Blogging akin to Writing to Penfriends3 min read

Early Observations

As I’m entering Day 5 of this writing challenge, I can start feeling some (still very weak) benefits to this new habit.

Let’s call them more hunch of insights rather than proper established behaviour changes or improved skills; although ‘training makes perfect’ they say. First, being forced (or shall I say reminded?) to write everyday helps to overcome the classic hurdle of procrastination and the eternal ‘I could do it tomorrow’ mantra. Second, I slowly discovering what mostly limited my writing: overthinking. This is a topic my therapist and I have already touched upon but will most likely will have to revisit and dig deeper.

As much as I’m dreading writing these blogposts, I eventually get into the flow and could write for hours (only stopping as it is often late when I reach a satisfying length).

A Familiar Feeling

I’m no stranger to this flow feeling though.

It happened when writing long pieces of writing (oh, dear PhD thesis!) but most importantly in my past experience with penfriends. These are amazing friends, who I felt we had a special relationship, where we could discuss anything and nothing (mostly the latter I’ll say ;p). Interestingly, emails were always the medium of exchange. Something about the convenience of sending a letter in an instant and the fact that computers were already taking so much space in our work and life that a keyboard was always at hand as opposed to ever stranger pen & papers and efficient post offices.

Today, most of the communications with my friends and family are through text messages (WhatsApp or Signal) or video calls. Both of these media undeniably provide a lot of convenience in terms of speed (for the former) and quality of communication (for the latter). However, there is something about the patient wait of an extensive and meaningful response to another extensive and meaningful email sent a few days ago. The pleasure lies in the taking the time to write and let the feeling guide our writing, knowing that the other side is following the same process and thus also deserves the time to reply.

Receiving and sending each one of these emails always felt like a little Christmas present and I cherished each one of them.

A New Medium

Maybe I missed these exchanges and needed to restart one; but with who?

As much as all these penfriendships have ended by now, all the attached friendships still exist and remain strong, to my most delight. However, maybe something was missing for me. A new penfriend or more precisely a place to express my thoughts with as little filters (mostly internal ones) as possible. I can see now how having this medium of expression might be so crucial to my mind since most other places asking for my writing also expect a lot of those filters to be present.

I’ll see how this platform will lend itself to a new medium of self-expression and possibly freeing my mind from a lot of the accumulated worries and self-imposed constraints. It’s true that within minutes of writing these blogposts, I start feeling this flow and the freedom which accompanies the expression of personal feelings. There is something liberating about it and I shall continue with this experiment.

One of my hopes remains that these blogposts will resonate with someone else out there in the void of the internet. As Nicolas Cole put himself in a tweet today (, start by writing for yourself, then write for others, and finally for both.

On this note, I thank you for reading. See you tomorrow.

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