Introducing: Urban Monk Raw

This is something I’ve been struggling with for a long time; I really think there has to be a change in direction for this blog.

As regular readers will notice, I’ve been posting less and less over the past few months, and using guest posts more frequently (thanks to the guest writers, you guys are awesome). This is because my life is changing a lot.

Boring, Boring History

In the early days of the blog, nearly 3 years ago, I had just returned to study. I was coming out of depression at that time – I gave up my social life and sports activities completely, and spent almost every waking minute either studying or doing this inner work (when your pain is that strong, so is your motivation), occasionally doing some work to pay the bills.

That was why I had so much content in the early days – even though each post takes anywhere between 6 to 18 hours, spread over several days, to write – I had plenty of time to craft each post.

But now my life is changing, and I didn’t know how to keep this up. Psychology is a six year course of study here in Australia, and as I suddenly move to the second half of the six years, the workload has doubled. I do have some free time here and there, but after hours of psych research and reading, I have no brainpower to sit down and spend another few hours writing.

Add to that, I am finally done with my hermit life – I started coming out of it at the end of last year, and now I’ve shaken off the rust and re-established my social life. It’s been so long since I’ve stepped out of my cave, I was worried I would burn in the sunlight.

There is a time for introspection and inward searching, and I wouldn’t have traded my 3 years for anything, but I’m going out there now.

How Blogging Used To Work For Me

For a long time I toyed with the idea of calling UM.Net a finished work and just leave it without updating. But I still love this blog, and I still get lots of beautiful short ideas that pop into my head. This was how blogging used to work for me –

  1. Something happens, or I read something that I think will be helpful.
  2. I write down a paragraph of notes.
  3. I go read up on this topic, find books that talk about this, authors that have practiced it. If there is a method or technique, I try it out.
  4. If I get results, I start writing it up. If I don’t, I throw the idea away and start from scratch. This testing often takes weeks.
  5. Return to computer. Write up. Edit. Re-edit. Re-edit.
  6. Often, with complicated topics, I’ll find a friend to proof-read the article and see if there are any misunderstandings which might lead to harm (I read a news article of how some girl misunderstood a popular self-help book and ended up hurting herself a long time ago, and it’s stuck in my head since then).
  7. Often, by this stage I realise that it is too easily misunderstood or misapplied, and throw the whole thing away.
  8. Find picture, post article, final edit.

This whole process can take up to 18 hours – ignoring the testing time for new techniques. This was fun for me, so I didn’t complain.

But nowadays, I just reach step 2. I have a whole folder full of half written paragraphs, a whole stack of books I bought but only skimmed through. I was despairing – how am I ever going to finish them all?

Giving it Raw

Over the weeks, I began to realise, maybe it would be better not to. How about just writing up all this stuff raw? How about just giving it as my raw experience – and not worry about whether it looks good, whether it is backed up by psychological research or by spiritual teachings, and just giving it raw?

Here’s an example – I had what was possibly a direct experience of karma on Christmas Eve last year. I really wanted to write about it. But I realised I didn’t know anything about karma – and besides someone told me what little I did know was wrong to begin with. So I bought a book on karma. I thought I’d spend a few hours reading it and then a few more hours crafting that post. But the idea sat there, the book sat there, and I blinked my eyes and it’s already March.

So why not just write about my experience and give my thoughts on karma in 2 or 3 short paragraphs? Anyone who knows a bit about karma and other such things will probably find me wrong. But the idea would be there the benefit would be there, the main point would still be there.

Before, I wanted UM.Net to be a comprehensive resource. But now I can say it’s just my personal experience and thoughts – I’m not publishing a proper book or pretending to be an expert, so it’s OK if I miss some of the details or get some history wrong.

The good thing is: these little ideas come to me real hard and real quick – so this idea will most likely lead to more frequent updates. Kinda like Twitter, but with more space. To avoid confusion, I’ll put it all into a new category. Ill still have my detailed articles of course, since some things need a lot of words, but theyll be a lot rarer.

I’m a bit anxious, to be honest. I really hope this idea works!