This is something that has been on my mind for quite some time now.
I recently read an interesting article at Slate via MSN.com about how keeping a blog kept one hopeful writer from actually writing for publication. Now, I wish I could say that I’ve been spending my time away from the blog these days being super productive and writing the Great American Novel, but, sadly, that’s just not so. Still, I have wondered what I might have produced when I was blogging so much, both here and at Fantasist.net, if I’d written fiction instead of all the “wonderful”, self-involved, navel-gazing posts. Oh, sure, I suppose that really is what blogging is about, mostly, but, still, I always seem more productive when I’m not focused on myself, but on someone, or something, else instead.
In that respect, at least, I have been a little productive, since I’ve been helping LK (aka Ms. NewGal) with her business, Pink Poodle Gourmet. Not much help, yet, but as I get free from working on my divorce lawyer‘s website, I’ll have more time for her business. I still need to get a better picture of him up, but, mostly, the front-end is done. Oh, I may have a couple hours here and there to do some refining work on it, but, mostly, it’s all backend stuff now. Of course, that’s part of what I’ll be doing for LK, but there’s more there, too, thanks to my Marketing degree. Still, it’s not writing, is it? So, even when I’m not wasting time at work blogging or staying up into the wee hours to get my all too personal point-of-view out to the public, I manage to avoid writing.
My therapist questioned my devotion to my blog over my writing early on in our sessions. He seemed to think that my writing was good enough that I should get paid for it. Of course, he might have been trying to pump me up and give me a reason to not off myself, but, well, it didn’t feel like that was what he was doing, either then or now. In fact, I’ve had at least one professional writer give me some encouragement, though, honestly, she’s so nice I’m not sure I can trust her to give me an honest opinion about my terrible writing style. Still, she is a pro and cute, so, I’ll take what I can get! And, I was good enough, once, to get accepted by a periodical that, sadly, went out of business before I could ever be published. Not quite the Great American Novel, but, still, it would have been a start.
I’ve tried to start blogs as writing projects, much like the author of the Slate article, and met with similar results. Though, that is how the blog at Fantasist.net got started, among other things. I’ve tried to start with maps of various kinds, too. I’ve even tried to start by creating fantasy languages, but all the attempts ended with the same result. I get bogged down in the details and requirements of these artificial starting points, these manufactured muses that simply serve as excuses for why I “can’t” write quite yet. So many reasons not to write, many that seem so plausible to the outside world, but, in the end, all just excuses for spiritual cowardice.
I’d love to boldly declare that now, right now as of this very moment, I was going to change and start writing with publication in mind, but I know myself too well. I know that I’ll hold on to those excuses for a little bit longer, until I feel safe again. Until I feel a little more comfortable and secure, then, when life settles down a bit more, I’ll sit down and write. You know, after I’m comfortable with the fact that I’ll never be published in my lifetime, but don’t care because the writing is all that matters. Because, you know what? The writing is the only thing that matters.
Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"When the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."