My writing hiatus had given me time to read old posts and take stock in my progress. The original purpose of this blog was to regain the ability to write tight creative prose. As I dissected each post, I realized the biggest problem wasn’t so much about finding the right action verb, or active tense or pithy adjective. Something else has been getting in the way.
The problem is one of the pitfalls of introspective writing: how to discuss thoughts and feelings without talking so much about oneself. I’m sure Dear Reader has encountered that writer whose navel gazing prose is so intense and relentless that it crosses the line between introspection and narcissism, leaving a bad taste. I want posts to be at least interesting, not insufferable.
This worry has led to increasing self-consciousness. How many “I’s” can I cut out and still make sense? Was the story overstated in the haste to emphasis a point? Did I understate something else? Is it organized and flowing or babbling? Do those words accurate reflect my thoughts? What’s the point to this?
Having made a pact with myself not to rescind a post once it’s published, I then lapse into a heap of insecurity the instant I click the button. Is it too personal? Is it too much? Will readers understand or is it simply more I, me and myself? Then I anxiously watch for replies and realize it’s not as bad as envisioned. Things didn’t blow up in my face; I avoided looking a fool. And then I start drafting another post and the agonizing starts again. I realize the self-consciousness and insecurity is caused by the vulnerability in revealing parts of myself, but it never gets any easier.
For these reasons, I’ve turned to closely reading blogger, Roger Ebert, the famous film critic. He still critiques movies but now writes about everything from soup to nuts. He’s a gifted writer with a simple elegant style and a penchant for just the right turn of phrase. I’m reading him for not only the technical, expressive aspects of writing, but also for how he deals with posts that have backfired on him. He treats these occasions as learning experiences, apologies, clarifies or corrects and then moves on. (For the creative side, I’m also reading Stephen King’s book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.)
So in essence I have to deal with the ongoing issues on the process of introspecive writing in addition to the techinical presentation and the topic being discussed. Had this dawned on me at the beginning, I might have thought better of the whole experiment. But I’m in for a penny, in for a pound, so the blog goes on.