Sometimes when you write, when you look at what you have written, and when you see how people respond, you are happy. Sometimes you look at it all and you are unhappy. Sometimes writing about that unhappiness helps to debug the problem.
I tend to write irrespective, but sometimes I get a little more grumpy than at other points. It’s not the best thing to be writing gnarly things, but this is kind of the working thoughts section of this site, so I can kind of excuse it.
Writing is a very public way of unpacking the thoughts and analysing the process of writing, and sometimes it can be painful looking at it and painful looking back on it. I get a lot written, and I think some of that comes from being very self aware of what is going on. Who doesn’t have insecurities about both their creative process, and the products of that creative process? If you stopped worrying about producing the ne plus ultra version of the work wouldn’t you just hit a block and not do anything else?
I don’t think I know any writer or painter or film maker or musician that has ever hit the point where they go, ah ha! I think that I have written the masterpiece to end all masterpieces. Some people think they have written something pretty damned good and the readers turn their nose up at it, like it were the worst piece of doggerel ever committed to paper.
There are things that i hate to do. Things I dislike. Things I must do whether or not I like them. Part of the process is to keep turning up and to keep trying – to keep banging your head against the proverbial wall. At some point either your skull gets caved in or you knock down that damned wall. Sometimes I know that I have knocked down the wall.
The weird thing is I have managed to hold onto the idea that no one is reading me while simultaneously looking at the stats climbing on a site, and the comments rolling in, so what the hell is that? It is listening to the internal saboteur – the arbiter of self doubt; your own personalised bullshit peddler. Learn to turn down the volume on that shit, and if there is even just one person who likes what you have written and that person is you – then listen to that voice instead. Not easy, but very necessary. I forget this sometimes.
Sometimes I read the things that I have written after attaining a distance, and getting a little bit of perspective, and I think wow, I really like this; I’d really like this if someone else was responsible for it, so the fact that I like it and I have the obstacle of having to get over the fact that I was involved should make me doubly proud.
I could keep all this in a diary, but hey – it might help someone else to read what I am going through, because sometimes I have some small success and I share that too. Failure isn’t failure if you use the process to learn by and build a better widget next time around. That is my aim – to keep improving, and keep building new and better widgets at every attempt. Sometimes I succeed.