I write for myself
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My writing journey

For as long as I can remember, I started writing when I was in secondary school (high school equivalent in Malaysia).
I also wrote in a book journal for a while. But I burned them because I was paranoid. I wrote about my life in so much detail that I was afraid someone would read it and know all of my secrets.
This was before blogging existed.
Then, in the 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. It encouraged a lot of us to start blogging. It took a different turn when ownership changed. Then it was 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 sharing 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 at the end of 2020, will I pick 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, creating my first newsletter to share my building thought-process and then... everything stopped working, I stopped working.

Another burnout happened.

Source from UnSplash
Source from UnSplash
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 could 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 was left was tweets about writing, books, politics etc.
One day, I saw David Kadavy, the bestselling book author, tweet 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 from 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 push it aside and forget about it.
As weeks went 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. I only missed a few days, but it was missable
Thanks to that, I was and still am at the 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.
I kept in touch again with Kevon Cheung, who wrote the Building In Public guide. Whom I would say became close friends 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 on Mar 13, 2021. Fast-forward to Jul 9, 2021, my writing-in-public “career” has just gone off with the launch of this new website. No, I don't have any plans to write a book yet. Maybe not this year, but who knows, right?
Leif Latiff

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Leif Latiff

Writes articles on Leiflatiff.com