whole building in public movement.
Later on I befriended the writing folks in Public Lab (a building in public community). Ayush, Yihui and Kasia Manolas (she writes thriller book yo!), to name a few.
Update: I first wrote this in Mar 13, 2021. Fast-forward to Jul 9, 2021, my writing-in-public “career” has just gone off with the launched of this new website. No, I don't have any plans to write a book yet. Maybe not this year, but who knows, right?