Why I Probably Don’t Write

It’s a Sunday autumn morning. The sky is grey, but the kind of backlit, sunny grey that happens when the clouds are part wispy, part dense. The wind is strong; the trees are swaying back and forth and there is a brisk chill in the air, not unlike the crispness that comes with holding a cold glass of Sancerre.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, like I do when this, my favorite of seasons rolls around. Mostly, I’ve been thinking about writing and the process therein. That though I identify myself as a writer I have developed–as Ian says self-deprecatingly about his lack of muscle mass–“noodle arms.” I write, sure, but definitely not as much as I should. Definitely not as much as one seeking employ as a scribe should.

I had an interview the other day with a well-known blogger and travel writer about her work. The interview went well, and I’m excited for the finished piece. Beyond doing the work for the internship, it was good to talk to someone whose process more or less echoed mine. Maybe not process. That’s the wrong word; I mean, “opinions.”

For a while, I’ve felt a little alone in my thoughts about writing in general. We don’t exist in a vacuum, as much as a curmudgeon like myself wants to believe. Reading and participating, however passively, in the online communities I have found myself a part of have really lit a fire of disdain for the game that seems to exist in the world of “blogging.” Promote, market, network, build! And then the masses, professionals and the unwashed amateurs (myself included) followed suit. I have removed myself from participating IRL because I am tired of comparing notes and “sounding it out loud” in front of everyone else. And then Tweeting about it.

My writing, such as it was, fell to the way side.

This is all to say: what bullshit. Now, this isn’t meant to be the tired tirade of “content is king.” I’m just trying to suss out my own feelings regarding my own process of creation and self-editing. Ultimately, I want to create precisely because I want to make money. I’d be a fool if I didn’t admit that to myself and others. But here’s the rub: I’m entirely willing to sacrifice monetization for stagnation if I produce work I can’t stand behind, that I am not proud of each and every time.

This is a problem. The critical, cruel, harsh self-editer in me doesn’t deem anything fit for print. I’ve let myself go from the only job I’ve ever wanted. Circle back to that recent interview with the blogger, though, and I see that maybe I was too critical, cruel, harsh on that little writer that could. It’s about sitting down and letter by letter, bird by bird, doing the goddamn work. Maybe, with a little more assurance and nurturing, my Editor-self can steer my Writer-self away from the undulating, almost-physical online noise seen/heard/felt on a daily basis and return to what really matters: The Writing.

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