When my brother and I were growing up, our mother often used different teaching maxims to shape our young minds.
“Haste makes waste.”
“Too much togetherness breeds contempt.”
“Cleanliness is next to godliness.”
“Herman, you BLEEP!”
One of the things I heard often as a reckless and free-spirited teenager was “you can do anything you want if you just put your mind to it.” I knew my mother was right, but there were many days when I just did not want to put my mind to it, whatever it might be. I could do my algebra homework if I put my mind to it, but it was so much easier to spend the time contemplating the Friday night football game, goofing around in study hall, or whether I’d ever bust out of Lisbon Falls and get to college. Why isolate variables and solve quadratic equations?
The other day, one of my friends said “it seems like you’ve run out of ideas for your blog.” In the back of my brain, I heard my mother’s voice saying “you could come up with more blog ideas if you just put your mind to it.”
It was eerily “Helen-istic!”
My friend was right. Lately, my blog posts have been a little less exciting; I’ve reposted old material on days when I’ve been uninspired. Ho hum, garlic, schmarlic, pumpkin, pumpkin, boo. But sticking to my blog schedule is part of my “writing routine,” boring or not. Entrepreneur Seth Godin wrote an inspirational essay about getting our ideas out there. He calls this process “shipping.” You know what Seth says?
“Ship often. Ship lousy stuff, but ship. Ship constantly.”
So you’re bored. Sometimes I’m bored too, but I promise you, this boredom is a heck of a lot better than reading about my love life.
Got it? Good. As Helen would say to maintain breakfast-table tranquility while the “morning people” got amped up in the pre-dawn hours “let’s not go there” or “cool it or else.”
I’m not making excuses, but part of the reason my blog has been boring is because I’ve been writing other things in other places. I write a monthly food column for the local paper and this month, I’m writing two feature stories for them as well. I’ve written press releases for things I’m passionate about, too. In my day job, I often write for the majority of my time on the clock. So lately, when it comes time to write the blog, I’m drained.
I’m sorry. The writing brain is on overload.
Sure, there are some existential struggles I’ve contemplated blogging about but they’re not cheerful. And there are some controversial topics I’d like to cover, too, but I hate discord. The time it would take sorting and sifting and rearranging words to “say what I mean, but not say it mean,” would take writing energy that I can’t seem to find.
I could write a book review about Marsha Hinton’s “Zombie Moose.” Yes, I’m going to do that on Monday when I share the 2016 Moxie Festival Theme.
I don’t think everyone understands the love, hate, and torture involved in putting words together in a craft called “writing.” I don’t understand it; I only know I must put words together in a certain way, move them around, and rearrange them some more. You the reader absorb the words in wonderment, boredom, or ambivalence. Some who have tried to write and failed might appreciate the writer’s torture, but like so many things in life, it’s a mystery. And yet, the world considers it a commodity, the words bought and sold to the lowest bidder.
All I know about any of it is that a writer is always writing.
I’ll put my mind to it and I’ll be back on Monday; like Mr. Rogers, I’ll have new ideas for you.
Have a lovely Halloweenie weekend. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by for some candy…