Friday, May 01, 2009

Two Posts Every Week—Honest.

For the past few years, this blog has been little more than a repository for certain creative writings of mine—a place where my work comes to hang out and languish for months on end, occasionally read and possibly enjoyed by a family member, a friend or an online passerby.

And for the most part, I’ve been just fine with that. I’ve thought of the site as more of an electronic portfolio than a blog in any true sense, with posts being made every few months (one friend jokingly dubbed it “The Quarterly”) rather than weekly or daily, and the content a random smattering of satire, movie commentary, columns, poetry and fiction, completely unbound by genre or any sort of topical umbrella. It wasn't my original intention to be contrary, but I suppose this has become an anti-blog of sorts.

But despite what my negligence might suggest, I really like having a blog. It’s a home for all those short, motley pieces that are most likely too casually written, personally specific or strange to find vacancy elsewhere. It’s also an incentive to take on those projects in the first place, and to finish them once I’ve started. And of course the idea of having readers is nice, even if they do number in the single digits and in most cases occupy some branch of my family tree.

So, with all of this in mind, my wish for the near future is to turn this site from a wooden puppet blog into a real one (or something closer to a real one). In my very liberal estimation, this will mean posting at least two items a week, with maybe a short weekly feature thrown in for good measure. Now, I realize this isn’t the first time I’ve made a dubious promise on this blog about forthcoming content. But I stand by this goal even though I know that, like most amazing transformations, it’s going to require a bit of magic and the breaking of some bad habits.

While my writing on the whole is not bad, I am a bad writer. For every hour I spend actively writing, I spend at least five hours feeling guilty about not writing or worrying about the conditions which I’ve convinced myself are necessary for my writing to happen. Practically speaking, this is not a good ratio. I almost always have some project or other on my mind, but on most days have little to show for it. And since leaving grad school, the discipline and drive to write have been even harder to sustain. Inevitably, promising ideas lose their relevance or fall by the wayside.

Writers are often perfectionists, I think, and perfectionists are often procrastinators—they tend to put off their attempts to create something worthy of their own impossibly high standards. It’s easier and, in a way, more satisfying to simply ruminate on a project, to turn it around in one's head and imagine the finished piece in all of its shimmering, hypothetical glory. While we love the idea of writing and are heartened and fulfilled by what we produce, the writing itself is generally a slog. So people like me end up lying to themselves and putting things—tasks, distractions, emotions—in the way of their writing. Emails are sent, bathrooms are scrubbed, breaks and naps are taken, invaluable Google research is conducted, Word docs are closed or minimized, and our noses grow.

Admittedly, it’s sometimes hard to understand why I so expertly avoid doing what I most want to do. But I’m hopeful that this site, in the coming months, will serve as a real motivator to churn out more writing more often. I suppose it's possible, in the interest of meeting the new weekly quota, that the quality of what I post here may not measure up to what it’s been in the past. There will be less time to tweak and polish. So, to the small handful of readers who visit this blog now and again, if that happens to be the case, I apologize.

But then, this is cyberspace, where anyone can come and go, read or not read as they please. No strings attached.