Friday, August 1, 2014

When nothing is written

Rather inauspiciously, this blog turned 10 years old back in May. I made no mention of it. I make little mention of anything these days (see previous post). Which is a shame, because it would be nice if this 10-year journal of my life offered a good documentation of those years. But too often great, formative epochs have come and gone almost silently. My friend Annie once said that happiness writes in white. True, but so, too, debilitating sadness. The former explains why I didn't write any long essays about getting married to Jenn, and the latter explains why so many of the horrors of my first year in Cardiff are unkown to most people.

Crikey, that's a bleak way to start. My point is simply, hey, this blog is a decade old. And, boo, I've not been at all times as faithful to it as I would have liked.

I started this blog because I thought I was on the cusp of being a super-famous author. I had that week started work on my novel, The Way Forward, and was writing a weekly column for a network of websites that covered news in dozens of cities across the United States. I felt pretty damned special.

When one of the columns I wrote resulted in my being a guest on a radio programme in Washington, DC, I realised I had nothing in particular to shill on the show, so I quickly slapped together this site.

"It'll be a good thing to have once I have a book to sell," I told myself.

I now have two books to sell (with a third on the way), but I'm not sure the existence of my blog has had any impact. Maybe it has. I'm not sure; the question of my blog's value is not really the direction I'm headed in this post. Really, I'm just trying to segue cleanly from one writing-related topic to another. But I seem to be out of practice in the Tao of Slick Transition.

Where I was headed was a sort of conjunction of two threads of thought -- thoughts on writing and thoughts on blogging -- and how this connects to the seeming abandonment of the whole 183 days project that I had going for a while.

The idea of said project was to set myself the goal of becoming a "professional author" within six months, and keeping daily track of my progress. Ostensibly, I have not abandoned this goal. I have decided that blogging every day about it, though, may be a bad idea. Firstly, it is boring. Boring for anyone who reads this, and even more boring for me. Because as a writer, or someone claiming to be a writer, I feel the need to try to add flourish to everything I produce. Even when that thing is supposed to be a quick, first-draft, diary-style note.

I can't allow myself to simply write, "Tried to write some stuff today. Didn't," day after day after day. Sure, that's the truth, but some stupid part of me wants the telling of that experience to be "fresh" every time. So, I started to get hung up about it and often ended up writing nothing.

Additionally, there's that Dean Ambrose voice in my head going: "Hey, brother. Let's preserve the magic, OK?"

(Ambrose is a professional wrestler and he once used that line on an interviewer who was asking too much about future WWE plot lines and story arcs.)

In other words, how wise is it to be talking about trying to "sell" a book whilst actually trying to "sell" said book? I'm not sure. It's probably better not to tell anyone whether I'm struggling. So, yeah, I'll just take all that anxiety, put it in a tiny box, and store it away where no one can see. Everything will be fine.

It's an anxiety, though, that has created a sort of writer's block over the past I-don't-know-how-long -- something I have only this week started to try to work myself out of. I am reading more, I have set little goals. We'll see how it goes. Can you tell I'm depressed?

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