I find writing frustrating.
I love writing.
I find writing frustrating.
It’s a simple cycle really, and one would hope that simple cycles would be easier to bring to a halt or at least to direct in a friendlier direction. That’s not the case with my writing, though; I’ve found that when I write, I write across all levels. Writing for work, writing on this blog, even writing fiction. It all comes together. Each activity feeds the other.
When I don’t write, I make excuses. I imagine that my professional writing is sucking the energy away from my blog writing or my (more or less consistently unwritten) fiction writing. I think of my writing in terms of finite capital that must be spent wisely, but that’s not how writing works, at least for me. If I was able to manage my writing capital, my inspiration, my energy, then perhaps I could stockpile the capital over a course of days. It wouldn’t be an issue that I hadn’t written anything in three days as I now had a bounteous reserve on which to call, a guaranteed two to three days of eloquent frenzy across my keyboard.
That’s not how it works. At least, that’s not how it works for me.
I go back and forth about what I want this blog to be, in my own head. Recently, or rather only a few posts ago, I made a decision to write longer form stuff. Not ten thousand words or anything, but somewhere between one and two thousand a post. I had found that my writing was creeping upwards in that direction anyway and it didn’t seem like a stretch. Something funny happened, however. I focused on writing longer posts but continued to hand myself excuses I wouldn’t accept elsewhere. I tacitly accepted a lowering of standards because, after all, “it’s just a blog.” I ignored the fact that this perspective directly contradicted the idea of writing longer posts in the first place.
Quality isn’t quantity of course, but weeks later I find myself frustrated by the whole endeavor. I wrote a post on the important but flawed video game GONE HOME a couple of weeks ago only to insert a caveat as minor foreword to the post over a week ago and ultimately to remove the post from the site altogether. I didn’t change my mind; the post said what I wanted to say, but it didn’t say it well. That drives me crazy.
Part of writing is accepting the perils of the freedom that comes with it, especially when writing in public, as blogging very much constitutes. So, I will jettison my idea of writing longer pieces once or twice a week, because the result was a long post once in a blue moon. I won’t try and guarantee a fixed number of posts a week either, because that just drags my writing in the opposite direction. The decision I’ve taken, essentially, is to lighten up and just write. That means no more apologies for posts like this one. I still hold fast to the conviction that blogging about yourself (or writing about yourself at all, really) is supremely boring as a rule, but I’m happy to bend the rule if it means I’m writing. Yes, I’m writing about myself here but I’m writing about myself writing and therefore I am writing about writing, or at least the impulses that drive for or against it.
The childish thrill I received by using the word “writing” so much in that last sentence helps convince me that this is something I like to do. The astonishing thing about writing is how the worst thing you can possibly do is not write. Failing to write typically comes from fear, and that fear only compounds over time. Writing is liberating for the writer in the personal space. At the same time, writing without any kind of contribution to others is a waste of time and by definition bad writing. So, although I will no longer run screaming from the idea of writing a post such as this one, I will remain committed to staying “on topic” as much as possible. In other words, if you visit this blog now and again you’re going to see more than your fair share of three hundred word posts that point out Apollo Creed is an amazing character.
In short, my advice to anyone who is frustrated with the writing process is this: write. I know that such advice is trite, obvious and by no means original. It is the best advice I’ve ever received however. Talk to you soon.