A New Beginning, Two Years in the Making
It's been a long time - far too long - since I last updated the website. Life happened, career opportunities happened, and needless to say, I made myself too busy for my own good. It's taken a good long while to de-clutter my life whilst preserving the drive to write creatively outside of my weekday life as a Content Marketing Specialist. It's not to say I'm not happy where I am, because I've actually never been happier, but it took over a year of honing my writing skills and wisdom further.
Now, things are different. It's a huge relief to say that at last.
Mastering the Art of Balance
I love what I do when it comes to my weekday career - the one that helps me network, develop my skills at ten times the speed and actually make a living - but I hungered for the creative aspect of my writing. Starved, really. It felt as if I was splitting myself into two in the beginning, and there was no way in hell I was going to let myself sink back into a life of fast-foodery and a pittance of an income once again. I suppose I was ever-so-slightly afraid, since it took me so much to get where I am. Having a hard time trusting people and opening up will also do that to you, but that's just the shadow of my past. I step outside of it most days and may never be free of the odd occasion where yesteryear haunts me for even a few seconds, but it doesn't slow me down anymore. That's because I love what I do and have a lot to be grateful for.
What I needed was time. Time to think, to analyze and to grow not just as a writer, but as a person. A lot happened. The career change from Tim Hortons baker to Content Marketing Specialist (still pinching myself). Getting married to probably the most kind-hearted and greatest person in the world. Travelling everywhere from beautiful Mexico to the Canadian Maritimes.
In short, life happened. And thank God for that.
A Deeper Understanding
What it took was this past year to refocus my energy and realize that my work life can survive - and flourish quite beautifully - even if I continue with writing endeavours that aren't related to my career or role. If anything, I've accepted that the two sides to my writing life will benefit one another. Every day I'm thankful and humbled by the safe, secure and happy life I've meticulously built over the years, and being in such a good place enables for me to easily prioritize my weekday career as well as some spare time for my personal work on the side. And it feels miraculous. All I needed to do was cut the clutter out and be minimalistic - as well as realistic.
So, I'm back. This is the beginning I tried to create two years ago. I get to enjoy both sides to my life as a writer without putting either at risk. All it took was growth and a comprehensive understanding of what's best for me while preserving my future.
New Website, New Beginnings
This latest, simplified redesign is the website I always wanted to build from the ashes of the old one. Today, I feel amazing when I hit that homepage. Instead of four blogs, a fiction section, about page and a whole bunch of useless, bloated crap, here's what we've got:
- Fiction, which is a collection of four short stories. I may add more, or I may not. They're there for new readers to discover and returning ones to re-explore.
- Reviews, a blog focused on highlighting music, video games and also films.
- Blog. This blog, to be precise. Expect updates on various projects, news, and whatnot.
- Published Works, linking to noteworthy pieces of content I have had published elsewhere.
... and that's it. Can't tell you what a breath of fresh air this is for me.
Moving forward in this new chapter, the website will become the home of many very special pieces of content. This blog in particular will receive regular updates - daily whenever I can swing it - about the latest pieces I have in the works, newly published works, and yes, those long-form essays/articles/what-have-you's that I seem to have a love for. In fact, The Art of Modding, a surviving piece from the old website, has already been posted. I feel like the new template and design I've created makes the imagery, text and video even more compelling. Expect more in the long run - such as this one. Whoops.
If you followed along before, you may notice that Amidships, my blog on the great transatlantic ocean liners, is gone. This is for a few key reasons, and I didn't make the decision lightly.
Firstly, several posts contained information that, since time has passed, became incorrect or outdated (an example is Crystal Cruises backing out of their SS United States plans). Secondly, the ridiculous amount of research that went into each post, especially sourcing Creative Commons Licensed images and videos that are legal to include as well as concrete, 100% accurate facts, was a nightmare. It contributed to the burnout immensely. Third, I have become a little disillusioned with the subject - only temporarily - both as a result of the burnout and from online enthusiast groups I'm in losing key members and/or motivation. Most of these pages and sites are now home to constantly repeated posts and questions, arguments galore and a thorough lack of "excitement" in being part of such communities. Simply put, I'm always going to be passionate about ocean liners, but I don't think I need Amidships - or the stress triggers associated with it - to appreciate the subject. I still have the original posts archived offline and may do something with them in the future.
Sorry if I'm disappointing anyone, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Who knows what the future holds?
Fiction is Back with a Vengeance
On the other hand, something I'm extremely excited about is the new Fiction section of the website. I previously attempted to post this content on the old site, but removed it due to concerns of theft, plagiarism, negative feedback and the distraction of four other blogs to keep up with. I'm washing the worries away and releasing a collection of short stories exclusively on this new website. Even if the subject matter gets a little dark, I feel that even a few folks out there will really enjoy them. After all, life isn't always bright and cheery, and it's important to accept that. If someone steals one of these stories and tries to make it their own, then I say have fun! I won't sleep any less soundly. I just want other people to enjoy these short stories - you never know if they'll give someone that bit of inspiration they need, which is more than enough to make me happy if any one of these pieces have such an impact.
These four pieces of short fiction are designed in tandem with opening photography of my own, each combination of which I feel harmonizes quite beautifully. I hope you enjoy reading them, and perhaps you'll let a few friends (or myself) know how you connected with them.
It's safe to say that the Reviews section on the old site was really well-received. Hell, I was even starting to receive review materials before I had burnt out. I loved exploring various music and game releases that inspired me, and it seems others share the same mutual attachment to them. Now, this section of the site will be home to not only music and video game reviews, but also those of some wonderful films. I hope you enjoy them; maybe you'll discover something new to experience. I hope these reviews inspire and give you something new to enjoy in your life. For me, that's always been the goal: To raise awareness of entertainment products that deliver escapism, nostalgia and generally that contentedness we all need and deserve.
In the end, it's a new beginning. After yet another long ramble, I just wanted to say thanks. Thank you for your patience if you've been waiting for me to write and share something new. Thanks if you're new to my work - I hope there's something here that you enjoy and feel moved by. And thanks to those who are in my daily life; from my wonderful office teammates to very dear friends (sometimes both) and members of my family who remained unbiased, considerately supportive and genuinely happy to be happy with me doing what I love.
I'm so very excited to begin this new chapter with you all.