Time for a Break

Fraser Smith 2020-04-22

Random people sitting on a bench

“I’d never join a club that would allow a person like me to become a member.”

― Woody Allen

About fifteen years ago, I discovered that I enjoyed writing. I think I discovered it most when a popular blog shared one of my posts, and I experienced the frisson of a post gaining ten thousand views in twelve hours.

A few years later, I had relocated to Shanghai and had an educational startup. I was writing weekly blog posts for this company and enjoying the process. Late in 2010, a twitter friend, (hi @zee), posted that his company was looking for somebody in Asia to write about tech subjects from Asia. I jumped at the opportunity. While I had worked in the publishing industry for thirteen years, it was in a technical role. I wasn’t a trained journalist. But I enjoyed writing. I felt I could do this.

I joined TNW in the autumn of 2010 as its “Asia Editor”. How cool is that? An editor. Me?

It was a nightmare.

In part, in the beginning, I suffered from imposter syndrome, I wasn’t a real writer. Luckily the team was great and helped the new boy out. However, what I couldn’t get used to was the writing to order. I was expected to publish at least three stories a day, five days a week. The stories didn’t have to be too long but I found the pressure incredible. Especially on Mondays. Tech news usually moves to US West coast time. On Mondays in Asia, not much tech stuff happens until, well, Tuesday.

My other problem was that, before TNW, I wrote about things that interest me. I still do. Working for TNW, there were times when a story came up that had to be written and published within fifteen minutes (to beat Techcrunch and Mashable). Even if the subject matter was of little interest to the average techie (or me), the scoop was the goal, not the subject. I struggled with this.

A couple of months later I was relieved when TNW sacked me (Thanks @zee!). It is the only time in my career that I’ve been sacked and I never expected to feel so happy about it. But I did.

Returning to the present. I still like writing, on my terms, about subjects that interest me. I’ve been meaning to get back into it more regularly so, last year, I started this site, tramfishers.com (yes, it’s a stupid name, I know. Too late now.), to focus more on written pieces as opposed to the photos that I usually post.

Earlier this year, a friend started posting with the #Write52 hashtag. I investigated and found the Write52 project where people try to write and publish one post per week. It sounded like fun. This also coincided with the first weeks of lockdown in China so I also had something to write about. Three months later, and it’s not so much fun anymore. I missed last week completely, despite having three good ideas for posts. The previous week, my whole post was a haiku. The problem is that the drive to come up with something every week has become a chore. It’s no longer fun. So, I’ve decided that this will be my final regular #Write52 post.

Am I going to stop writing? No, after all, I’ve still got three good ideas to write about.

It’s just that I’ll be writing on my terms when I want to. No pressure. Maybe I’ll even tag some future posts as #Write52 in the cheeky hope that I might garner a few views from it.

See you.


#writing , #write52 , #tnw , #TheNextWeb