Personal reflections

Writing Doubts

Writing is a real fight. I’ve been at it for nearly five hours, and I’m starting again with nothing.

The blog as a medium is one that I was introduced to through my dad, who wanted to put every details of our family’s life onto his blog for many years of my childhood. When I expressed an interest in having a blog of my own, he at first allowed me to post on the family blog, heavily editing my work, before helping me set up this site. He’d rephrase what I was trying to say until it had lost its original meaning, and there was no convincing him that he hadn’t improved it with his brilliance.

I always wanted to analyze media and politics, weighing in with my thoughts, but to this day I fight with myself. Even though I’ve been no-contact with my father for six years, the criticisms tarnish every hesitant word and phrase. I do not create with confidence. My thoughts seem too raw, too personal, too extreme, too…anything that gives me a chance to leave yet another idea incomplete and unfit for publishing here.

My goal in writing short posts on a daily basis is to just let myself reflect and ponder freely. I may not always be the most informed and I know I’m not always right. Perhaps this is what makes my voice such a unique one on the internet – I explore instead of making absolute statements of opinion. I don’t claim to completely understand why things are the way they are, I can only make observations from what I can see.

I feel a great disconnect between why people read my blog and what I actually write here. People are curious about what happens when someone escapes fundamentalism, and the result in my case is rather extreme. I’m so far left I’m upset with liberals and Democrats most days – it’s the hypocrisy that gets me, more than the outright evil of the far right. At least they’re honest about prioritizing profit and policing bodies.

When I sit down to pen a blog post, what comes out is ranting about how extremely broken our system is. I have my doubts about whether I’m preaching to the choir or to an audience that merely infantilizes me for my past, assuming I’m extreme just because I’ve been hurt or something, as if that’s not a valid and reasonable way to gain information about what is dangerous and harmful. Am I convincing anyone? Have I made people think differently about how they see the world? Even if I have, what difference does it make, ultimately?

I have lofty ideas about this little blog with its blocky, choppy design and just over a million all-time visits. I know it’s not a pretty site right now. I know the archives are all over the place as far as topics of discussion are concerned. Yet some part of me wants for my artistic work to have the kind of meaning that influences the outcome of things. I want to influence larger events while providing a place of solace for those who are also disturbed by the world we live in.

It’s right about here that I have to race with my own mind to get the words out and keep going, talking myself through the process, instead of allowing the deluge of doubts to flow in. Is it long enough? What am I saying, where am I going with this? How am I going to come up with a title that summarizes what I’ve just written? Is it important enough to talk about, with everything going on in the world that demands attention?

That last question hangs from every word, telling me to delete from here and start over again. Write about what really matters, I demand of myself. The problem with that approach is I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew, and trying to analyze the whole US economy.

So I get to the bottom of finally producing several hundred words, and they’re all complaints about the problem of writing itself, which isn’t at all what I wanted. I’m tired of the self-indulgence of saying that writing is too hard, when it is a craft I have practiced with such diligence for the purpose of expressing, and there are so many Very Important Things to write about. More important than writing about how hard writing is, anyway, I think. Who wants a writer to remind them they’re writing?

Yet after working at it for five hours, that’s what I’ve got. I will be back tomorrow, maybe then I’ll have something to present that feels worth it. For now, I’m sticking with my goal of posting, even if it’s not perfect. Thank you all for being willing to follow along as I explore.