On the 10th of June, I received a surprise email from OMY informing me that I have been shortlisted as one of ten finalist for the 2015 Singapore Blog Awards, Best Individual Blog category. I was dumbfounded for a few reasons.
Firstly, it’s my first. This is my first time taking part in a blog contest. I just thought, why don’t I register reuelwrites to see where I stand in the blogosphere? Little did I expect to actually make it to the Finals. Secondly, the competition are talented, tougher and more popular than me. In the running for this year’s best individual blog includes last year’s winner 女飞侠, Smith, Budget babe and Jeraldine – info courtesy of Smith’s blog (by the way Smith is a really interesting blog). Proof of the anomaly of reuelwrites as finalist, I actually don’t know any of the above bloggers except Budget Babe who wrote the viral and awe-inspiring ‘HOW I SAVED $20,000 IN A YEAR‘ article.
Thirdly, my readership is significantly lesser than the other bloggers. Except during news writing, I never really concern myself with writing for mass appeal. Writing popular topics just didn’t interest me, or you could say I don’t have a talent for topics that gain much attention from the general public like food and fashion. Commenting in the capacity of a writer, I must say that food and fashion writing is not easy! But I digress. If the winner was determined solely by votes, I would not even come anywhere close to being a finalist. As it turns out, much of this year’s award category will be determined by judges’ choice. And I’m one of them.
Why did the judges pick me?
1. Being Real
According to the OMY’s description, the Best Individual Blog is a ‘Blog with a unique voice and character that portray the author’s individuality, regardless of topics‘. Not the type to blow his own trumpet, I find it hard to use that to describe reuelwrites. I would rather say that I’m pretty introspective and I keep things real on reuelwrites. The topics that I talk about are genuinely close to my heart. I think a lot – about ‘stuff’ like philosophy, politics, current affairs, and life’s difficult questions – sometimes too much for my own good. I don’t shy away from difficult, hot button issues. In fact I love a good discussion (or argument).
Recent topics on my mind are the ethnic minority and the lottery of birth, the necessity of the ‘lower class’, funding for Singapore’s athletes, feminism – confidence or subscribing to a worldview, disavowing gender roles, just to name a few. I will find some time to talk about them if I can spare the time to expound on these topics.
I spend 2 to 5 hours writing each article, interview story or review. That time may or may not include the hours spent on research and in conducting interviews. Because of my journalism background, I am hardwired to research on each topic I am addressing in that particular blog entry even if it consumes a massive amount of time. As a journalist and writer of sorts, I believe every article should be factually accurate, informational, carries some form of entertainment value, and representative of the author’s opinions. This can sometimes be more of a bane than a boon since lots of personal time is sacrificed. I am also to a certain extent, a Grammar Nazi. As with every writer, Thesaurus is my best friend. And sometimes, even after the article has been published, you will still find me proofreading and editing the article.
Even for topics that have been widely covered, I do not simply lift existing information and words from the internet. Anti-plagiarism! I sought different perspectives from different angles. If you have been following my articles closely, you would notice a certain ‘style’ and the choice of words I use in my writing (I need to increase my vocabulary!).
3. Give The Arts a voice
Last year, it was announced that the local Government promised approximately $145 million in funding for the arts scene, and the revamping of museums and cultural institutions. Every government scheme and policy always faces low take up rate at its beginning stages. Citizens are still fresh to the idea of arts and there’s just not enough conversation about the arts in the internet. Someone previously told me not to write about the arts because it’s a ‘dead’ topic that nobody reads about. I rebuked him. (Laughs)
Committing to the arts, I introduce readers to the arts via easy-to-read reviews on the latest plays, exhibitions and performances in the local arts scene. I’m hopeful that these reviews will encourage readers to participate in the arts either by attending performances or by getting directly involved. While I did not major in the arts in university studies or creative writing, each review is heavily researched and scrutinised on my end to make sure the review is substantial for readers’ consumption. So what I lack in training, I make up for in hours of hard work.
In a nutshell, each article is almost akin to a ‘work of art’. (Laughs)
I’m grateful to have gained the judges’ mark of approval. Winning the Best Individual Blog feels like an impossible task, or a David-versus-Goliath mission in real life. But David did win, didn’t he? Maybe, just maybe, I participated because I secretly believe I have what it takes to win. Awards ceremony is coming up! I will keep you guys updated with the latest happenings (on Instagram).
Win or not, I will continue to write and provide good content and honest reviews. So come visit me more often. Looking forward to your next visit at reuelwrites.com. RW