Making the Words Count

Update: Hello, this is Atikah from the future. This post touches on my writing aspirations and it mentions that I was a part of the writing team of a football fansite. Of course, this was back in 2014 and I’ve since left the team in 2015. Still, this post is a nice reminder of who I was back in that year. The fansite is still running and you can check them out at the link below!

Every time I publish a post, I keep telling myself, I will post more.

And then, I go on a mini hiatus, only to resurface with short posts. I remember last year, I told myself that I will write essays. Well-written, fully-researched essays. And I have tons of ideas. I have a notebook that holds some of the ideas that I want to do. My previous phone had some quick scribbles of things that I wanted to flesh out (I have since replaced that phone).  Back in October, I even read “The King in Yellow” by Robert W Chambers, specifically for Halloween. Halloween went by and I’m still midway reading the book.

So, what happened?

A lot of things. A lot of things that involve writing, just not on this space.

For starters, I haven’t really mentioned it here but I became a copywriter about 5 months ago. I never thought I would be in advertising; it just didn’t occur to me at all to dabble in this line. Like every stereotypical English major, publishing and academia had always been my goal. I had even gotten an offer to work in a newspaper agency as a sub-editor. As I was waiting for the machine within the company to do the paperwork and let me in, I got an offer from my current one. So, here’s a lesson for companies: reduce the red tape. You don’t know who will slip out from the waiting line.

Copywriting in advertising involves a lot of bite-size write-ups. Sometimes I would simmer for half an hour to think up a catchy liner that only has 30 characters. Other times, a handful of paragraphs, but gone are the days where I would plonk on my chair and churn out pages of words. I particularly hate the ones where I have to sell two products that have absolutely nothing to do with each other in the same damn ad. And I have to try my hardest to make it sound natural or quirky, like this food is as delicious as the deal you’re getting when you buy this bottle of perfume at 50% off!

Eh, passable.

My favourite ones are the radio ads. I like to be caught offguard listening to an ad I just made up being played on radio stations. The first time I heard a radio ad I wrote live, I couldn’t stop laughing because it was so weird! It’s a weird feeling to know that thousands were listening to something you typed down after lunch a few days ago. In my first job, I was a sub-editor where I edit other people’s work and was never credited for it, unless it’s a book. So, it’s strange for me to see my own work front and centre. No credits still but I’m working on that.

It’s not all interesting work though. There are times where I just proofread terms and conditions, reword certain sections of the FAQ page or get into arguments about rewriting an ad. After spending a day squeezing my brains out for juicy lines and dealing with vulture-like requests to churn churn churn those words out, all I want to do is go home and watch a lot of Youtube videos. And so, I do just that. My sincere apologies.

There are also other things: I realise that my ultimate goal is to write well and better. Not just fiction work that I’ve been doing with UnRepresented KL, but also non-fiction, commercial, and even corporate. I never realised there’s a market for corporate writing before. But the dumbest thing has to be that I never realised a lot of the media that we consume has its foundation on words. I’m not talking about just articles – advertisements, songs, videos, even tweets are made out of words. Ideas, even how great, would collapse if it wasn’t for the hand of words narrowing and expanding their possibilities. All around us are made of words. I feel that if I could master this, turning the creation of words as a tool, I could create anything.

So I’ve been dabbling in some freelance work and writing hobbies. At the moment, none of my freelance work could make me go “Look at me, Ma!” yet but I’m just leaving the door open. As for writing hobbies, I’ve been waiting to announce this: I’m currently an assistant editor at Bayern Central, a website focused on Bundesliga and FC Bayern Munich.

Look at me, Ma, I’m a football blogger!

Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, I mostly write simple write-ups of current events and the meat of my participation under Bayern Central is editing. We work with a lot of writers and these writers have a lot to talk about. So, that’s where I come in and mould their words here and there. It’s been a long walk from my post about the World Cup to this. I’m glad that I’m being siphoned into this group of awesome and passionate football fans!

I feel somewhat shy to write about football tactics, to be honest. I feel like I don’t have the necessary skills or know-how yet to digest a match as well as these folks do. It is not at all like this:

Yes, but which part of the pitch was he kicking the ball to, Moss? Who is “that man” who now has the ball? What kind of technique? What was the tactical choice used here? And et cetera.

Some of the football bloggers I’ve befriended are some of the smartest people I know. And they could spit out a stat faster than you can Google. People don’t teach you how to write about football, this is something you pick up and hone by yourself. You have to instinctively know what’s happening in the middle of play and how it affects the match, the team, the entire tournament they’ve been playing, and the big scheme of things. That’s incredibly difficult. I’m rather proud of it and although it’s a bit out of place with the sort of content I write on this blog, I hope you will give it a try!

So, yes, I’ve been the busy bee. So busy, in fact, that sometimes I work during my free time and weekends. Just your typical ENFP, hording experiences as much as she can. One thing that I’m glad is that I never announced my participation in NaNoWriMo on this blog. Simply because it fell flat on the second day. I was proud of myself for squeezing out 500-ish words. Then, I went to a local FB page of NaNoWriMo and found out everyone gives birth to thousands and thousands of words a day.

Now, it’s day 16 of NaNoWriMo. How much have I raked up so far? Still the same 500 words on my first.


2 thoughts on “Making the Words Count

  1. Ape ni writer baru nak perasan the dominion of words over all forms of creation.
    “In the beginning was the Word.”
    “Read! In the name of Allah who created man out of blood.”

    We writers sow the seed of all human accomplishment. Infectors of countless patient zeroes of the virus of language.

    Seriously though, congrats on the side gig.

  2. Why you gotta be a hater, Muz? lol. I didn’t actually even think of it that way, I was mostly thinking about tangible creative endeavours, more than anything.

    Yes, writers are zombies, infecting everyone with thought! Except everyone wants to be infected?

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