Blog’s been a little sparse lately, eh?
Yeah, I know. I’m painfully aware that these last two months, while I’ve been on sabbatical with “all the time in the world” to write, I should be posting my little adventures every day or two. You know I went to Colorado – but did I mention that we took the whole family to Costa Rica, tromping through ancient rainforest and getting eaten or stung by damned near every insect we encountered? [but managed to stay away from the pointy ends of the scorpions we met there]
No, I didn’t tell you that. I haven’t told you a damned thing in almost two months. Why? Because for years I’ve been idly fantasizing about how wonderful it would be to have all the time in the world to write about my (obviously fascinating) perambulations around the world. And now, staring that opportunity in the face, I’ve realized that I just don’t have what it takes to sit down and spend my days writing.
I spent the first week or so trying my best: assigned myself five pages a day. Any topic, and style, any venue – just had to write. Made it about four days before I skived and started finding excuses. By week’s end, I’d fallen off the wagon, and couldn’t do anything more than wave as it receded down the road, carrying with it my aspirations of being a Writer.
Once I dusted myself off from that unwelcome revelation, I found myself gun-shy. Couldn’t even approach the damned blog with an innocuous travel tidbit (“Hey, we went to Costa Rica. It was great. Here are the pics.“)
Scared to try writing about anything, for fear of reminding myself that I don’t have the spark, I don’t have the drive to take this unhoned skill and forge it into anything more than an occasional diversion.
Merlin Mann, one of my favorite bloggers, nailed the problem in his essay on “Feeling Creative”. When I feel creative, I write. People tell me that what I write is (often/occasionally/unexpectedly) pretty good. “Hey,” I think, “I’ve got a gift! I should become a writer!”
The problem is that this “being creative” stuff is actual work, just like any other, and it demands as much – or more – discipline and sweat as any other work. It’s not enough to simply like writing, and be able to churn out the occasional bit of art. As Mann writes, “‘feeling creative’ produces great work in approximately the same way that ‘feeling like a doctor’ makes you a gifted thoracic surgeon.”
It’s a great essay – you should read it. But after I read it, I felt exposed. I saw myself every bit the dilletante, exposed by Merlin’s merciless insight. And when I turned to the keyboard again, it mocked me. There’s no way I can churn out text on a daily basis; I just don’t have what it takes to be a writer.
Sure, I seem to have a decent ear, and when the Muse drops by, I’m entirely able to put her latest inspiration into words. But that’s not my volition – it just happens when it happens. And that’s not enough to keep the story pipe full.
So – I’m going to try to be better about posting. Maybe I’ll get around to narrating our Costa Rica trip. Really – it was a huge ant, and hurt like the Dickens* (Devon tells me that my exact exclamation upon getting bitten was “Gaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!”).
[*Note to self: conjure humorous comparison with expected sensation of being bitten by Charles Dickens himself. How the hell did “like the Dickens” originate – was Mr. Charles just extreme in all his behaviors?]
In the meantime, bear with me. I’m going back to the office in just over a week, and will no longer have these unlimited, intimidating expanses of time in which to contemplate my inability to write. I expect my output increase substantially.