Wednesday, June 25, 2008

About writing vs. living

Writing well takes time, whether you're writing a blog or a news story or a novel or a grocery list. Because even a grocery list can be done well--spelled correctly, organized logically, formatted neatly.
My grocery lists, lately, and sadly, have been something short of great literature.
And my blog posts have been nothing short of, well, empty, which in my mind is better than being poorly written.
As an enthusiastic reader and hackneyed-writer, I love good writing, more than love, I just adore it. I want to jump inside good writing and just wallow around in it. I want to read it and reread it and enjoy it and admire it and be jealous of it and be smarter and better and fuller and different because of it.
When you're a reader who attempts to be a writer, too, you start to expect more out of your own writing. A depth of thought. A polished presentation. An intriguing beginning, a logical middle, a memorable ending. Dead-on description. Good grammar. Always keeping your reader in mind, with a lust to read more.
At least in the print days, when writing seemed ... harder.
Blogs, it seems to me, are the crack candy of writing--so easy to open, so easy to snort out words, so easy to fool yourself you're doing a good thing for yourself, or for "your writing," and even, heaven knows, for "your readers," all eight, God bless you, every one. Blogs let you pretend you're a better writer than you are, or a more serious writer, or a funnier one, or even, a more popular one.
And makes me wonder: is blogging just digital journalling? Public journalling, maybe? Or is it practice writing--practice for some writing more ... substantial? Or is it, indeed, an art form of and by itself?
I'm writing about writing because I've been kind of busy living, and consequently not writing about ... living.
And the reason I feel kind of guilty about it is, I was taught by writing teachers with this as their mantra:
Well crap! Before blogs, I went years not writing every day--my journals and sparse free lance work are inked/printed witnesses to that. But something about the accessibility of, or maybe public nature of, a blog makes me feel I owe it something more than what I gave my notebook-journal.
So that brings me here:
When I don't write (nearly) every day, on any of my blogs, I feel ... guilty. I feel guilty for not partaking of the crack candy of blogging--or for not having the discipline I should.
Maybe if I had some big excuse like "My dog died," or "I had a heart transplant," or "My house floated away in the flood that happened after the tornado, directly after the earthquake" I'd feel better.
Instead, it's "We went to a ballgame," and "We went to the lake," and also "I cleaned my entire house because it was so gross I almost died of untidiness."
Because I'm a grownup, I know that's okay. I'm not going to be wearing the cincture because I neglected writing for awhile.
But because I find myself not only lusting for reading, but also wanting to create good reading myself, I want to lose myself in writing the same way I lose myself in reading ... ah, is it guilt, then, or desire? I'm a little too tired to decide. But could anyone ask for better motivation to write? Guilt and desire?
Maybe I should start a new blog....

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