Why This Took Me So Long
In June, while riding the high of college graduation and a job contract (yes, you ARE employable with an English degree), I mouthed off to my handful of Twitter followers: “I’m starting a blog!”
Now, it’s nearly Halloween and nothing is spookier than revisiting the six-plus unfinished drafts of utter garbage I’ve vomited onto Medium over the past few months. I hate them all. (This one isn’t much better. You’ve been warned. Turn back while you still can. 👻 ) But I’m haunted by the fact that I’ve published nothing of my own accord due to the most ‘gimmie’ excuse possible: work.
Work’s busy — ask any one of the millions (billions?) running the rat race. ‘9 to 5' really means ‘8:15ish to 6’ and a side-piece iPhone zapping your out-of-office brain with Slack notifications. However, it also means stable income and there’s a lot I can put up with for biweekly direct deposits.
Amidst the happy hours and cycling classes and other hip-and-fun urban socialite hubbub, I’ve accomplished close to nothing in the creative sector. Our posh top-floor open-concept space isn’t as comfortable as the tiny office where the newspaper staff inhaled pizza and screamed at each other for story ideas until 2 a.m. I miss the the days of writing tongue-in-cheek commentary on college culture — but they’re over.
Whine, whine, whine. Life’s different, and not necessarily in a bad way.
‘Professional’ writing can be stimulating. (Literally — just read Fear and Loathing!) The stakes are much higher when you’re writing for a client rather than your fellow snickering classmates. Though the endless edits and critiques are less hilarious than pissed-off administrators’ emails, and it’s unprofessional to sass your superiors. If someone doesn’t like something, you have to redo it — you can’t laugh them off and crack a beer, at least until ~close of business. ~
“But,” I think, feeling sorry for myself, “if I can crank out ghostwritten articles and press releases for subject matter way over my head, why can’t I write my own stuff for sh*t?”
No matter what you do for fun and what you do for work, the grind often seems to suck dry the dregs of your precious creative juices, which were so lovingly brewed, stirred, and fermented over the years by teachers, professors, friends, and good ole life experience. Everyone seems to have their own solution to this drought. Practice balance, moderation. Meditation, exercise, podcasts. More water, less alcohol. I too, am a sweat/endorphin junkie and eat plant-based-everything like a good millennial. Yet no amount of Marie Kondo or self-righteous influencers’ posts have ever redirected me to a prolific creative avenue. (I actually think this bars off a lot of weird creative places. Most good stories are borne in dangerous, ridiculous scenarios. This is why Barstool is a hit. Oh, and an aside: wouldn’t it have been fun to have writer’s block in the sixties or something, when liberation in all forms was encouraged and social media was likely only a concept of someone’s nightmarish trip?)
Perhaps writer’s block isn’t caused by work.
I didn’t write this for four months. There are two reasons why, and they don’t really have anything to do with my professional life:
— I didn’t want it badly enough.
— that little b*tch, self-consciousness.
I wanted to publish my own stuff so I could say I published my own stuff. That’s good motivation for a starter course, but there’s no red meat (or soy protein, sorry vegans). I had to get really hungry, really parched and starved for expression, before I’d write anything half-decent.
If it’s not buttoned-up, signed “Regards,” and spun out of approved language, words are scary to breathe into existence. I was scared you people would hate every syllable. But in the pointed words of my least favorite teacher, “self-consciousness is selfishness.” She may be right.
So! Here I am, baring my stream-of-(self)consciousness to you. Enough of it. It’s time to get to the interesting bits — shoot me a text/email/DM/pigeon with column ideas! What do you wanna read? Pop culture critiques? Music? Food? What does ‘cool’ mean in 2019? Why is everyone getting engaged? Isn’t the fanny pack trend so awful?
Oh, also: I’m using a pseudonym for professional reasons.