I'll be honest, I am absolutely terrified at the prospect of starting a blog. Partly my apprehension is based on a fundamental understanding of my own work practices (after all, an anxiety-riddled perfectionist is hardly likely to produce anything consistently, let alone something of value) but it is also intrinsically related to my personal history as a writer.
I began to apply myself to writing with some degree of seriousness in 2011, the year after I completed a disastrous high school career involving so many detentions I literally had to attend one the day after Grade 12 officially finished and an ATAR score that made my parents question their love for me. While I had enjoyed writing from a young age, it had always struck me as such a totally banal skill, so much so that it genuinely surprised me when I initially realised I was able to seriously engage an audience on any emotional and (occasionally) intellectual levels.
I was running a personal Tumblr at the time and I was forced to recognise quickly and profoundly exactly how powerful writing could be. I had never intentionally produced a provocative piece of work and to this day, I still don't believe that it is within my ethical framework to do so but I discovered nonetheless for the first time in my life that the beliefs I held were divisive. The ideas I expressed were apparently controversial and this was evident largely in the astounding quantity and ferocity of hate mail that I received. That being said, for every individual who was swinging the hatchet directly at my neck, there was always another to swiftly raise a tiny little shield in front of my jugular (it's a strange and poor analogy but you know what? Fuck it, I'm tired).
A perpetual "love or loathe" concept has permeated my work ever since. When I was writing for Sneaky in 2014, the guy who distributed the magazines around Sydney once informed me that there was one cafe in particular whose staff were apparently viciously bisected by their opinions regarding my monthly column and waged wars whenever he arrived with their crates, which always struck me as somewhat bizarre because all I did was write about dieting and television.
This discordant reaction to my ideas has admittedly been upsetting at times but it is also something I've learned to appreciate to some extent – no, I don't construe hate mail as some definitive trophy of my personal significance to masturbate over later, I'm not bloody Kanye West – but I do believe that when you're forcibly removed from your own ego and schemas, you learn to perceive a story from every angle. And perhaps that has made me better at what I do.
Starting another personal venture such as a blog is a daunting prospect because it means that I'm placing my own, unfiltered identity out there once more. Publishing opinions that aren't gently nudged into censorship by wonderful editors who understand the basic premise of public relations is partly frightening, partly empowering, and probably quite idiotic.
And yet here I go regardless.
I will, however, define a certain set of principles that I hope you will find reasonable given the blatantly stalling, preemptive ramble; guidelines that I otherwise aim to apply every time I construct an article for any given publication but perhaps haven't outlined with such official sentiment before.
They are as follows:
I will always be compassionate.
I will always admit when I am wrong.
I will never aim to upset.
I may contradict myself but will always try to acknowledge it as such.
I may not always adhere with political correctness but I will always act in this way for a reason that I perceive as just.
I will always try to learn.
I will try not to be pretentious (but probably fail).
I will try not to be narcissistic (but probably fail).
I will never write a fucking advertorial. Ever.