Artists are sad people

I’ve been living in Canberra for almost two months now. And for a long time, I had trouble believing that I now lived in a first-world country. The main reason is that I grew up in a place where sidewalks are unheard of and pedestrians are more close to the pyre than they are to having priority in the streets. I walked about a kilometre every day to work and every day I grazed whizzing motorcycles, trying hard not to jump at the horns blaring next to my ear.

I don’t mean to sound depressed.

But I was.

It‘s hard not to be. In a society like that, people don’t live—they subsist. Every day is a struggle to get through. There’s always something or another to worry about: bills, rent, school fees, office politics, weak knees, unidentifiable skin allergies, lack of health insurance, yada yada.

And as a blogger, I had so much to talk about. To complain. Things I wished would be better, public services that could’ve existed, footpaths that should’ve been paved, and scowls we could do without.

All these emotions and opinions fed my creativity.

In Canberra, however, I have none of the negative feelings I used to have. For the first time in my life, I don’t have pressing matters chocking my existence, barring my experience of life.

In other words, I have almost nothing to complain about.

That’s scary. Because without something or someone to whine about, I have no writing material. I’ve hit a hurdle, except that this isn’t the dreaded writer’s block.

This is happiness.

Although it’s what I’ve always wanted to achieve for myself, this also terrifies me. Now, unlike before, I don’t have a raging flame fuming my words. Instead, I have to find an impetus elsewhere. I have to work harder to come up with material because my life has nothing newsworthy about it.

Perfect isn’t always good, remember.

When I realised this a week ago, I was anxious at first. Now that life’s plenty of good things, I didn’t know how I‘d sustain as a writer without all the bad things to reflect upon.

Then I understood something big.

So what if all I did today was bussing to the city back? So what if I’m living an ordinary life?

I’m finally free. Free to imagine.

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Inspiration

Hear me out, a writer I am
with clues none whatsoever
in an investigation of tales
for when inspiration strikes
it strikes hard as a storm
hurling thoughts all amok
swirling in my own mind
scenarios for a scenic event
of monologues and dialogues
and a criminal plot twist
so moving the loveable crime
with a perfect metaphor
some puns and clever idioms
never one to miss a rhetoric
a character arc so gullible
worthy of a Clooney cameo
whirling on as a tornado
a tale possessing my being
from start to almost the end
a narrative spread as jam
and so smiling I ink my pen
ambitious to impact the world
to tell a story to the masses
of the man who beats them all
letting the first drop drip
I watch mute, feeling destitute
sensing the tornado move
from the edge to the eye
oh, what sudden change
a severe calm in my mind
the once-swirling thoughts
once wailing, now silenced
as the second drop drips
I wait in patience still
alas, the mind’s wiped off
thoughts gone with the wind
blown away just as it’d come
in a flurry—inspiration tornado

Morning, sunshine

I awake to the sound of my favourite music—to the rising tunes of a strumming guitar. I snooze. It’s ok, I tell myself, for I’d worked late the previous night. I deserve more sleep. Before I know it, the alarm goes off again, this time more annoying than soothing. Sighing, I get up only to lean on the wall, palms resting on my chin. It doesn’t seem like a good morning.

As I force myself to brush my teeth and crack my knuckles, I feel a little more awake than before. Clinging on to that feeling, I begin my workout routine and feel better with each stretch. Now it’s starting to seem like a better morning. There’s still a long way to go, though.

Finishing my routine, I make a pot of coffee and slump into the chair—it’s browsing time. I scroll, without a second thought, through feeds and stories, watching but not caring about the lives of my connections and friends. It’s just a way to pass time while drinking coffee—nothing more, nothing less. Drowning the last of my coffee, I head for a shower. I let the cold water wash over me, feeling the heat evaporating as steam over hot cocoa. Soon, I’m ready for work. I plug in random trance music, as I leave, to help cope with the terrible walk to work.

With the slight buzz in my head, I reach office in a piece. I’m ready, sleep-deprived but not yet drooping, to face the day. Perhaps it is a good morning, I tell myself. I wave to my friend at the security desk, take the stairs two at a time, and arrive at my desk with work in mind. I prop up my laptop and open up the word editor—to write today’s blog.

Blank.

A morning. Blocked.

The writing prompt

’Twas a bleak evening. Unwarranted rains lashed against the window while Narnia deleted the clump of text on her screen—her feeble efforts at writing an article.

It’d been a while since she’d strung one sentence to another, in perfect coherence, forging each paragraph as worthy as the next one. All established writers face this, she assured herself. Except that her first publication was still due.

As she crumped the metaphorical piece of paper that held her desperate story, she stumbled upon something rather uncanny.

In retrospect, that was her impetus to publish her first novel, and many subsequent ones.


A tribute to The Daily Post. It meant a lot to me.

Evolution of a copywriter

All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women corporate players
They have their exits and their entrances
And one copywriter in their time plays many parts,
Their acts being many stages. At first, landing page writer,
Whining and sucking up to search engine’s demands.
Then the musing copywriter, with a wonder
And unsure morning face, creeping like snail
battling the block. And then the reviewer,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful look
of enduring unendearing copy. Then a soldier,
The editor—full of strange rules, wired like a DJ,
Unperturbed, irritable, excited all in quick succession,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the manager’s good books. And then a senior,
In fair round belly with experience underneath,
With eyes bloodshot trying shoes of formal cut,
Full of wise wit and modern puns;
And so they play their part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and pushback chair,
With spectacles on nose and munchies on side;
The youthful curiosity well satisfied, in a world growing
bigger than ad copy, evolving into testing,
Turning toward marketing, managing social
media and listening. Last scene of all,
That topples this strange eventful history,
Is second copywriting and mere simplicity,
Sans typos, sans click-baits, sans vanity metrics—well, almost.


It’s been almost five years since I started working as a copywriter. And during that period, I’ve had to play many different roles within my team. I was wondering how a copywriter is also a content marketer, a social media manager, advertising writer, script writer, technical writer, creative writer, and so much more, when I remembered one of my all-time favourite poems. The connection seemed only too obvious.