In college, writing was easy because somebody (professor) and some outside unknown force (fear of failing) pushed me to sit down for hours at a time and crank out essay after essay. Because I was a “writer” or on my way to becoming one, this daily grind was easy. I could post up in a coffee shop for a few hours, write a ten page essay or personal short story on nearly any topic I was given. It was almost fun and funny in a way. Not the writing. No, that was always hard. But the mental game I played with myself. How long could I sit there and write? How many pages could I write for every cup of coffee? How long could I keep a mental stream of consciousness going without pausing to take a sip of coffee? This unorthodox strategy earned me A after A on college papers. In fact, in the four years of being an English major, I only ever received one B on an essay. A ten page research paper in my senior seminar class on the presence and usage of trees in three of Toni Morrision’s novels. And I wasn’t really committed. I was in the last semester of my senior year just waiting for my degree. Which I can say almost two years later means absolutely nothing. And the waiting just happened to take place in crowded bars with pool tables, loud music, and a whole lot of people blowing off a whole lot of steam. Nobody really wants to spend their time in a library when that appealing atmosphere was just right down the street.
I Might Be a “Bad” Writer
It leads me to the now. I graduated from college almost two years ago and I rarely write unless I feel the need to. I used to write for myself when I was under pressure, disturbed, upset, angry, and mad. The inspiration drawn from those negative feelings produced some pretty awesome and pessimistic stuff. I guess these feelings haven’t really popped up over the last couple years. I quit wallowing away in self pity the morning after a night out on the town. Eventually, it just didn’t happen anymore, hallelujah. Now, I only write to document and store information for the future. I write when I travel, or when I want to remember something that I’ll most likely forget. And if you’ve ever read documentation journals (mine) they’re pretty boring. Filled with cliche after cliche of aesthetic sunsets, crystal blue water, and the biggest trees in the world. There isn’t much excitement without a storyline.
I’m a bad writer for a few reasons. Its tough to dedicate myself to something I’m not exactly being pushed to do. Most of us are dedicated to our jobs because they pay the bills, okay maybe only some of us. We might be dedicated to our children, our pets, our significant others because we find their love and support comforting and necessary. But writing? Not quite. Writing doesn’t guarantee anything. It turns its back on its producer reminding her that she’s really not as good as she thinks she is. She misused a word here and a comma here. She should have used a semicolon, her structure is disorganized and unfocused. Her message is unclear and there are misplaced modifiers everywhere making even her sentences impossible to read. And just like that, the message is lost. So why should we write? I’m a bad writer because I’ve been hiding behind this fear of being perfect. The best writers are the ones who don’t care, who write anyway and screw up. Because in my ripe old age of 23, I’ve finally realized that there is not perfect way to do it. You just have to do it.