Going Silent

I’ve been pretty quiet these days. Not just on this blog: on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. Part of that is just personality: I’m more inclined to listen than talk, think than express. And when I am writing, I’m doing it elsewhere.  The other part is that I’m changing up the way I work, from working hours to procedures to style. When I write, I’m basically transcribing what I hear from an inner voice, and that voice needs feeding. Development.

Three months ago, I set aside Keepers of the Flame to work on other projects. It wasn’t a cancellation, just a shelving aside until I can gain a fresh perspective on the story, and the series. While none of the projects I’ve finished have paid off (yet!), I’ve learned a few things, worked out a few points, and reworked the style I want to use. And now I’m ready to get back to work, to finish what I’ve started and to see it through to the end. I want to finish the novel — writing and editing — by the end of the year, with a view for a January 2014 release. This means focus and prioritisation. The minutes and hours in between writing and other life necessities are for everything else. Everything from blogging to researching to conceptualisation to other life affairs.

It’s another delicate balancing act, and blogging and social media are, frankly, at the bottom. I don’t know what this means to my blogging schedule. Time was, I’d write lengthy posts at least once a month. Then I settled for one post a month. But even that is changing. There are only so many hours in a day and so much to do.

Maybe it means I need to go for shorter, more concise, more focused posts. Unlike most of my peers, I don’t write short posts. It’s especially evident when you compare my earlier activist posts with those of my contemporaries. The answer is simple: depth and perspective. Bite-sized pieces are easy to swallow and to rile up a crowd. They are also more likely to miss the mark, to miss the perspectives and motives that underlie an event. Take my last post on use of force. It’s easy to write a single sentence criticising the prison for sending eight guards to neutralise one skinny detainee. But if you go deeper, you’d realise there are other considerations: tactical, physiological, practical, psychological. You can’t fit all that into a screen-length screed, but I cannot in good conscience just skim over material. It’s not who and what I am and if my writing is not true to my soul I am not a writer. Yet there is only so much time and energy to go around, both for the writer and reader. Maybe I can find a compromise in breaking up posts into multiple parts. Maybe I need to be less wordy, find cleaner ways to explain things.

Maybe it means blogging only whenever I have time for it. If a man wants to live he needs to work. Over the past 10 months, I’ve seen one job prospect after another shrivel up, and what I’ve got now just won’t cut it. If anything there’ll be even more demands on my time since I need to go find a ‘real’ job. Singapore has one of the longest working weeks in the world, and what little time I will have left I must distribute to other things.

Maybe it means going silent altogether. Maybe it means readjusting writing schedules.

Maybe, maybe, maybe. I won’t pretend to present certainty in a time of flux. All I know is that things are changing, things have to change, and now more than ever I need to see this one through. I’ve mentioned this change repeatedly in the past, but now I’m reaching a crisis point and I will not put this off any longer. This isn’t a goodbye, not exactly, but it’s a signal that I need to, finally, meditate on a few things and do what I need to do. And until then, until I’m ready, I’m going silent.

Going Silent
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