What I hate about writing

DSCN8039.JPGI wrote in my journal this morning. Not a handwritten flower-covered lined paper book. No, I opened a Word doc and started typing. I find handwriting too slow and too painful, like many of your kids. Gosh, I can’t remember the last time I used handwriting for journaling.

Anyway, I was reading someone else’s blog this morning—a published someone, a someone with a book that’s popular right now, but who is also in my Facebook feed (I had to ask myself, “Are we friends? Have I met her?” I couldn’t remember). In any case, she’s clearly a writer. She has that “thing” that I associate with writerly writers—the cleverness, the snark, the sharing of personal experience in that candid, use-the-“f”-word-because-I’m-irreverent-and-it’s-2012 way. I do understand this.

I feel like I’ve been versions of that person. I remember taking breaks from journaling (I’ve kept a journal/diary since 4th grade). I would stop when my own writing nauseated me. I’d notice that I was more interested in the sound of my own voice than in the ideas. Or I’d notice that I was literally reading my writing back as I wrote, imagining how it would sound once I was dead and my fan-following had discovered this one unwritten journal and they were poring over my last insightful words. As those embarrassing images would slip into view, I’d clap the book closed and go on a journaling fast. It was a true fast—hard to stay with it, sneaking chances to write anyway (letters were always a great “diet cheat”).

This morning I felt fed up—with words, with thoughts, with being pushed to have new ideas or insights that pinged off someone else’s personal journey. So I wrote about it. Hypocrite. Here I am, doing the same danged thing. Writing about writing.

It’s like my number one pet peeve: song lyrics about songs. “I have to say I love you, in a song” or “This song’s for you,” or “So I wrote it down in a song.” Seriously. Sing a song… Don’t sing about singing a song.

Yet I’m writing about writing this morning.

And I just wanted to say that it’s okay with me if you’re not insightful when you write. I’d rather be bored than manipulated. I’d rather read about your day than about your cosmic revelation. In fact, I really really like reading about someone’s day and finding the take away for myself (you don’t need to tell me what I should take away). Sometimes it’s enough to sit next to someone else’s life around the Internet campfire and just be with it. Not every experience has to drip with meaning.

Sometimes there is no meaning. Sometimes one word in back of the other is all there is to write. Sometimes you don’t know what you mean until years later when you reread your old journals with horror and realize that you “knew” all along you were supposed to leave, but made excuses using contrived insight to make you stay.

What I hate about writing is that it teases you into believing your thoughts are important. They are. I say that to you every day here in Brave Writer. But they’re also astonishingly mundane… because we’re all the same essentially. Getting by on one word, one idea, one over-wrought insight at a time.

Have a good day. 🙂 (I included a photo with this post to cheer it up.)

2 Responses to “What I hate about writing”

  1. Susanne says:

    I guess I’m the opposite when it comes to journaling. I just led another journaling workshop this weekend for a Mother/Daughter Conference, and the main thing that people seemed to come away with (after doing a freewrite on one of four possible prompts) was that writing can show us what we didn’t know we knew. As I started freewriting with the group, I found out that I was really angry about something and at someone in particular. I had sublimated my anger because this person is in authority and is looked up to by many, so I had dismissed my feelings. But I didn’t realize how long standing and how profoundly angry I really was until I picked up my pen and wrote, following my heart with words across the page.

    And for me, I write with either a Waterman fountain pen or even a dip pen and bottled ink in a leatherbound journal, partially because I love old-fashioned writing instruments (and have Austenish delusions, LOL!), partially because it’s less painful than typing, and mostly because I’m incredible vain about my penwomanship. 😉 But writing this way brings me joy, no matter how vain that joy may be rooted, so why not? 😉

    These are my green-tea-sped mumblings on a bleary Tuesday morning when I should be homeschooling my children…. 😉

    -Susanne 🙂

  2. Julie Bogart says:

    I totally agree that journaling can tell you things you didn’t know about yourself or your thinking. Absolutely. Journaling is powerful.

    I think I was reacting more to writing for consumption and how that changes how you write. When my journaling becomes a performance for an invisible audience, sometimes it loses its authenticity. Still, like you, these are Tuesday ramblings as well. My thoughts shift and shape themselves to my hormones and caffeine levels as well. 🙂