Saturday, January 17, 2009

What to Say

I've been emailing myself ideas to write about here whenever they occur to me, but for some reason I have had no desire to follow up on them. They sit in my email folder, remembered but ignored, because I just don't feel like writing. Or maybe they're too personal in nature and I don't necessarily feel like sharing them with others. Or perhaps I don't have the energy or attention span right now to delve deeply enough into the subjects to write something worthwhile.

I've been told that I write well, and I used to love to do it as a past time when I was younger. But over the last 10 years or so, I find writing to be a chore and not something that I really enjoy anymore. It's kind of frustrating to know that you have potential in something but to have no desire to practice it.

Right now, as I sit here, I have several things that I want to write that tie into this theme and would allow me to express more fully and coherently my thoughts about this, but I can't figure out how to say them! And that right there is probably one of the biggest reasons I don't write more here. I'm not a good blogger. Blogging is supposed to be off the cuff writing, just say what you're thinking, but I have a hard time doing that because I want cohesion. I want my words and ideas to make sense to anyone else reading them, and it takes me a long time to arrange and rearrange those words before I'm satisfied with them. OK, so I'm writing somewhat freely right now, and I'll just go with it and explain my other reasons for not wanting to write.

The first is something I touched on in the first paragraph, which is limited attention span. I recall reading an article (in the Atlantic Monthly I think) called "Is Google Making Us Stoopid?". The gist of the article is that the internet is structured in a way that makes us jump around, clicking here and there, reading bits and pieces of things but never delving too deeply into any one story or subject. Two examples that come to mind are Wikipedia and the Huffington Post. It is impossible for me to get through a Wikipedia article without clicking on one or more of the numerous links to other pages contained within the text. And once I've done so, there's about a 25% chance that I'll actually return back to the original article I was reading. When I visit the Huffington Post site, I'm continually distracted from the article that I'm reading by the pictures and headlines for other articles that are framed very visibly all around the current article. My point here is that I think the short attention span phenomenon translates into other areas as well (at least for me) and I often find it difficult to follow up on a project to it's completion. As I wrote this last sentence, the thought occured to me that a number of people reading this might comment that perhaps I have adult ADD, and I found myself suddenly wanting to explore the idea that all these adult ADD diagnoses might be tied into this "sound bite" society, but then I'd be going off topic, wouldn't I? Point made.

The other reason that I don't want to write is because I know that whatever I have to say, someone else has already said it and said it better than I. So what's the point? Well, I guess I have to first decide whether I'm writing for me or for others. If I'm writing for me, then does it really matter? You know, I think it does. It's similar to cooking a meal for myself. The final product doesn't have to be the best I've ever tasted, but it needs to be good enough, even if it's only me eating it. And I guess I feel the same about writing. If the final product sucks and isn't enjoyable to read, even just by me, why bother? And I think that's a big reason that I don't write more often. For me, it takes a lot of effort to produce something worthwhile, and frankly, it wears me out.

So screw this, I'm going to the gym. Out!

No comments: