Sometimes I read through my own blog. I read through it with the same compulsiveness with which I attend to my linkedin profile, as if I have something to prove to myself by reacquainting my eyes over and over with my own work, with my accomplishments (or lack thereof, depending on the day), and most importantly, with my writing. It’s a solemn affair: there’s no internal self-congratulation involved, and any narcissism is intended to be productive. Well. Intended being the key word. It’s a little like staring at yourself naked in the mirror – your eyes assume a critical glaze, and you find yourself holding up an invisible checklist to tally against.
Haven’t seen that stretch mark before.
Going over your own writing is worse than appraising your own body. You could pick at words repeatedly and still not feel satisfied. You hit the edit button for the umpteenth time, and get stuck on a word. Blink. Blink. The cursor doesn’t mock so much as tries to prompt, and for that I can’t find it in me to harbor any resentment towards it.
Maybe it isn’t the word. Maybe the sentence is too long.
Chop it in half. Throw in a semi-colon. Maybe get rid of the first part of it entirely.
Command z. It’s not that either.
That’s when you realize it; lackluster, matte, it isn’t the toolbox, it’s the content. And that’s when the deflation strikes. Because what is a writer meant to be if not impactful? I don’t subscribe to the postmodern. To write is to reflect, and if you cannot reflect meaningfully, your writing has little substance. Writing is meant to inspire, invoke, elicit, prompt, writing is action, it is thought, writing is a verb.
Flowery words are nothing if the flowerbed doesn’t respond to the rays of the sun.
Profundity, to risk pretense, is what I’m looking for in my critical self-assessment before the mirror. I have a responsibility when I write to write positively: not to detract from, but to add to. Not to encourage face-value nods, but to discourage complacence: to spur discourse, never to satisfy; to start something, and to never suffer a full-stop.
Anyone can write. Anyone should write. And I refuse to let myself be complacent with my output. To write is to constantly want to improve.
Solid. I have a lot to learn.