12 October 2014

In Which I Defy Neil Gaiman

I don't know what this is going to be about. But I do know that it is intended to be a blog post. Whether it actually ends up there is open for debate. With myself. (Here's the debate: "Yes it will!" "No, it won't!" The end.)

I have actual topics I'd like to write about. But they require thought. And effort. And doing. Whereas this, THIS, is just a stream of consciousness blog. But that's cool right? Like, let me just show you what's going on in my life, because that's SO important.

Hm. Why do I want a blog, if I am so fundamentally convinced that anything I write in it is piffle? Or codswallop, even? Why do I want to write blogs when I am sure no one would want to read them? Is it simple self doubt? Or do I have legitimate concerns about the medium? Does it even really matter? Because whatever I post is going to basically vanish into the ether of the internet.  Its true that everything on the internet never really goes away, but it also doesn't really go anywhere specific either. Its like slipping one handwritten page into one random library book. Its there. And totally save from ever being discovered. Except by robots. Wow, I got a lot more mileage out of that metaphor than I planned.

I remember reading somewhere that aspiring bloggers should avoid "meta" posts. Posts about posting. Blogs about blogging. No, "sorry I haven't updated this in a while," or, "Here's what I'm going to write about."  But I've also heard that the only way to learn anything, to practice anything, is to DO the thing. And if I mess around here in my text editor and write some half-assed thing that I know will never go anywhere, I won't save it, and it just disappears.  Maybe that is helpful, maybe that is practice.  But it doesn't feel like that.

In that video I linked to above, Neil Gaiman says that one very freeing thing about writing is that no one will ever see your first draft. You are totally free to write anything, to fail and suck and crash and burn, and I think that has a lot of merit. But, I also think that if no one is going to see it, why do it? Did it even happen? Maybe he feels this way because he knows, from experience, that first drafts written in secret become subsequent drafts written for the public. Well, I rarely get that far, so I don't have that assurance. I need to create a habit of writing ANYTHING. Literally anything. Just words. That are in some sort of order.  Trying to write words that tell a story is actually too advanced for me at this point. I'm not even joking. I need to start at the beginning. Before the beginning, even.   Words. Sentences. Fingers moving over keys. Training my hand to hold a pen.  I'm not (that) embarrassed by this. Marathon runners once didn't know how to tie their shoes.  This is me tying my shoes.  Or trying.

(FUN FACT: I am 31, and I don't tie my shoes like a normal human.  I had so much trouble learning that "normal" way of tying shoes, that some random adult in my life (a teacher, probably?) showed me the 'two bunny ear way'. I was able to handle that, and tie my shoes that way to this day. I can do it the "real" way, but I really do have to think about it.)

Anyway, I know that if I babbled along in this text editor for a while, and just filed it away, or threw it away, it wouldn't feel real.  It wouldn't feel like I did anything. There would be no stakes, and little reason for me to try again tomorrow. Neil Gaiman's advice is, perhaps, for when the stakes feel too high. But right now, for me at least, they feel too low.  Posting this to a blog that no one even knows exists isn't that much of a step up from burying it on my hard drive (or recycle bin) but its just enough to make me feel like I did something. And that I should do something again.

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