It’s dawned on me how much my thoughts and interests now revolve around writing.
This weblog encourages me to write bits and pieces most days. When I’m on a run of good posts, it’s exciting (and if I get feedback about what I’ve said, even better). When things to say dry up, as they obviously do at times, I’m always keen to find new subjects to write about, and not neglect this outlet. While I may not be an ace web designer, the knowledge that I can now put a site together (even if it does involve tearing my hair out because of HTML) is equally exciting — I’ve got two site ideas on the go at the moment, both offering a new format for my writing and my thoughts. Behind the scenes, I continue to write stuff in private, and I still indulge in far too many long email conversations where I often treat what I’m writing in the same careful way I would do if I was writing a letter with pen and paper, rather than the impersonal shorthand of email.
This is all good. I haven’t got so much benefit out of my writing in years. I think, in a lot of ways, becoming increasingly familiar with the internet has caused that change. I always wrote a lot in the past — but once it was written, that was it. There was nothing I could actively do with it. Nowhere it could be displayed. No hope of getting it published. The net has changed that. I discovered that, in a matter of seconds, I could have something posted to a discussion forum, a mailing list, or any site that’s open to contributions. But even that wasn’t enough, and I began to wish for my own little corner of the web that was mine. All mine.
And yet …
About a month ago, somebody whom I’ve only recently got to know took me to task, in no uncertain terms, about my talents (look, I know how boastful this sounds, but bear with me). They pointed out that I do all this writing, but that I take it no further. I’m not doing anything constructive with it, in real terms. The sad fact is that the vast majority of writing here is ephemeral — in the case of the weblog, it’s on screen for a maximum of five days, and then it’s gone. Of course, there’s an archive — but realistically, how many people have the time, patience or, frankly, the interest to go ferreting around in there?
However, I think it’s exactly this longer-term vision of doing something with my writing skills that is stopping me, to be honest. Over the past few months, and for a variety of reasons, I’ve sat down at my computer with what I thought were brilliant ideas simply fighting to get out of my head. And … nothing. Not a solitary word. Shortly after, the ideas disappear and don’t come back.
What’s the reason for this reaction? I’m not sure, but deep down I think it’s a mixture of terror at doing anything more serious and structured, lack of self-confidence and, of course, all the accoutrements of a busy life that often don’t allow a person to sit down and concentrate — really concentrate — for more than a few moments at a time.
Is there a solution? I’m hopeful. I think there might be. I think the secret might be to continue what I’m doing — incessantly writing, in all sorts of different ways and for different formats. I trust in the fact that, one day, it’ll happen — the “big idea” that will suddenly bring together all the hundreds of other little ideas that spin round my mind. And then these ideas will bring forth a wonderful array of new ideas. When that seismic event occurs, I think the writing that normally eludes me at times like this will begin to flow in the same easy and satisfying way it does in other situations. There’ll be no stopping me.
My only problem is waiting for this to happen. I’m impatient, and I want it to happen now.
(All the above questions are rhetorical, but feel free to answer them if you wish.)