Do you ever start writing something with a passion, purpose and/or intent but it totally turns into something completely different? I don’t think I have been doing this long enough to say that I have a style, but if I did I would say that my style is very fluid and almost meandering. Very few of my blogs end up remotely how I pictured them.
A lot of great writers go on to describe their writing styles and we all marvel at how easy it comes to them. I have been blessed for most of my life that anything I try to do, I am typically pretty good at it without a ton of effort. I have kind of been spoiled that way.
It’s also made me very lazy.
There are few things out there that haven’t come easy to me, and once they start to get difficult, I usually just give up. Not because I fear the struggle, I just don’t want to put the effort in.
The spoon theory has recently been described to me and I really feel like I can relate to it. If you are unfamiliar with the Spoon theory, Wikipedia explains like this;
The spoon theory is a disability metaphor (for a combination of ego depletion, fatigue, and other factors), a neologism used to explain the reduced amount of mental and physical energy available for activities of living and productive tasks that may result from disability or chronic illness. Spoons are a visual representation used as a unit of measure in order to quantify how much energy a person has throughout a given day. Each activity requires a given number of spoons, which will only be replaced as the person “recharges” through rest. A person who runs out of spoons has no choice but to rest until their spoons are replenished.
My fiancée has fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis so her joints always hurt. Some mornings getting out of bed takes up a lot of her spoons. We are working on finding alternate ways to try and help her with her pain, but it’s a very uphill climb.
Now I don’t relate my spoons to pain, but in relation to my depression.
Some days it takes more spoons than I have to get out of bed. So I can’t. Same applies to learning something new or completing a simple task. It takes a lot of effort to try some days, and because most things come quite easily to me, it’s almost in my nature now to not want to put in the effort for something I am not immediately good at.
School (in general) came easy to me. I would never say I am brilliant or a genius or anything, but I did very little extra work in school to achieve high marks. Same goes for most of my working life. I went to University but didn’t immediately enjoy it, so I never got past my first year. I would wander from job to job hoping to build a career from something that I would stumble in.
Wander may be a misleading term. When I start a job, I am all in. I was in the restaurant business for about 5 years, the manufacturing business for 6 years, the sales business for 11 years. It was always a quick progression for me regardless of the industry to get to either supervisory or management positions.
Not that they were jobs I wanted to do when I grew up, but things interest me and as soon as I found something to interest me, I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could about it and in turn I got really good at it- enough so to get promoted rapidly. Often.
“Oh you poor guy, how awful for you…” I’m not complaining about my successes; I am simply laying the groundwork to further my point. I can write. I enjoy writing. It comes easy to me. I start writing and words just keep flowing. I started this blog without an idea or topic aside from seeing where this one would go to prove a point. I feel bad for people with “writers block” or whatever creative blocks they stumble upon because it comes so easily for me to just keep writing. That being said, I find it extremely difficult to stay on topic.
What good is it to be able to write with ease if you are unable to stick to the subject/topic at hand?
Very soon after I started my blogging, I was approached by a website asking if I would write content for them. Wanting to be a freelance writer this seemed like an amazing opportunity. I have submitted 4 different articles and not a single one has been picked up because I cannot stick to topic. I have one right now that is into deep stages of editing and it MAY get published but it has been a TON of work that I wasn’t expecting.
The first article I submitted was a piece I did on the Notre Dame fire which they sent back to me telling me it was good for a personal blog but that my topic was too broad to be considered. The two after that were too “local” and I withdrew my 4th one because I was just unhappy with it. The one being considered now has changed so much that I had to go so far as to re-title it because the premise itself has completely changed. That’s not to say I am not proud of it- I am super grateful to the editors for the feedback and pushing me to be a better writer, but the fact that I wasn’t published instantly has almost caused me to give up on the website.
Not because it’s hard or it takes too many spoons, but simply because I didn’t rock it instantly.
Which is completely counter-intuitive to everything most of us have learned in life. All of our successes in life in hindsight always involve some form of learning curve or setbacks and I am sure this one will be no different, but here and now in the early days it feels like I am a complete failure and shouldn’t bother anymore.
I am in school right now in my 40’s to try and get a business degree so I can hopefully get a real career to take me to my retirement. I have gotten no lower than 94% on any of my exams and everything seems to be coming to me really easily- so I am genuinely worried about how I will react when things start getting more challenging. Will I lose interest? Will I drop out? Will I meet the challenge and push through?
I genuinely don’t know. Much like my writing. I literally have no idea where I will end up when I start writing, even when I start writing with a topic in mind. Is that the sign of a bad writer, or can that be called a writing style? No matter what happens going forward with the website, I hope I will keep writing.
Shortly after learning to play guitar I started writing my own music- lyrics and all. I had a handful of songs I was working on and was super proud of. There were a few friends around the world I trusted enough to send them to for feedback. One friend told me something that completely derailed my music writing. He told me that realistically nobody will ever hear a single song I write. That killed me.
I remember thinking to myself, “self, do I want to put effort into something that nobody will ever appreciate, or do I work on learning other people’s music so that at least the people who hear me play can appreciate what I play?” I haven’t written a song in years and I have no real desire to.
It’s a lot of effort with no reward and I would much rather use my spoons elsewhere.
Do I have a point to this blog? Do I need to? When I was younger a Greatest Hits album came out called “They Can’t All Be Zingers” and I LOVE that mantra! Not everything we do will be amazing- and we need to learn to be OK with that. I have posted about 6 blogs but I have more than three times as many written. Some I am just waiting to run by my fiancée for content and editing (we do that for each other), and others I simply open every day just to read and maybe make a few changes. Maybe it will look better tomorrow.
I remember a writer telling me years ago that nothing you write will ever really be finished, but you will get to a point where you are happy enough to let others read it. If I one day become an accomplished writer, I hope this blog will serve as inspiration to someone many years from now wondering what to do with all of the stuff they have written that nobody has read feeling that everything they are doing serves no purpose. Just keep writing. I think I am kind of like a hoarder that way- just because you can’t use it today doesn’t mean you won’t be able to some day.