Monday, June 22, 2009

Write Here, Write Now

Well, here it is, my first blog post in almost a year. Why such a long hiatus? Truthfully, I really thought I was through with blogging forever.

Oh, I can hear the chides now. "How can you be through when you never even started?" Or maybe, "Gee, I'll really miss your posts...ONCE A YEAR!" OK, OK, I deserve that.

One of the reasons that I thought about dropping out permanently was this feeling of (admittedly self-induced) performance anxiety. I can't help but feel that there's some sort of standard to which I should measure up if I'm going to continue posting things on the interwebs. I know a few excellent writers who blog, and I'm also aware that there are many not-so-excellent writers who blog; both find readers, either because of their writing skills or in spite of them. But I don't want to be a mediocre writer, at least not publicly. For me, it's been just plain easier to avoid blogging than to fret about quality and acceptance. You heard it here first, folks: Doing nothing is easier than doing something well.

The problem with this? I honestly like to write. And some of what I write, I think, passes for a decent blog post. To me, drafting something that I feel good about and then letting it sit unpublished feels kinda' like....well, like when I was 13 and got that $20 for mowing the rabbi's HUGE lawn while he was on vacation. I worked really hard to get it, and yet I couldn't wait to spend it. It just burns a hole in the pocket, you know? Yes, it will last forever as-is, but I want to use it. Setting it free sounds even better than getting it in the first place.

Of course, there are some glaring differences between that money and these musings. Arguably, that twenty bucks would have been better off saved than spent, whereas an unpublished blog post is more like a wasted investment. Then again, not many people look at a kid with a twenty and tell them they're stupid for earning it. Simply put, unpublished material is safe because it doesn't garner any criticism. To paraphrase Twain, "It's better to stay quiet and be thought an idiot, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Contrary to what I've lead some people to believe, though, I know I'm not expected to be Pulitzer-worthy when I blog. Just because I don't want to sound like Homer Simpson on a bender, that doesn't mean I think I'm channeling Ernest Hemingway when I write - or even Ernest P. Worrell, for that matter. I've been told that I should stop trying so hard, that every post doesn't need to aspire to some lofty, reality-affirming treatise about the mysteries of the human condition. "Write anything," they say. "Get over yourself!" (Gosh, I didn't realize I had such a haughty opinion of me. Apparently, I really need to be taken down a peg.)

But, I know that's not it. I guess, ultimately, I'm worried about falling short of some people's expectations...or, worse, proving others right.

I believe my problem is mainly one of perception. I simply can't think of my blog the same way I think of a journal or a diary. The latter are all about introspection, even catharsis; sharing them is merely optional, and if they make the writer happy, the opinions of others don't really matter. Blogs, on the other hand, are created specifically to be read by the masses. So, when I sit down to work on a blog post, I immediately revert back to my high school Creative Writing class, where everything I put out there was supposed to be picked apart. It's not that I think anyone expects greatness, but hopefully they don't expect crap, either.

In these infant stages of my bloggitude, most of the people reading me are my friends and family (or both). They've been very kind and supportive, and I've appreciated it more than they know, but I'm still afraid of disappointing. What happens when I publish a really bad, boring, or offensive post? Wait..what if I've already done that? What if I'm doing it again RIGHT NOW?!?! GAAH...the pressure is killing me!

But, NO! I've steeled myself and decided that I enjoy writing enough to move past my insecurities and start posting again. Maybe some of the people who followed me before will come back, or maybe they never left. Perhaps I'll find some new readers. Heck, I might even get a few comments here and there. (They are like crack, you know...)

Yep, this is it. I'm definitely back in the game. I'll be posting more often, forcing myself to put things out there that I might not have been inclined to share before, tilting those windmills that have always intimidated me so. To those who will put up with my rants, I offer thanks. To the rest, I say, "Fine. Read a better blog or two. I don't blame you. No hard feelings. Go with G-d."

Truthfully, though, I have to tell you: It feels really good to be back in uber-productive mode again. Man, I can feel those creative juices flowing already. Be sure to check out my next should be ready in just a month or two.

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