I want to thank Stuart for taking the time to be a part of this interview- he has such an interesting blog and it was so great to learn more about it. I hope you guys enjoy reading his answers as much as I did.
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what your blog is about.
Hi! I’m Stuart, a Malaysian-based writer, and I’ve been writing for a living for some nine years now. Fun fact, I was also a hairdresser and accountant, plus I’ve held tons of odd jobs as well. My blog used to be a place for me to share my work, but now it’s evolved into a place for writing advice.
2. When did you decide to start blogging and why?
I’ve always been interested in putting my thoughts online, even since the Geocities days. So I guess I’ve always used this medium, even before I began writing for a living. My current blog started in 2014. Why do I do it though? I don’t actually know. It’s just something that I’m particularly drawn towards, and I’ll do it even if it doesn’t get me anywhere.
3. What is your favourite part about blogging and what is your least favourite part about blogging?
My least favourite part of blogging is that sometimes it can feel like a chore. I’m trying to stick to a once-a-week schedule, but the demands of my day job, coupled with the novel I’m working on, sometimes leaves me very little time to churn out my next blog post for the week. I love writing, but those moments really remind me how much blogging can feel like work sometimes.
4. You have been in the writing industry for a long time now. What advice would you give someone trying to become a professional writer?
I don’t, because this really is the best advice. It’s all you need to become a professional writer. I say this because I became a professional writer, and I didn’t even finish high school. And if someone unqualified like me can do it, then why can’t you? My method? I write and I read. A lot.
5. What has blogging taught you about writing?
I think the most important blog-specific lesson I’ve learned was how to write for an audience. I used to treat my blog as a high-school journal of sorts. I’d just play around with words and post the most abstract stories. But as read more blogs, I began to learn what was good blogging and what wasn’t. And the most successful blogs always brought value to their readers’ lives.
6. You have had a lot of interesting experiences as a writer- what are some of your favourites?
I have so many! I got to grapple with the mud wrestlers of India, tour almost the entirety of Myanmar in three weeks, get ringside seats to the UFC (and I’m a big fan), stand-up paddle in open water on a rainy day in Philippines, and cruise down the Red River in Vietnam. But I guess one of the most memorable experiences was an assignment in Hokkaido where I’d met good friends, enjoyed great experiences (like being part of an Ainu ceremony), and saw snow for the first time in my life.
7. What is your favourite topic to write about?
I’ve been enjoying writing about writing lately, but I generally like writing anything creative non-fiction. If it’s happened in my life, then I’ll find a way to turn it into a story that readers can enjoy. This comes from my enjoyment of works from David Sedaris, Junot Diaz, and Neil Strauss, among others. When it comes to fiction, I love writing cyberpunk.
8. How has being a writer enhanced your life?
I have to say that I’d been given so many opportunities just because of my writing alone, ones that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. So that’s one big way it’s enhanced my life. The other enhancement? I see things differently now, because I’m always looking for ways to describe everyday things in unique fashion.
9. What is your favourite food?
Sushi. Pizza. Fried rice.
10. Out of all the places you have travelled to which is your favourite?
I would have to say Japan, because it’s a country that caters to introverts. I’ve never seen it done to that degree in other places. Like, they have restaurants that limit your interaction with other people, and everyone’s generally quiet and polite there. I’m sure that I’d see things different had I lived there though.
11. What is the craziest thing someone has asked you to write about?
Someone emailed me asking me to write a poem based on their name once. I didn’t know how to respond.
12. Do you have any specific goals for 2021 and if so which ones?
I do! I want to finish drafting my fourth and fifth novels by the end of this year, and I want to push my writing output by trying to blog more frequently. The master goal is to sustain myself through my fiction, though that’ll take quite a while I believe.
If you enjoyed this interview don’t forget to stop by Stuart’s blog by clicking here.