Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Back In Flesh

Reports of this blog's death have been, as they say, greatly exaggerated.  It's been awhile, and I have to say the break was much-needed and more reinvigorating than I expected it would be, but the blog is back!

I very much appreciate your understanding of the need I had to put this away for a few weeks.  Been in one of those phases where I began to question myself as a writer.  I write, both for fun and for profit, but in the last few months of 2010 it felt really forced.  It wasn't fun anymore.  Every word I wrote felt less like an expression of self and more like an assignment.  The only thing that kept me going was doing the New Wave for the New Week entries here, and much as love to put those pieces together and I thrive on the feedback they generate, I must admit I had begun to burn out on them.  Perhaps, I thought, that series had run its course.  And, if NW4NW was done, was I done?  Could it be that, contrary to the cliched insistence of every self-professed writer that he or she has a book inside them just waiting to come out, I had fulfilled my potential through a series of snarky reviews of 30-year-old bands?  Had I said everything I wanted - needed - to say?

I joined a local writers group in hopes finding both support and inspiration; both were offered to me in greater quantities than I expected.  Yet I still lacked the fire - that feeling that I don't just want to write, but that I must write.  That drive had been gone for some time, and, in typical misguided fashion, I was seeking an external impetus to write.  I had forgotten the words of Bukowski:
So You Want to Be a Writer by Charles Bukowski
if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife

or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,

don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,

and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.
And so my promised return date for the blog, January 10, arrived...and it wasn't yet "truly time." So, I apologize to you, my readers, not for not being ready on the 10th, but for setting a date in the first place.  I still hadn't learned that it cannot be forced when I capriciously declared a specific day for my return.  I was listening not to my own internal muse, but to external guides who, despite their best intentions, can never tell me, me individually, me internally, how to do this.

You can look around the Internet and you'll find a thousand and one so-called "blogging experts" and "writing coaches" who will tell you that everything I do in this blog is wrong: I do not have a singular focused subject matter; I tend to blurt and post rather than carefully write, edit, and rewrite; my posts are too long; I don't do enough lists; blah, blah, blah.  If you spend much time in the online writing community at all, you are inundated with their "rules" for "proper" writing, especially on the Internet.  Schedule your posts! Make yourself accountable! Focus your subject matter! Write to a specific audience or a specific person! Well, I was never one for following rules, but when I found myself uninspired, I also found myself lured to those experts' siren song.  Predictably, I crashed on the craggy shoreline.

When I decided to free myself of the externally-imposed shackles I had locked myself into, represented in my world by that looming January 10th deadline, something happened.  Suddenly, I felt freedom.  I no longer had an "assignment," and the blog, rather than being something that demanded my time and energy, slowly returned to being a potential outlet for sharing what I enjoy.  I found myself waking up in the middle of the night with blog post ideas, and returned to leaving tablets around the house so I always have somewhere to jot those ideas down when I get them.  I returned to writing in a daily journal that is meant only for myself - something I haven't done in years, but was always, for me, fertile ground for planting those early germinations of ideas that need some time to develop before they are ready to be harvested into actual pieces ready for public consumption.  I returned to wanting to write because I want to write, not because I really ought to be writing.  I returned to writing for me, not for anyone else.   I returned to having that inner drive that Bukowski describes so well.

And so now, it is "truly time." And I am back.  And the blog is back.  And, I hope, you'll be back to read what I write.  But even if some of you decide not to come back, I will write.  After all, I am a writer.

Fitting song, and source of this post's title:

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1 comment:

  1. Welcome back! I think you would have enjoyed the writer's meeting this month. Someone else was struggling with making deadlines because her posts are more of a creative flow instead of a scheduled idea. Keep with the creative flow Bryan, it works better for you!