Why I Almost Gave Up On Sadaik

Sadaik has been running for nearly 7 years now, since before the end of pre-publication censorship in Aug 2012 and the dismantling of the PRSD in January 2013.  Every couple of years, I seem to go a bit flat, as if unsure there is any point in continuing with the site.  In 2014 I took a hiatus, mainly due to the frustration of trying to upload posts on an internet connection that kept cutting out.  When we moved to Africa I took another break, thinking I would be unable to keep up with the writers so far away.

Plus, with the publication of both The People Elsewhere and the English edition of the Hidden Words, Hidden Words, it at times felt I had done all I could to promote literature from Myanmar and so I have posted less and less.

But, again, I was drawn back.

With the move back to Myanmar, with a new apartment, catching up, an important short story to write and other distractions I haven’t posted on Sadaik for five months now.

And curiously, it seems to have made no difference on the number of visitors to the site.  The number of daily readers of Sadaik remains the same whether I post or not.  So either I have maxed out the number of people who have an interest in literature from Myanmar, or my posting content is awful (im going with the latter).

Someone just told me that Sadaik is a bit serious, which I can’t disagree with.  But then it seems wrong to make light of censorship and jailed writers and banned literature.

Which I think might be the problem.  I guess I always wanted sadaik to be a resource, a content provider for all things literary Myanmar, much in the same way M Lynx Qualey has done with Arablit (If you are interested in Arabic literature in translation, her site is a staggering treasure-trove of information).  But Arablit is able to cover writers, books and the publishing industry from over a dozen countries, there just simply isn’t enough ‘literature’ from Myanmar in English.

So it occurred to me recently, that I might have been approaching Sadaik the wrong way for the last 7 years.  Instead of trying to reach out to readers already looking for content on Burmese literature (which admittedly is a niche within a niche), Sadaik needs to have a broader reach, but still in some way related to literature from Myanmar.  It needs to connect with those who are interested in Myanmar, but offer a different angle and perspective to draw those who might not necessarily be interested in its literature.

If Sadaik can survive two years in Africa it can certainly grow in the coming years we are here.  So, over the next few months, there will be the regular – serious – posts on censorship, publishing news, book launces etc, but I will also be doing a series of ‘Best of ..’: the best bookshops, the best literary tea-shops, the best literary locations etc.  The thumbnails will be redesigned to make it more obvious what they are about; they will be connected to a Pinterest account.

You still won’t see me on the twitter though.

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