I just learnt that I can't work alone. Unsupervised, yes, but not alone, especially when the work regards writing. An essay, article or headline, I work better if there are other people around.
When I was a reporter at The Sun, there was always a hubbub of people talking, asking for advice, in some cases yelling, that this was never a problem. Not so much that I noticed, as I seldom did my writing at home. Then it was on to subbing, still with many people around me.
Most recently at the Brunei Times, when I got back into writing feature stories, there was colleague Arfa, and then Juli, off of whom I bounced ideas. Sometimes they didn't even need to say anything - all that was necessary was a pretence of being heard and the answer was there, whether it was the most perfect word for a headline or a sentence structure which would not make me sound like a moron.
It's like those proverbial "at the tip of my tongue" things - what you're looking for is there, you just need an impetus to bring it to the fore, and usually this involves sounding out a query. But maybe I just like the sound of my own voice... hmmm...
Well, anyway, I'm on my own now. And I'm struggling. I've been trying for weeks to work on the article for my high school reunion this weekend, and I have come up with nothing. Nada. Zilch. Satu kejadah pun takde apa-apa. And I despair at the idea of freelance writing, thoughts of which I'm entertaining for some extra dosh.
But I can't write by myself. I sit at the desk I've put up by the window in my room (pictured) and stare at the blinking cursor on a blank page, then stare out at the bit of swimming pool and garden down below. In front of me are my clothes on the rod hanger, and they're not really into having conversations. To my left is my bed, with not even a teddy bear to feign concern. And when I turn around, there's nothing but an empty wall. And no one behind me.
I guess I'll just have to heed my own words, usually said in a hoarse whisper to Juli when she goes home late a night: "Jangan Pandang Belakang."