Writer’s Note: Coping With Schedules

Dear readers,

In lieu of the usual weekend piece, I’d like to reflect on my journey so far, four months into the commitment to write more regularly, the ups and downs, pros and cons, and lessons learnt.

Just to quell any rumblings that I might be reconsidering my own resolve, setting a consistent schedule was probably the best thing I could have done for myself. In many ways, it has worked out exactly how I thought it would. There is an added pressure every week to produce quality content, whether I feel like it or not, and having stayed faithful to the schedule, I was able to dig deeper for ideas and piece them together into articles that I was satisfied with (and hoped you were, too). These four months have truly been a period of growth that I sorely needed, and knowing that I am growing more than I would ever have prior to this is warmly reassuring.

Naturally, there are downsides to it. My initial inspiration to take on this challenge was derived from full-time Youtubers whose jobs mostly revolved around producing their own content. That I have a day job already limits the time I have to plan and write each article. This is further sandwiched by other commitments. I fear slipping into that sense of desperation where it no longer matters how much thought I put into the content, as long as I get it out on Saturday. I fear writing for the sake of meeting a schedule instead of writing from the heart. I fear compromising the quality of my work just to pad the numbers on my blog. In a way, I fear becoming like the publications I used to work for. Managing this blog seriously could perhaps be compared to navigating across a precarious tightrope on which I have to constantly find the right balance between quantity and quality; artisan and mass production. I too yearn for the day blogging becomes a full-time commitment that also sustains my livelihood.

Incidentally, the unnamed Youtuber I mentioned earlier eventually decided to take a break after trying to adhere to a demanding schedule of vlogs, and while I am nowhere near that scale, I can empathise with the mental burnout he was experiencing, and after a few months, he is now back and ready to go once more — all this from someone who lives in Japan and has a never-ending supply of stories to tell. While I won’t be taking an extensive break from writing, I do seek your understanding whenever I find myself too spent to publish something that I would be proud of, and I refuse to put out anything that is less than my best.

Do I still think sticking to a strict schedule is a good idea? I do. I cling onto the belief that I need that extra push to keep writing consistently, but while a schedule is clockwork, my mind and body aren’t, and sometimes, just sometimes, I have to be good and listen to them.

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