I’m going to suggest a completely absurd thought about writing, here. You might unfollow me for this and say that I’m no real writer.
But have you ever considered the absurd notion that what you wrote might just be absolutely fine the first time? That maybe, just maybe, writing doesn’t need to always be this arduous process of endless writing and re-writing and slaving over several versions of the same piece and trying to decide which one is best?
I’ve talked about getting tips for writing on my Pinterest feed before, and at some point they tell me that the most important thing about being a writer is the willingness to pour your soul out onto a piece of paper, watch people tear it apart, and then tape it back together in a different way, hoping that the new design will meet their approval. And, of course, you have quotes from famous authors explaining how writing is like dying by inches in hot oil.
Sure, writing is that way every now and then. Especially if you write professionally—and I needn’t expound upon the potential trials of writing for a teacher, especially a writing teacher. But if it’s like that all the time, you’re doing it wrong. Writing will quickly lose all interest and excitement and just become “work.” And it’s kind of undeniable that, in my generation, work is a thing to be avoided at all costs (but to be fair, that’s been true since the Fall and you can’t credit my generation with the invention of laziness—but that’s a diatribe for a different day).
I say all this because that’s exactly what was beginning to happen to me. I was starting to get bogged down in the endless revisions necessary to my work. “You can’t say it this way, there is the slight possibility someone might take offense at it, so you have to say it a slightly different way so that it doesn’t sound even remotely offensive,” “It’s clear, and it’s understandable, but it needs a stronger connection to the reader,” “This is good, but can we also add something about this, this, and this?” “After making all those additions, make sure that you keep it short enough so the reader doesn’t lose interest,” “We liked what you wrote, but we re-wrote it completely for no apparent reason.” I could go on.
I really could, because here, in my own little space for writing, it doesn’t matter what I say or how I say it. I could throw a bunch of words together in a helter-skelter jumble of gobbledigook and wordy jargon and just let it be!
And then it hit me. That’s why I have this blog. I started it as a creative outlet other than my writing for school (now other than my writing for work). It’s a place for the free manipulation of words where the purpose isn’t to say what I have to say in the mostest correctest way possible. The point is just to communicate. To write in my own voice, with no editing save my own. To make up the rules and have fun doing it.
I told my friend from puzzledustblog that I was trying to teach myself not to feel an obligation to post on my blog. I shouldn’t have any obligation to post—not for other people, that is. At the risk of sounding Disney cliché, I do have an obligation to post for myself. To stay sane. So that I can master the manipulation of my own voice in every kind of writing. And maybe I’ll make someone smile along the way.
It’s a kind of work, but it’s good work.