John Scalzi has a weekend assignment over at his By the Way AOL journal. The assignment is to post about something silly you or one of your children did when they were younger. So, with Lydia’s permission, I’ve posted one of her early “all by myself” trips to the potty…
I have nothing interesting to say. Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of things I want to write about — but I can’t seem to “Use My Words” like Mom used to tell me. I want to write about my silly habit of curling up by the heater vent on a cold morning. I have some pretty deep thoughts regarding writing in general. Even the moon and it’s future colonization is rattling around my melon recently. I just can’t seem to write the thoughts in my head.
I think that a good writer is someone that can get their thoughts into words. Thoughts don’t suffer from repetitive word usage, grammar problems, etc. Thoughts are so non-linear, drifting, creative things, that writing them down is the art form, not dreaming them up in the first place. How I long for the Vulcan mind meld technology to surpass the current day voice recognition.
Anyway, I have to be careful, or this will become writing, and I’m convinced that I’m unable to write right now. Good night everyone. Maybe I’ll dream up the words to describe the beautiful snowfall we had today.
–20 minutes of pacing the house, etc–
See, here I am again. Couldn’t sleep. Still can’t write. It’s terribly depressing when the tool you use to express yourself is broken. I have an almost palpable weight in my chest. It’s like my heart is a little too heavy. Usually I’d resort to some snarky comment, or shallow but humorous diatribe about some equally shallow topic. (Restaurant spikes anyone?) I think the trouble I’m really having is that I realize my writing reflects what I want people to see rather than what is really down deep in my soul. Nothing rings true like truth. I should put that on a T-Shirt or something.
Why can’t I write what’s really inside me? Maybe because I’m afraid I’m really not that interesting. I can make things interesting, but I think deep down I’m afraid that if I were to write for real, REALLY REAL, it wouldn’t be very good. In other words, expose my soul only to find my soul is rather ordinary. If I write superficially, it can be fun to read, and fun to write — but it’s safe. If I write about my inadequacies, fears, inner conflicts, secret self-esteem issues, contradicting core beliefs, etc — it’s scary. There are things I don’t even think about, much less write about.
So is that what a good writer does? Expose their soul? Does it take a special kinda soul to be a great writer? If I’m afraid to be real in my writing, how can I expect anyone to connect with it? Writing is like standing naked in a huge room of fully dressed beauty pageant judges. The possibility of applause is so easy to squelch with the horrifying reality that even one of those judges won’t like the way you look.
Maybe this post, which will be read by half a dozen people at most, is the first step toward being a good writer. Writing is so much more than grammar and spelling. I want to experience it to the fullest. Maybe this paranoid, depressed, writers-blockism is all a part of it. Time will tell. For now, I’ll waffle a bit about whether to click “Publish” or “Delete.”