This year’s Singapore Writers Festival was easily my favourite ever, for a variety of reasons. Every panel and discussion I was a part of was fun, thoughtful and enlightening. Lots of people – readers and attendees, as well as other authors – enthusiastically congratulated me on Work-Life Balance and even let me know that they were fans of the book.
None of these things would’ve been possible though, if I wasn’t part of four sessions over these last three weekends. In past years, I’ve been on maybe a panel or two, and yeah, the fact that I’ve got a new book out certainly helps – but I know that it was the one-two punch of Difference Engine pushing for Ben and me to be featured prominently, and the SWF team consciously assembling a diverse line-up, that made all this happen. And for that, I’m truly grateful.
While I’m happy with how things went, however, I’m even more excited about how things are moving forward.
Confession time: I was prepared to put off writing my novel for yet another year. Nadia and I have a wedding to plan and a flat that we’re so close to securing, after all, and those milestones require quite the pretty penny. Being a freelancer means that I’m spending a decent amount of time looking for jobs, and that means scheduling time to write a book gets a whole lot more difficult.
Last week though, I was speaking with a former creative director who’s looking for a writer to come in a couple of days a week, which settles my finances – and gives me enough time to work on the book. Now, yeah, that’s great. It wouldn’t have been enough, however, if not for last three weekends – talking about my work with an audience that was genuinely engaged, while also sharing the stage with encouraging and inspiring fellow creators. Because, of course I’m happy to be starting my life with Nadia together, but everything leading up to it has been occupying so much of my headspace that it hasn’t left much room for anything else. SWF kicked open a door in my mind and showed me that there’s a whole mental office space waiting.
I know, I know – that metaphor, like so many metaphors before it, kinda got away from me. Still, you get my point. Time and money are incredibly important assets for creators. No one’s disputing that (or, at least, no one with a shred of empathy anyway). But encouragement, support and a sense of community are just as essential – and that, I hope, is what more people will take away from SWF.
I’ve got one more event happening in December. It hasn’t been announced yet, but I’m guessing Singapore-based nerds can figure out where this’ll be happening.
After which, expect fewer updates here, while I keep my head down with freelance work and novel writing. That said, I have been toying with the idea of running a series of interviews with fellow creators for some time now. I might finally start developing that, just so that you get more out of this blog than post after post of what I’ve been reading and watching.