The first thing that I need to make clear about this:
I’m not writing it for you.
I’m writing it for myself.
A book I’ve been going back to again and again is “Steal Like and Artist,” by Austin Kleon. Kleon is best known for “blackout poetry,” that art form where he takes a news story and crosses out everything except for a few words, which combine to make a poem or a statement of some kind. He also writes about the creative process, and boy, does he get a lot of stuff right.
The most important thing that Kleon writes about is how it’a important to create something frequently. Even more important though, it’s important to get it out there, and simply make the goal to put something out there that isn’t entirely execrable.
To the best of my knowledge, working from what is now over thirty years of writing just about every day, I’m going out on a limb here and saying that what you’re reading right now is not execrable. To be sure, it’s not dazzling and inspiring, but if you’ve gotten this far, you’re still reading it, which means that it’s at least readable.
If you’re still here: thank you.
And while I’m at it, I apologize. Today, the words just don’t seem to be all that interesting. I’m fortunate to at least have words come to me. The notion of being one of those writers who just sits there with no words whatsoever haunts me, and so far, I’ve been fortunate enough not to be one of those people.
I should say at this point that people who are around me and hear me talk (and talk, and talk) would agree that it’a tough to imagine my being at a loss for words.
With all that said, it’s nice to just go along, writing word after word, the way I’m doing right now, but it would make sense if I got to some sort of point. Here is the point that I think I’m trying to make with this:
Creative endeavors are cruel things. They start out, in the mind, as fully formed, sparkling things, and so often, by the time they make it to the easel or screening room or, in this case, the computer screen, they’re just nowhere near as good as the creator wanted them to be. Because of this, an insidious self doubt starts to creep in.
This self doubt says “don’t put anything out there until there’s this sparkling sheen to whatever it is you’re writing/painting/drawing/sculpting/filming/whatever else. Wait a bit. Smoke some cigarettes. Have another cup of coffee. Watch mindless television shows. Take a nap. Sit and sulk. “
Then, after a while, something else starts to drag down the creative process even further: the realization that it’s been a long time since the person has put anything out there. This leads to even more sessions of smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, and whatever else.
One of my vices is journal writing. Yes, it’s good to keep a journal. But so often, my journal entries are about how I haven’t put anything out there. Then they become these perseverating things that I don’t even enjoy reading again.
I’ve written, literally, hundreds of thousands of words like this. They are tucked away in the cloud, and there’a a good chance that a lot of those words are words I shall never look at again.
It’s different, though, when I actually write with the intent of putting it out there. If nothing else, I know that when I’m done with it and post it to my blog, I’ll at least be able to say that I put it out there.
Hence this entry.
I’ve written this before, but I’ll write it again: for there to be good entries where I post them and say “hey, that was actually a pretty good post,” there are tons of them that are like this. Yes, it’s readable, but it’s just not that exciting.
Unfortunately, it’s the only way to get to the exciting stuff.
With that said, again, thanks for reading this. I had to write it. Because if I don’t write it, months will go by without my having posted anything…and then more months will go by. These not particularly exciting posts are the only way to get to the exciting posts, which are no doubt somewhere inside me…just not right now.
There are better posts to come. Promise. For now, this one will do…and it’s the only way to get to the posts that are genuinely worth reading.
And once again, thanks for reading this. Had to get it out there.