Why I Want to Write, and Why I Have Not

Yes, I did have to find a nice looking pen just for this picture.

For some time now I’ve been telling myself that I would write. When I graduated, and didn’t know what the hell to do with myself, I said that I would write. When I took my much-too part-time job and stopped looking for others, I said that it was so I could have time to write. Never mind the fact that I hadn’t really written anything of substance since my last essay for university, I was going to write!

For me, writing represents a way for me to move forward. It’s that thing that I think that I should be doing. My head gets full of these little speeches, fragments, and article ideas that never really go anywhere and I end up feeling clogged. I want to write out some of these tiny messes so that I don’t blow up. I need to get it out so that I don’t end up in pointless flame wars with my extended family on Facebook that make my uncles unfriend me (true story). I want to write so that I have something to do that isn’t binge watching Netflix or perfecting a Sim’s life (many of my Sims go on to become very prolific authors). I need to create something to convince myself that I’ve achieved anything at all.

In addition to these notably selfish reasons, I want to write on the off chance that I might have something to offer the world. Maybe I’m delusional, but I think that maybe my ideas might help it somehow, or at least offer a unique perspective. Is that arrogant?

So, why haven’t I?

Good question.

For one, I don’t actually feel that maybe my ideas might somehow help the world or anyone in it. Rationally, I’ve been able to come to that conclusion, but I really don’t feel it. I don’t feel like my words deserve to be read. I’ve been told that I’m a perfectionist, and I think that is part of it. I also don’t feel educated enough to have a worthwhile opinion on most things; however, as I often whisper to myself defeatedly as I offer tea samples in the middle of my local mall: “… I have a degree?” I do feel as if I owe that past-Kayle who worked on getting that degree the honour of its usage.

I am also a chronic and, may I say, an incredibly gifted procrastinator. I’ve been putting off writing for three years now! There’s no excuse too small that I cannot find a reason to do something later. Reading back on some journal entries, that excuse often revolves around my lack of a sleep schedule.

If I don’t wake up at six and have that self-help-writer-approved morning routine, I decide that the whole day is shot and will have to try again tomorrow.

I know how ridiculous this is, but it compels me nonetheless. I think that the lingering, and entirely unverified, depression in my life has given these excuses their power. It is difficult to believe you have a voice worth sharing when you don’t want to hear it yourself. It is difficult to make the effort of writing when it took you two hours to convince yourself to leave the bed.

In addition to this, I possess a monkey mind and can distract myself with almost anything: normally listing other things that I want to do, but also do not do. I want to do many things. I want to meditate, to work out, to paint, to YouTube, to reteach myself the piano, to garden, to cook and bake, and it goes on. Sometimes I really spiral out of control: like I’ll decide that I want to sew my own clothes; no, I want to design and sew my own clothes; no, I want to design and sew my own clothes made out of fabric I’ve custom printed; no, I want to make my own fabric; ect ad infinitum. I can do this with almost any reasonable hobby, mulling it over in my mind until it becomes something impossible.

Actually, I’ve done this to writing. I want to write, but more than that I want to read. I want to become a great reader. So when I last decided to write three years ago I tied it to this reading project idea. There’s this book called How To Read a Book by Mortimer Alder that teaches a method of reading for best understanding and self education, and in the back of this book there are easily hundreds of books listed that Alder believes should be chronologically read for the perfect liberal arts education. So my project was that I’d read these books, ideally one a week, and then blog about the whole process. Almost needless to say, I failed. In fact, I didn’t get through the first book. I think I slept in for a couple days and decided I wasn’t good enough to do it; basically, the one-two punch that can always bring that lingering depression out of hiding.

What now?

I start over.

Medium might be where I start to turn it all around! I have to express this small optimism before it gets swallowed whole, you see.

What will I write?

I’m thinking I’ll try not to formalize it too much. I’ll use this nice clean slate to get out anything I feel like. I definitely want a place in which I can respond to to the issues of the world in longer-than-comment form. I want to interact with other writers and put some of my ideas up against theirs, which Medium does make a bit easier with its social aspects.

I’ve also got some possibly unique views on virtue ethics that I might consider writing about if I feel confident enough to do so.

Unlike my very occasional journal entries, I don’t think I’ll focus too much on the state of my life here and why insomnia is bad for it. Or maybe I will.

Perhaps I’ll kick-start that reading project back up. My mind does turn to it fairly often. It would be a real achievement, which is what I think I might most need.

Maybe I’ll write about my misadventures in the kitchen.

Regardless, I will write.

(This really is a nice, clean slate)