Skip to content

Returning to Writing

Last December, I returned to my alma mater for its annual Silent Night basketball game. Since I graduated, the tradition has changed — a lot — but it brought back a host of memories: the joys of snowy Silent Nights past, the classes rooting me in education & the arts, the friends and dorm/floor life that told me so much about what community is (and is not), what my role(s) can and should be in community, and simply who I am.

I graduated Taylor University in the summer of 2010. In my final semester, I was completely and absolutely buried in projects (I felt the wrath of several advanced Art Department classes perfect-storming their projects upon me… I got what I deserved for an academically… slow freshman year). The pressures of that semester nearly drove me mad — I had no time. I had negative time to work with: corners were cut; sacrifices were made. Here’s an example of some of the thoughts I regularly had:

I could skip this 10 to 15 hour paper for Class X and take a 3% grade hit to finish my Class Y project, which accounts for a much larger 10% of my grade…

Every class, project, meeting, and activity was on the table for this kind of cut. There was a lot of tension in that time.

It was in that season of life that I stopped writing.

My writing history

Through most of my college years, I wrote and maintained a blog, posting twice a month or so. Writing was important to me. I loved crafting a post from various, disparate thoughts & sources. A piece of art connected to a poem connected to a recent experience I had. A song connected to a quote connected to something I had recently learned. On multiple occasions my words fell victim to my desire to sound intelligent / thoughtful / inspired — but overall, it was a vehicle for my thinking, a stage for synthesis that my frenetic, chaotic, distracted mind truly needs.

After the hell semester, I resumed writing, but only at a significantly reduced rate. My transition out of college did not go well (another post for another day, perhaps), and the frequency of my posts petered out over the next year.

That was six years ago. I have not written anything since then1. I’m pretty rusty.

One, two, three, four, five, six. 6. Six!

So, I’m back. 🚀

But I’m not sure “I’m back” is really the phrase to use. I don’t have an attentive audience like Arnold did when he delivered the cheesy line in Terminator 3 (although, hello there friends & family, leave a comment and say hello!). It’s a return to public writing, but at the same time something totally new. Allow me to explain…

My Guiding Paradox, and Other Goals for my Writing

My guiding paradox: to write for “no” audience while writing for all kinds of new audiences. If that sounds silly to you, I’m right there with you. It’s the tightrope I must walk if I want to get anywhere.

Writing for No Audience

I need to write for my own benefitI have to repeatedly reinforce and internalize this thought. Disparate, disconnected ideas need to be put together & pulled apart through words. Mental connections need to be made. And even if the process is less like paving a straight, level highway and more like carving into mountains to make with slow, winding switchbacks, I need to do this.

(You see? I start a paragraph with intent to explain myself and I literally end it with a twisted metaphor.)

The disconnected nature of my thoughts is one of my greatest weaknesses, whereas writing is one of my strengths (albeit atrophied & latent!). Writing helps my weaknesses. It helps me to stretch and grow, for the parts to surpass the whole.

That’s my first goal: Write. Write regularly. Get stuff out there. Even if I’m not happy with it. Even if it objectively sucks or isn’t complete. I feel my pride bristling as I write that (I have a post on “pride” cooking) — but my pride is not part of this goal. The goal is to write.

Writing for New Audiences

I need to share what I have learned publicly. Whether it’s related to web design/development, art, personal matters, books, music, whatever — I want to share what I’m learning. This is a necessary step in knowledge synthesis — but more than that I simply want to share. I want the knowledge to be out there, findable, public. If anything I write can help inspire or instruct someone else out there, then I’d be thrilled.

In the web design/development sphere, I’ll be writing a fair amount of semi-technical stuff. (Part of me wanted to make this blog just for this purpose, but I’ve decided to build this all-encompassing foundation first and see what comes next.) For years I have had the urge to get some of my ideas out there and published. I’m hoping to write a variety of tutorials, demonstrations, & case studies.

In Conclusion

If you made it this far… wow. You’re a champ. Or maybe you’re just bored. Either way, I wanted to share with you, the accomplished, this charge: if (when) I start flaking out on writing… if (when) you find me tired, worn out, stressed… point me to this post. You have my permission to use my words against me.

Thanks for reading. Time to start writing. I’ve got some rust to bust.

Footnotes

  1. I have written something like 10-20 thorough outlines for blog posts, if not complete posts — but have never published them. Many (but not all) are related to my professional work as a Front-end Web Developer / Designer. On (at least) three separate occasions, I started work on a new blog / personal site, but I never followed through on any of them. Also, I have written a small handful of prose & poetry I may choose to share or incorporate in to my work some day. But no promises for any of that. 🙂