Why I Write

What scares me?  The blank Word document.

Every morning I open up my laptop and scan Twitter, read through Google Reader, check out sports websites (ESPN, SI, Yahoo!, CBSSports, SB Nation, The Classical), and read a couple of news sites hoping I will find something that will spark a thread in my mind.  If I find something, I’ll start pulling at that thread and start writing about in a Word document.

The problem begins when nothing jumps out at me and says, “Write about me.”  That is where the interesting part of the day begins.  I open Word, crawl into my brain, find something rolling around in there, and start writing about it.

No one makes me do a blog post every morning.  I don’t get paid for it, but I do it anyway.  Not many people read it, but I do it anyway.  Why do I do it?  I’m getting my reps in first thing in the morning. You won’t get better if you don’t constantly practice.

It is always at least 500 words.  That equates to a one page Word document.  So every morning, I open a new Word document and try to fill that page with something that makes sense.  Sometimes I have been successful and written something I think was actually good.  Other times, it is 500 words of forced insight that lead to nowhere and nothing.  In other words crap.

So again, the question is why do I do it?  The only thing that has ever made me happy is sitting and putting words on paper.  I may not be good at it, but that doesn’t matter.  Writing words, constructing sentences, finishing a thought, and building a complete argument is fun.  Even if something I write in the morning doesn’t quite come off as I may have thought it would when I started writing doesn’t mean I didn’t learn something from it.  I reread everything I’ve written and see where the holes in the argument are and where the gaps in logic reside.  I recognize how this sentence or that sentence could have been constructed better or placed in a different paragraph to give it more power.

I still haven’t answered why I do this.  Again, there is no money in it.  There is little recognition if any.  Any athlete worth a crap will tell you the only way you get better is to practice.  To get in your reps.  You want a good jump shot?  Shoot every day.  You want to be a great free kick taker?  Go out and hit free kicks around fake walls every day.  Golf swings don’t magically appear as perfection.  It takes time on the course and at the range swinging over and over again.

That is why I write on this anonymous nondescript blog everyday hoping someone may read my thoughts and get something from them.  I’m practicing.  I’m trying to be better at this.  I’m trying to learn how to string words together, to construct sentences that lead to paragraphs that tell a complete story.  I’m thinking about form and style and all the things that make good narratives whether it is nonfiction or fiction.

Some of the things I write during the day end up on the blog that day; some will in the future when they are ready; and some will hopefully appear elsewhere.  In the meantime, I’m just going to keep practicing.

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