Misconceptions

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So when I started this blog I thought, “Hey, I’ll just sit down and whip off articles. I’m a good writer, so it’ll be a breeze.”

As it turns out, it ain’t that easy. Furthermore, as it also turns out, I can’t tell a story worth a damn. If I do it ends up taking about twice as many words as I feel it ought since I seem to have a Robert Jordan-esque affinity for verbosity.

Misconception: writing is easy. It’s just talking but, ya know, visual.

Reality: Writing is hard. Revised: writing something I’d want to read is hard. Tossing off any sort of mindless random crap which maintains a tenuous link to grammar and syntax while perhaps nodding from time to time in the direction of a topic is child’s play.

I spent eight and a half years in college, during most of which I had to write several papers. Almost invariably these were written the night before they were due, the author fumbling in a haze of coffee and adrenaline. And almost as invariably the paper would receive high marks. What, in this set of experiences, is there to convince me that writing takes any effort at all, to even imply such a thing? Not very much, I’m here to say.

A side-effect of these experiences is that I came to feel that the best writing—indeed, even good art—was that which is spontaneous. Don’t think, just do. Good writers, good artists don’t think. They just place instrument to medium and magic happens. Ah, the Muse.

Now that I’ve spent over a year and a half running off at the keyboard about topics which are admitted drivel by design[1] I’m surprised to find that the whole Muse thing is a load of bunk. Good prose does not spring fully formed from one’s head. It requires a lot of thought and, unfortunately, critique to be able to craft a worthy essay of any length.

This may not be a news flash to many of you and nor was it to me. If nothing else I acknowledge the previously attained academic recogition of the fact. It was the internalization of this nugget which caused me some brief discomfort.

I’m pleased to say that this discomfort has passed though I’m still puzzling out what to do with my new found knowledge. It may result in the occasional post of something on which I’ve been working for longer than oh, say, the twenty minutes it’s taken me to pen this gem. Who knows? I’m currently keeping my options (and my eyes/mind) open and I’ll see what happens.

[1] Guidelines for the blog:

  1. Don’t talk about work
  2. Don’t talk about controversial things
  3. Don’t talk about issues, personal or otherwise

Hence “drivel by design.” Certainly ain’t so interesting when those topics are excluded.

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