Out of the shadows

I have an ache, right now, in the top left corner of my right calf. It’s a specific pain, like if my calf muscles were a rowing crew, and one rower got a migraine in the middle of a race. Everything still works, but that one guy isn’t very happy about how his team needs him to keep going.

The ache is, of course, self inflicted, the (oddly localized) result of a week spent working out muscles I haven’t made work in a long time. I got my ass off the couch and tried to move, and paid the short-term price of body aches for the long-term goal of better health.

Now I’m trying to do the same with my brain, or more specifically, my writing.

I haven’t stared at a blank page and/or screen in at least a year, and not regularly for more than three. Instead I’ve spent my time editing, then editing some more, then editing more than I thought was humanly possible, with the stakes as high as they could be. In the past three years, I’ve looked at, gave feedback on, or generally approved around 10,000 pieces of content — blog posts, emails, social media posts, web pages, you name it. I became more machine than man, embracing my red pen with the ruthlessness of a Sith Lord in order to protect the most powerful man on Earth and preserve the rebellion.

While I was constantly using my writer’s eye, I wasn’t writing, any more than walking is practice enough to keep my calf muscles from getting sore when I actually want to exercise. It was my role to be the critic — and now I want to get back into the arena.

But damn if it isn’t hard. I want to tell you what I’ve been up to for the past three years. I want to share some thoughts on my experiences, on community building at scale, on how the world works now. I want to tell you what it’s like to talk to 100 million people every day. Big ideas are floating around in my head, semi-formed, teasing me to make them into a coherent thought, and so far all I can come up with is to complain about how hard this is and tell you my leg hurts.

But it’s a start.