Pains

This new writing practice is hard. I’ve numbed my butt in the coffee shop while scribbling down pages and pages of observation and thought. That is my essay material—my blog material—and it stinks more the longer I let it sit. I was hoping to create a post from the stuff I wrote last Friday, but I can’t do that right now; it all sounds awful and unsubstantial. I think I need to go deeper rather than writing from the top of my head and assuming that’s enough. It’s not that I can’t create anything from my scribblings, but I have to train myself to glean from them rather than thinking of them as complete drafts that just need a little polish. I need to read them carefully, without judgment, and figure out which parts are meant to remain. There will have to be some parts that seem significant after I’ve been away from my notebook for a few days.

It’s hard because I want to write about everything. My writing instructor told us to start small. I figured I was already doing that by highlighting the nuances of life, but now that I’m examining my habits I realize that I have a difficult time remaining focused. I have trouble fully describing the moments, people, things, and places that are meaningful to me. Details are an obstacle because it’s hard to provide them without using worn-out comparisons and dry adjectives. Instead of doing that, then, I circumscribe them with my feelings. The question of how well that is working can only be answered if I really know to what purpose, and what audience, I’m writing.

I have presumed that this writing is only for me and for people in my life who are interested in what’s going on in my world. To write deliberately for an audience would, I fear, create too much pressure. However, I determined not long ago that this must be one of my hobbies; I enjoy it too much to ignore my knack for it. So I’ve been pressuring myself into getting better. Since I am what I am, this means I’d prefer to totally disregard every imperfect piece that I write. They are painful to read, and it’s hard for me to see through that into what could become of the wreckage. And where will I find the time to compose and revise multiple drafts? Maybe I should concern myself less with the frequency of my blog updates, and more with the frequency and quality of the time I spend actually writing (on paper).

As everything else in life, this will have to be considered a work in progress.

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