May 21, 2017
There’s no denying that the writing I’ve been doing here lately has been sub-par at best. And while that’s mostly due to laziness on my part, I feel like it’s worth saying that there are other reasons too.
For one, with all the moving stuff lately, I’ve been getting to bed late, which has resulted in a foggy, tired brain that doesn’t care as much about what I’m writing as it does about my head hitting the pillow and turning off the lights. This is lame and not fair to the poor people who actually take the time to read what I write every day. Sorry guys.
Excuse/reason #2 is that I generally choose not to write about really personal stuff, not even for my sake as much as for others’. I grew up in a kind of dysfunctional family with people who I like to believe are genuinely trying to do their best and I don’t feel like it’s fair for me to publicly broadcast my own personal views on various family situations since it’s not only my story to tell and, anyway, they haven’t given me their consent to share their personal stories with the internet. And in my own little family with my husband and children, I’m careful about what I share because, again, it’s not always or only my business and I don’t want to invade their privacy with my public writing. Same goes for my personal take on random conversations with people from church and whatnot. If it’s somebody else’s business, I try to let them keep it that way and not leave people feeling like their private lives are being exposed in ways they might not appreciate.
The other main thing I don’t always feel comfortable writing about is experiences and thoughts that are just too sacred to feel appropriate sharing publicly. It’s not that I’m against talking about my beliefs and experiences, it’s just that some things are better left said in my journal or to a friend in a personal conversation than on the internet.
So, taking those things into account, often what I’m left writing about is whatever happened to me that day (often boring) or whatever random thing I’ve been thinking about (often not more than a paragraph of coherent thought and/or not a fully formulated thought that’s worth writing down yet) or… I dunno, whatever else there is.
More than a few times lately I’ve wondered if I should change my goal from posting on my blog every day to just plain sitting down to write every day. Maybe it would be more meaningful to write something private that’s really personal than to write something public that’s really lame. Maybe it would be better. But I do still think there’s merit and value to this kind of writing. Not just for the sake of following through on a personal goal I set, but also because I think writing within certain parameters pushes me to write things I might not have otherwise.
Sometimes the written rambling can be valuable to my thought process. And often just knowing that I’ll need to sit down and write every day keeps me paying attention to my day and what, exactly, I might share. I find myself starting blog posts in my head a lot and, though I wish I could remember them later when I have the time to sit down, I think the mental exercise in and of itself is a valuable one. To recognize the things that stand out to me throughout the day. To mentally filter through things that I’d want to share or keep private. To see if I have enough to say about something to fill more than a couple sentences. There’s more to this goal than filling a blog post every day.
There’s more to writing than the words that end up on the paper.
And part of the value–perhaps most of the value in the drudgery of a year-long goal like this isn’t so much the end result of what’s down on paper, but the process of flexing my muscles and using my voice. I didn’t set the goal to end up with 365 pieces of writing. I did it to become a better writer. And there’s no way that’s going to happen if every single piece I write is brilliant and polished. Some of them are going to be terrible and embarrassing to read later. It’s the moving from awful writing to something that might be of value that marks the real growth. It’s the roller coaster of both smashed in together in the same week that’s proof of real, daily life.
Growth is not one of those moving walkways at the airport where we cooly step on at the beginning and easily step off at the end. It’s a jolted hill-climb of peaks and valleys and bumps and bruises that lead us to a destination–more often than not one other than what we had initially envisioned–where we finally catch our breath for a moment and realize that, while we’re nowhere near perfect yet, our legs aren’t quite as sore as they were when we started. And we recognize that it’s because we’re building muscle. That is growth.
So it’s growing I’m after. And with it comes the good and the probably-not-worth-reading. But I’m grateful for the process, for the monotony of days in single file that force me to keep on trying. There are days I think about stopping and giving up. And it’s always on those days when I think, “But what if I have something really worthwhile to say and I don’t because I’ve gotten out of the habit?” I can’t help feeling that there are things I’ve already said and more things to come that I’ll be glad to have written down.
And for all the days in between, well, that’s just the price you pay for building a habit.