For some reason, everything that I write seems to overlap in some way. This makes me feel crazy, as I fear the reader will think I’m crazy. I’m afraid that anything that I really want to say will be misunderstood by the reader; if not due to the reader’s comprehension skills, then my own communication skills.
It is those times that I wish to write that I feel the most inadequate to do so. I’m proud of those things that I have completed. But when starting a new idea, or adding on to an old one, when the words aren’t just “pouring out” of me, I feel this great sense of anxiety and apprehension at what I believe this will mean for me as a writer and, *shudders*, as a reader.
I’m not happy with my current level of communication skill. I often struggle with finding the right word, which is devastating as a writer. It’s infuriating, depressing, and, quite simply, just maddening. The struggles that I have with writing lead me to “quit” on a regular basis. It doesn’t kill my desire to write, but it kills my desire to write in the moment. I have plenty of things that I could be writing. But I’m not happy with my ability to do so. The ideas that I have warrant more skill, and I just don’t have it right now. Which is painful to me. I wish I could write more fluently and prolifically, but if I wish for my writing to meet my ultimate standards, then I have a lot of fucking work ahead of me. And it makes me just want to quit.
I’m happy with my originality. And, in some ways, I’m happy with my work ethic. But the technical skills of organization and vocabulary are, in my opinion, two areas where I am severely lacking as a writer. Considering that I don’t read very much, considering that I wasn’t born with a natural desire to want to be organized, and considering the fact that I’ve always tried to avoid using an extensive vocabulary to keep from appearing to be a “know-it-all”, none of this is surprising to me. But it is becoming stale, and it is holding me back. So I need to get better.
As I’ve said, I feel insane as a writer. I think that, at least non-fiction writers, have certain “main ideas” that their life’s work works towards. Of course, they can branch off and write opinion pieces about specific, current events (or whatever the fuck they want to write about). But it seems to me that there is a great deal of non-fiction writers who have a “life’s work”: a specific subject that they write about and add upon for the many years that they write. So, of course, their pieces are going to overlap with one another. They are going to be writing about a specific topic within their discipline, then mention that in another piece about another specific topic. And I believe I do this as well. But due to my past histories of communication with, at the time, younger peers (as I was younger as well), I have a self-confidence issue regarding my communication skills; namely, that I’m repetitive, and that I’m crazy.
Now, I can’t honestly say that I am neither of those. Because I am quite repetitive. But, as I have said, I believe this is due in part to the fact that I wish to have a philosophical “life’s work”, and that a lot of my ideas intertwine into multiple pieces. And there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m crazy. That’s an unshakable fact, with all of the evidence needed to prove it already “out there” in existence somewhere. But despite the fact that I know these things about me, I haven’t accepted them yet. There is still a part of me that yearns for the social validation that I never received from my peers. There is the self-doubt introduced years ago that still lingers when it comes to my “crazy” imaginative side. And I think time is the best way to get over that and to just get back to fucking work.
As far as vocabulary is concerned, I do kind of enjoy speaking in “everyday man’s” language (and no, I don’t mean “mansplaining”, that cancer of a concept…). I do admire the fact that, despite the concepts involved in my pieces, I feel like I write in “common, everyday” language. I do want to improve upon my vocabulary, but I also want to write to the “common man”. I guess I’m saying that the “common man” is stupid, but there is a balance between writing a highly technical piece with specific language that only an expert in the topical field can understand, and writing in “more popular” vernacular. It’s a tightrope that can only be managed with lots and lots of fucking practice (which I’m not doing. I’m not saying that I’m even capable of writing a “highly technical piece”, but, when thinking of writing for “the common man”, I wonder how much my vocabulary should actually increase if I wish to fulfill my desire to write for “the common man”).
As far as the crazy part is concerned…that’s a little bit tougher to reconcile. I can only assume that I will be more confident as an “expressionist” as I get older, but it is hard to express myself when it feels like I’m unique to a degree that produces judgment from others. Of course, everyone is judged. But many people handle that better than I do. And, I believe, most of the ones that do handle it better than me are older than me (although there are obviously exceptions to the rule). So I can only hope that as I get older, I give less and less of a fuck.
And growing up being “crazy” leads one to believe that one doesn’t make sense. If I was capable of writing something like this when I was in, say, 4th grade, and I attempted to show it to my peers, they would’ve said I was crazy. That it didn’t make any sense. That there was no point to it. Now, deep down, I don’t think I’m a “schizophrenic” writer. I don’t think my writing is incomprehensible to everyone. I believe that there are at least some people out there that understand it without asking me “What did you mean?” But I also understand that, as with any writer, there will be readers who, upon reading short snippets of my work, will never wish to read me again, or think me crazy, etc. And sometimes, it’s hard to accept whether or not I’m actually crazy. I just want to write things that make sense, so the idea of actually being crazy (which I define as being “incoherent”) aggravates me. More than anything, I wish to be coherent. And if someone doesn’t understand what I’m writing, it bugs me. Once again, it could be the “reader’s” fault, or it could be my fault, but either way, it bugs me. And how do I, as a writer, decide whether to compromise on how I personally wish to feel about my writing (and, thus, how I actually write), and how a reader feels about my writing, particularly from a comprehension standpoint? If I’m happy with a piece that no one can understand, have I “succeeded” as a writer? Up to this point, I have believed “Yes.” But, of course, I desire more readers, and I can’t help but wonder if a “compromise” would help in that regard (but I think that a “compromise” leading to more readers wouldn’t ultimately make me happy).
Perhaps I do write the same thing over and over. Perhaps my language is a bit retarded and stale. But, with that being said, I still have this desire to write and say things. I almost wish that I didn’t. It causes me stress and anxiety when I think of the magnitude of things that I want to say, and not having the tools, in my opinion, to do them as well as I want to. And what that means for how I can acquire said tools (probably through fucking reading…sigh). And how much my head starts to hurt when I try to organize whatever it is that I’m fucking writing. And that sense of failure that I feel when I think about editing. I have a lot of fucking problems with writing. And I don’t care about readers: only expression and money. And I feel stuck, with no readers (i.e., no money), no improvement, and a general sense of anxiety regarding lunacy because of my topics and my execution skills.
Other than that, writing is great.
As I said, I know that reading would be a good way of improving my ability to write. But I just don’t want to. It’s complicated. I’ve stated my childhood history with reading in the past, but there’s something about it that turns me off. Part of it is the prospect of wasting my time reading a bad book. I want to maximize my time as much as possible, and the idea of starting to read a long book, and then, halfway through, feeling like I’ve wasted my time, isn’t worth taking the chance on reading it. I’m pretty much the antithesis of most avid readers (like my best friend), who say that those gems that you do discover make the whole process worthwhile. At least at the time of this writing, I completely disagree. I want to feel productive (i.e., creative), and reading a book that I don’t enjoy doesn’t make me feel creative (even if reading more often would help me improve as a writer).
So how can I improve as a writer if I don’t read? Good question. My answer is: just write. But goddamn, is it a daunting task when you don’t have the fucking tools to do so. It’s a catch-22. So I resort to writing only as a last resort: when everything else is boring me beyond belief, and only my creative endeavors can entertain me. Which almost makes me wish that I was bored more often, so that I would write more often. I guess I’m stupid and simple-minded, but I’m often content with listening to music, or watching comedy Youtube videos, and I don’t feel the need to “expand my mind” in the common sense. But, as I’ve stated before, I observe and learn constantly. I’m not stupid, even if I feel that way sometimes due to the fact that I don’t enjoy reading. And, of course, reading would help me out. But my life is about the expression of my own individual will, and feeling comfortable and confident with all of my decisions; and one of these decisions will be to not read as much as your “typical writer” does, for my own personal reasons.
Besides, creating comedy is more important to me than creating pieces of fiction or non-fiction, even if I enjoy all of them. That will be where the majority of my time is spent: creating comedy that no one consumes instead of creating other things that no one consumes…