Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Turn the M Upside Down

To me, writing is a lot like exercising. I may not necessarily enjoy the physical act of writing, but I do feel a huge sense of accomplishment once I’m done. It’s the satisfaction of having written that I find gratifying. The process of writing, by contrast, can be arduous and even grueling at times.

Just like when you’re in the middle of sit-ups or on mile four of a six mile run - neither of which, by the way, I’ve done since college - there is a sense of despair that can sneak into your thought process once you begin writing. “Should I keep going? Should I quit? Does it matter?” It’s a mental poison that clouds the vision of the goal and can make gravity feel a thousand times more powerful than it is.

Still, through it all, we press on; one more crunch, one more step, one more word.

I miss writing. I wish I had a routine by which I could sit down and just write every day. I am not sure that will happen anytime soon, but I do wish I could drive myself to write with more frequency. I casually call myself a ‘blogger’, yet one post a month does not a blogger make. Bloggers write with regularity. They are timely and current. They generate readership by providing new content. I’m not a blogger, I’m a glorified hack.

As I look back, however, as to why I haven’t written much lately, it turns out I actually have. I just haven’t written much for myself. Most of my recent writing has been within the scope of extracurricular projects. I’ve volunteered my time for a charity organization and event, and I’ve poured much of my imaginative process into that effort. That’s left little time and creative juice for my personal writing. As it turns out, though, that’s quite fine with me.

I’ve come to learn if there’s one thing more rewarding than writing for me it’s writing for others. Being a contributor to this charity effort has not only provided me with a new level of satisfaction as a writer, it has also opened doors and created new opportunities I’d never previously considered. As the title of this post suggests, it’s allowed for my writing to go from being about ‘me’ to being about ‘we’. It’s also served as a microcosm of what I want my life to be as a whole, where my actions are more about giving and less about taking, where my focus is more about seeing others than looking at myself.

Don’t get me wrong. I still aspire to one day make writing my day job, and I still get a thrill when I am able to produce a piece that provides me with the ego stroke I oftentimes crave. I still plan on writing that next short-novel, and I understand there is a certain aspect of ‘look at me’ in the process of marketing oneself as a wordsmith. That being said, I feel less of a rush to make all that happen and more a desire to lend a helping hand, even though that help may come one keystroke at a time.

Just like that upside-down ‘M’, a change in perspective can make all the difference.

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