Blogging: There and Back Again

When I revived this old blog some months ago to mark my 10th year of blogging I thought I would be able to be consistent about it. But somehow, at one point I began contemplating about distancing myself from social media. I have lived without Twitter. Scrolling on Facebook and Instagram on the other hand, was (and is still is) something I should work on reducing – so I resolved that’s where the focus should be.

After all, they are greedy time-eaters, I told myself. The longer I immerse myself in the matter of akhlaq and purification of hearts the more I could see that these media are not compatible with the practices of the Salaf in protecting their hearts from diseases. Name any diseases of the heart, and you could see how these social platforms can make it worse. To an extent, I believe that the benefits could never outweigh their harms.

But for some reasons, including that feeling of isolation being 24/7 at home with minimal adult interaction if I were to free myself from these social platforms, stopped me from doing so. So I told myself to set a limit and work around it.

Then I am left with another social account to deliberate on – this blog. My blog.

That is an undoubtedly a difficult decision to make. It is apparent that I have been on a long writing hiatus whether intentionally and unintentionally. I am truly weighing the alternative – my friends have, once in a while, warmed my heart by remarking the beneficial things they gained from some of my writings – but I am aware that I am, albeit subconsciously, creating an online persona that is perhaps could not be further than the truth. Words I chose may portray what I am not, an image that is deceiving to say the least. The stories I am wrote may have been subconsciously curated and filtered to let only the good parts show.

I certainly am not writing to get famous or have my posts viral. If that is what I have in mind, I have no business writing in English (on another note, I have to shamefully admit that my thoughts flow better if written in my second language, English). Posts in Bahasa Melayu, on Facebook,  with clickbait titles will get better hits if that is what I am looking for. But no, I don’t seek that, and hopefully never will be.

So some months ago I decidedly abandon this blog. That was the end of my personal public rantings, I concluded.

But as I finished Zinsser’s ‘On Writing Well’ , I was coaxed into writing again.

Maybe a private journal or a diary will suit the purpose I was trying to achieve too. I did try to reason against that change of mind. But would not a little consciousness that somebody else may read my posts persuade me to write better? For years my writing skills have benefited from that awareness of a readership, despite small, does exist for my blog so that is a winning point I should not discount, I concluded.

Paradoxically, as Zinsser admitted, I should never write for an audience of more than one.

Soon after you confront the matter of preserving your identity, another question will occur to you: “Who am I writing for? It’s a fundamental question, and it has a fundamental answer: You are writing for yourself.

You are writing primarily to please yourself, and if you go about it with enjoyment you will also entertain the readers who are worth writing for.

And deep inside there is a growing urge to have my voice to be preserved – that is I am fully aware off.  As much as I know how impermanent WordPress is – I feel the desire to record my thoughts for my children to know me. Not myself as a mom, but how I feel and think as a person. It is an odd objective alright, one I didn’t particularly think of when I started the blog 10 years ago but somehow feels relevant now, and a desire not easily killed.

As Zinsser advised, I will only write on matters that I know most. And that, is certainly on myself and my life. I write above all, to introspect, to organise my thoughts, to clarify on them and understand my own feelings better.

So this is my blog: there and back again.

Because after all, I am a lifelong learner. And if I am writing to learn, there is no way I should ever abandon this again, shouldn’t I?


10 Years of Blogging

“…we write to find out what we know, and what we want to say.” (William Zinnser ‘Writing to Learn’)

10 years

In three months, it will be 10 years of me blogging.

I have moved from Blogspot to WordPress, and then experimented for a year with a self-hosting one, tried Livejournal and Tumblr along the way throughout those 10 years. Nevertheless, I guess now I am back to the free WordPress. Self-hosting seems to be too much of a work, the kind I am not so keen to dwell on despite paying only RM35/year, and I’d rather lose the flexibility and choices it offers  than be overwhelmed by them.

I can now confidently announced that I am back to blogging on this particular blog – one with its url bears my name, which houses now 700+ random whining and rantings and unstructured thoughts of a then young and naïve university student, turned corporate slave, a wife, an unemployed mother of two and now a postgraduate student too. Last night I went through some of them. While I am truly embarrassed by at least half of them, I am still going to keep them here. It’s a proof of an evolving point of view, maturity and wisdom over the years.

My purpose for blogging has also changed over the years. As a consistent diarist, I craved jotting down my random thoughts. When I discovered blogging during my first year of university, I joined the bandwagon, partly to satisfy the diarist in me (despite having to screen my posts to ensure a certain level of privacy maintained) and partly to connect to my family whom I left 10,000 miles away. I also noticed that my blog, when I was active in the student organisation, also served as a communication medium among my friends in the Malaysian community in Manchester. I came back for good to Malaysia in 2009 and began my working life, which witnessed how my energy was absorbed mercilessly by 9-5 job that I was not inspired to write, at all.

Then I became a mom.

In a way I could never explain, my children me to write consistently again, and unashamedly my posts revolve around them. I felt a strong need to record my life with them, which very much feels like a life being totally redefined. Hence I began writing on a new blog. I hope – though no blogging platform is that permanent – that my posts will serve as a memoir of some sort for my children to read and get to know me some day when they are older. Little did I know too when I began the new blog, that parenting and how I see life after carrying two children in my womb require much thoughts that need to be structured and captured – in writing specifically, because that is how I learn. I learn by writing.

And because I have a strong desire to learn as long as I live, I supposed this blog will see many days ahead, God willing.

May Allah ease.