On writing a lot and then not at all.
(But still writing all the while!)
First of all, let me thank Matt Querzoli for getting my attention.
He reached out — unprovoked, but very kindly — in a recent post of his saying that he missed my presence on Medium.
It got me thinking a little bit.
Where had I been? Why was I gone?
When I first started writing here back in November 2014, I did so with a mission to write a story everyday where I would discuss something I encountered in my life, give it a rating from 1-100, and continue to do so for at least a year. I made it just over halfway (~200 stories in ~200 days) before I decided to bow out due to a busier schedule.
Since then (June 2015)— and I did the math! — I’ve written 24 stories to a tune of roughly 1.5 articles per month. What a drop-off, right?
Sure, I’ve been able to get some bylines in the mean time at other publications (The Daily of the University of Washington, the Seattle Times, Seattle Met, among others), but I’ve been almost entirely absent from Medium, my first writing crush, if you will.
I mean, it was here on Medium that I established online relationships with multiple people I would now consider to be friends, or at the very least, colleagues. This was the platform that was (un)lucky enough to read my opinions on anything from paperweights to an interactive feature on the actual site itself, which is about how got a ton of helpful feedback from another post.
It was an exciting time for young Jack, who was just beginning his life of writing.
But I lost myself somewhere along the way. Setting an unrealistic goal of posting everyday while handling school and other matters of life was unsustainable. I went from waking up in the morning, bright-eyed with a topic to report on, to forcing myself to getting something — anything — published that day just to uphold my end of the bargain.
It lost a great deal of its joy.
I addressed that when I decided to stop writing for the summer, but I guess I always assumed I would eventually return to my daily posts with the same original excitement I set out with. Now, I’ve realized that probably won’t ever happen. At least, not in the same manner.
I’m still writing often, probably more than ever actually. Sure, I’m more focused with my topics (they are for professional publications, after all, not my own personal profile), but that means that I’m applying my interest in writing to stories that can affect others in a more substantial way than when I was writing about things like stoplights or Yik Yak.
I may not be publishing stories on innovational alternatives to burning fossil fuels or how to address the refugee crisis (although I have been reading plenty and would like to do something in that area), but I am honing my skills in more useful areas than I was prior. That’s part of why I’m going to college, right, to access a myriad of professional opportunities?
If not for those other publications sucking the majority of my writing energies from me, I wouldn’t have realized that sports writing is not the path for me. When I began studying journalism, that’s all I wanted to do. But as I got more involved in sports reporting in a variety of ways, the monotony became more apparent. My passion was fading. Since I began to notice that, I’ve still kept up reporting on my college’s athletics (I’m currently covering the UW football team, which is entertaining now that they’re nationally prominent) but I’ve also branched out to travel and outdoor writing. And I think I’ve fallen in love.
Regardless of how I end up feeling about travel writing after another year of it, I’m glad I’m taking chances with it. What’s life without a couple calculated risks here and there anyways?
But I also don’t want that to take me away from writing at its roots — at my roots. Writing, for me, was always meant to be a conversation. I don’t want to be rigid but I want be concise and taken seriously. That’s how I thought of it when I first started and I still firmly believe that. The only thing that’s changed between now and then, however, is that I’ve stopped putting my voice out into the world that is here on Medium.
Here, lacking any constraints from whatever publication I may end up working for, I am free to use whatever tone I want to speak my mind, for better or worse, whether it makes sense or not, whether it has any significance or not. It’s coming straight from the heart and it feels good.
Like the white pages here on Medium, on which we type our many thoughts and stories, it’s simple.
And simplicity is comfortable.
Anyways, without the story from Matt, I probably wouldn’t even have written this post. Sure, I would’ve kept subconsciously missing my presence on this awesome platform, but it would’ve gone without action and I would’ve likely stayed away even longer.
He wrote a story addressing some of his thoughts that contained nearly entirely positive remarks about people he probably has never met in person before. That’s tremendous! That doesn’t happen very often.
So, if not for any other reason, that’s why I’m going to make an ardent decision to get back on here and write more often. Even if it’s just a small four-word, snarky comment, I’m going to make the effort to write on Medium more regularly.
That’s right, Matt. I’m coming back to shove my face and markings in word form all over these Interwebs. You asked for it.
Feel free to hit the “recommend” button if you liked the post so that others are more likely to come across it and enjoy it as well.
Jack Russillo is a young writer. He’s currently working on a double major consisting of journalism and international studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has written for The Daily Newspaper, the Seattle Times, Seattle Met, among others. He also had his own daily blog, and writes about just about anything as long as he has a particular perspective or opinion on the topic.