Why I Suck At Writing
If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, it probably looks like I’ve given up on writing to a large extent and you’d be right. In 2017, as of this post, I’ve published 3 articles. In 2016, I published 35. And while many of those posts have been taken down because well, they sucked, I had something going for me then that I seem to have misplaced this year: certainty.
When I was just getting started with this whole internet blog and sharing ideas thing, I didn’t care if my writing was perfect. All I wanted to do was write. I wanted to express myself and provide value. My bag of fucks was empty. Excitement and naivety propelled me past poor grammar, immature ideas, and perfection. Writing itself was perfection.
Then I began getting better. Grammar improved. Ideas solidified. I started using similes like a hemorrhoid patient uses cream. I felt like I was finally beginning to tap into my potential as an artist. And I panicked. My writing couldn’t compete with more established blogs and writers. The weight of perfection bore down on me like a thousand-pound anvil and eventually crushed my spirits. I couldn’t consistently top my last piece. It would take hours to type a five-sentence introduction and I’d throw it away because it wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough.
I’m not trying to throw a pity party. Again, the bag of fucks is empty. But I will say that 2017 has been one of the toughest years of my life and it’s caused me to question a lot of things to the point of paralysis. Writing has been one of many casualties. So I’m starting over. Ground zero. Because while I may not have been writing for much of this year, I never lost my passion for the craft, the ideas, or the joy I receive engaging with my readers.
I was recently at a gym in Las Vegas where I overheard two athletes giving each other advice. One was going for a max-effort clean-and-jerk attempt and kept missing the lift. The other one told him: “Don’t live in the void of indecision. Commit and make it happen.” In all fairness, I’m paraphrasing and the athlete going for his lift never successfully completed it. But the statement, “don’t live in the void of indecision,” hit me square in the lip because the void is exactly where I’ve settled much of this year.
Committing to small decisions has been easy. Tweeting: easy. Going to the gym: easy. Working hard at my job: easy. But the big things, the things that could actually make a meaningful difference in my life have been largely tossed aside and replaced with numbing distractions to divert the existential pain. I’ve spent enough time feeling sorry for myself. Yes, life has been hard, but holding onto that pain only makes it harder. I’m tired of fantasizing about who I could be and ignoring where I’m at now. I’m done hating myself for my perceived inadequacies and holding onto the past like a rotten carcass mistaken for prime rib. I’m ready to grow, except this time I’m actually ready and not just bullshitting myself.
I’m aware I’m beginning to rant but look; life isn’t linear. Things change. We change. Every single day slowly but infallibly transitions to the next and there’s nothing we can do about it. I believe, deep down, we know what we should be spending our time doing. It may not be crystal clear, but a few breadcrumbs are on the floor. Each moment we spend in the void of indecision – wondering how something will play out, distracting ourselves with meaningless stimulation, engaging in behaviors incongruent to our core-being – we lose precious time that could be spent fully experiencing and engaging with this life.
The only certainty about life is that nothing is certain. We aren’t owed tomorrow, next week, or next year. A fucking meteor could fly into your bedroom while you’re furiously jerking off and *POOF* everything you currently know is gone. You’re not dumb, you already know this. But the idea lies dormant so often that we lose sight of the big picture and mistake ourselves for eternal beings. It’s reflected in our attitudes and behaviors. Because if we truly acknowledged the uncertainty of life and our fleeting time here, we would probably act differently.
We’d spend less time on social media and more time socializing. We’d dance, sing, run around without fear of social castration. We’d practice patience towards things that matter and accept when things are good enough. We’d live life as we want while accepting the rules of the game as they are. We’d be certain that we know nothing, but open to learn. We’d take our losses with dignity and our wins with humility. We’d hate less and love more. We’d make a conscious effort to feel alive.
This year, I’ve sucked at writing. I’ll be the first to admit it. The beautiful thing is that it doesn’t have to continue to be that way. I can choose to be commit to the certainty that everything is uncertain, so I might as well try anyway. And if you find yourself struggling with purpose, direction, motivation, whatever, you can choose to commit to try anyway too. The worst thing we can do is live in the void of indecision. It’s claimed enough passion, potential, and bags full of fucks for all of us.