It's 5:53 pm on a Wednesday and I am having a beer. The scorching Miami weather permits me this vice, but more than that I feel like celebrating. I am working on something and it’s too good to satiate myself with water.
Sometimes being a creator is like having a compulsion and needing to wrangle it into submission. There have been multiple occasions my creative prowess has gotten the best of me and I’ve skipped my due diligence over the satisfaction of pressing live. Better done than perfect has been my rationale for such impatient zeal. It’s nearly impossible for me to hold an idea in until it has percolated for just the right amount of time. It literally gives me creative blue balls.
More challenging still is the urge not to create for someone else. There is a catch 22 to being a writer: your ego. Our right to express ourselves and the audacity to do so is intrinsically linked to our dire need to please everyone and be loved by all. Self expression becomes fame seeking and you can be carried away so quickly you won’t notice when one becomes the other.
I began this blog from the useful ego-- a self directed desire to create. Somewhere soon after its inception it turned into the latter ego for me, a need to be liked, acquiring clicks and views solely to stroke my sense of self worth. It doesn’t feel dirty to me anymore, though admittedly I cringe looking back on some of my earlier pieces written in haste to “up my post frequency” and “relate to the mass of online readers.”
I’m glad I went through it. The emerald journal, in the words of my dear friend Cam, remains a gem–– my gem. It’s necessary to be this naked in order to fully understand why I write, and that is for myself.
“Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.” – Kurt Vonnegut
The human mind is fickle. We forget a ton of shit. It’s why you have a friend who can’t help but get back together with her loser boyfriend. Her mind glosses over the firm conclusions she was having a day ago. It’s why we seem to be hit over and over again with the same life lesson only to remember that yes, we have indeed been here before. Repetition is one of the most practical ways to learn anything and have it stick.
Our goldfish minds need to review our truths over and over again with the same repetitious devotion a Christian reads the bible.
This is a living notebook with the lessons I’ve been learning as a writer. But this isn’t a project solely filled with how-to’s on the craft or career advice for newbie writers. Creating is one of the most human things we can do. These are my own truths that have helped immensely in the process of accepting who I am and loving that person unconditionally. It is these lessons that have helped me become a better writer because I am a more honest writer. Clarity is one of the most precious gifts an artist can have. William Zinsser in his classic writing book, On Writing Well, has an entire chapter dedicated to de-cluttering the mind. When we aren’t hung up on ourselves or any other part of our lives, we can become who we are meant to be.