I like writing. It’s one of the things that I’ve been doing for long and not get bored of – the other being choir. It began with a diary entry in July some 15 years ago, using a small, red Minnie Mouse diary that I was gifted as a birthday present. In it, I wrote about my first day of school. Since then, I would fill up the pages with my handwriting, each entry an unfiltered detail of my life and feelings. I also included censored profanities – something that would’ve gotten me spanked had I said them publicly.
In a way, the diary became a personal venue where I could do whatever I want. I made up fictional characters, talked about people, recorded my grades, drew horrible drawings, wrote with my nondominant hand, even practiced English there. Over the years, the medium changed: the small diary was replaced with a big notebook, then I graduated from handwriting and moved on to blogging, but the function remained. I’d stopped writing for several weeks, months, years, but I simply kept coming back.
I like the spontaneity of a diary – each entry includes my state at the time. When it was handwritten, it exhibited even more personality as my handwriting changed frequently when I was in elementary school. I expect nothing from an entry. I know my thoughts are largely disorganized (I have since resigned to the possibility that I’m naturally scatterbrained), but then again, it’s an outlet where I could do things I wouldn’t exactly do in public with little to no repercussions. And that’s my main reason for not writing on a public platform. This, however, excludes things like blogging where, although I know the internet is for everyone to see, I take precautions to guard myself against being discovered, so it still seems like a diary.
Published articles, as much as they might sound spontaneous and personal, are anything but – unless you’re naturally a structured writer, which I’m not, and I’m alright with that. I should admit that at first, I was looking forward to writing because I wanted to contribute to its purpose of being a casual platform for everyday issues or personal experiences. It will have opinions, commentaries, even satires if there are, some of which were what I’ve written on my diary. And oh boy do I have opinions.
…added to the equation now were an audience, scrutiny, and several rounds of editing until it’s well-written, thoughtful, concise, engaging, and proper…
As I sat down and started thinking, it became clear that what I had been writing and what I was about to write here underwent wildly different processes. The former had basically no proper thought process other than recalling the minutiae because – surprise – I like details. With regards to the latter, added to the equation now were an audience, scrutiny, and several rounds of editing until it’s well-written, thoughtful, concise, engaging, and proper, but also feels like a watered-down version of me. While I apply these added considerations rigorously to academic, especially graded, essays, they also make me anxious, which is not my favorite feeling. Non-academic writing to me – through the disorder and rawness – is supposed to abate, not exacerbate it.
Another seemingly trivial reason, but of extreme personal significance, is that I can’t seem to detach myself from my writings. Before I wrote this piece, I had another draft I “quickly” composed. By “quickly,” I mean it was written like a stream of consciousness, just like how I did my diary entries. Borrowing the words of our editor, the draft ended up being a “half-opinion, half-commentary” replete with much “repressed angst.”
I realized that the emotions were what drove my writings. After all, I consistently scored high on neuroticism on multiple online personality tests. I’m convinced anyone can feel it on their first read of my writings, and appearing so transparent freaks me out. Of course, emotions can be good, and I do like reading emotional writings, but not when my emotions become an object of scrutiny. Upon rereading my draft, and pondering whether I wanted people to know about these sentiments, the answer popped out almost immediately – it’s a resounding no from me. Therefore, I don’t think I can bring myself to continue writing publicly.
(Yeah, I know it’s my fault in the first place for thinking I could go in here, writing in the same manner as I do a diary.)
Currently, I’m still going to be here to read, edit, and publish articles if I weren’t having an episode of commitment issues. I have a laissez-faire approach to proofreading, much unlike when I’m graded on them. Not that I’d gloss over errors or misinformation, but I want us to appreciate different perspectives and styles, where everyone can read, think, and even argue with coffee on one hand and civility on the other.
PS: There’s a good chance that this has been made well-written, thoughtful, concise, engaging, and proper.
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