Blogging’s hard, mama.
One day, I want to talk about psychoanalysis. The next day, I want to talk self-deprecatingly about being fascinating. Then, it’s why snow reminds me of shit, and then it’s something about recording music. Although I’ve written about what I consider to be an unhealthy culture of trying to cultivate an author platform, and have repeatedly told myself, hey, man, it’s okay, you don’t have to try, author platforms are for dweebs anyway, I’m not always able to believe myself.
The truth is that these days I can’t even maintain a regular blog. I don’t know what this post is about, because, well, I don’t ever seem to write about anything consistently and it’s catching up with me. Part of my problem at the moment is that I’m not writing anything consistently at all. I’m angry at myself. No, even that’s not true, I’m not angry at myself. I’m just noticing this, with a little “Hmm.” So, forget building a platform, because the first thing I need to get working on is regular blogging. (How many bloggers must have said this to themselves before getting distracted by something else and disappearing forever? (see, I’m drawing attention to my self-awareness here, showing that although I’m a fool, at least I’m not that naive about how most blogs work (awesome stuff, Phil, triple-brackets, high-five)))
But what’s the point? I don’t even read other people’s blogs. And when I do, I don’t leave comments, or interact with the bloggers in any way. Blogs bore me the way the first two seasons of Breaking Bad bored me (and no, I haven’t watched further, because it was boring. Fuck you). My own blog posts bore me. I find my tone, which I would describe as natural, slightly aloof, irritatingly sincere in a kind of insincere way annoying. I don’t resent myself for adopting this tone, I just don’t care for it. And all the other tones also annoy me. I don’t care enough to find a better voice anymore.
That’s the problem, isn’t it, deep down? The problem is that whether I like it or not, I just don’t give enough of a shit about building an author platform, or about blogging, interacting with potential readers, finding people with common interests, writing blog posts that change peoples lives.
The other side of it is that I do care. Of course I care. I see value in the idea of regular blogging. For one thing, it makes me get out of my own head. It forces me to commit to a regular practice of self-expression, which nowadays would otherwise consist mainly of private scribbling, in the hope that some new book will emerge eventually.
So, on the one hand, I care about blogging, about creating some kind of regular blogging practice, and on the other hand, I really do not care enough. The primary evidence I have for not caring: the fact that I barely blog, barely think about it, and don’t respect other bloggers, I don’t make time for the whole blog thing, and most of my posts or half assed attempt at mixing sincerity with practical wisdom. They don’t lead anywhere. And still I care. The evidence for my caring, I guess, is: I’m still writing, I’m writing this very blog post.
So what’s it going to be? Am I going to try blogging properly, or not, and am I going to stick to the decision I make when I make it?
Maybe the secret is to stop trying to make my posts as polished and perfect as I would like. Maybe I ought to just spew words into my Dictaphone, and rearrange them to some kind of semi-final draft that still leaves a lot to be desired.
“Yes!” I can hear one wise old man sing. “At last he gets it!”
“Ugh, no no NO,” I hear another wise old man grumble, “that’s exactly the wrong way to look at it! Don’t get sloppy!”
Why the hell am I even worrying about this, Zen masters of blogging? Why am I sitting around in my apartment thinking about this, and not, say, the direction that my life is taking, or my girlfriend, or my friends’ girlfriends, or what Thomas Pynchon’s next novel might be like?
Fuck it. I’m going to try to update this blog, as a matter of principle and as a way of building my discipline, much more regularly. Nobody reads this shit anyway. This is convenient, because maybe, if I blog every other day for six months, instead of maybe once every three months, there will be some gold amid the shit, and I can then try to do more of the stuff that’s gold and less of the shit, and I’ll build a strong habit of blogging, so that when I truly have something to say, I’ll have a chance at finding readers who will put up with all the failed posts to find what they already know will be occasionally good posts.
Maybe this will mean censoring myself less. I censor myself a hell of a lot. Not in terms of the information that I divulge, but I sometimes find myself inspired, really inspired, to write something, and it’s going to be great, but because the first sentence doesn’t come out the way I had hoped it would when I was writing it in my head on the way to the computer, it just all kind of fizzles away. I start fussing over alternative ways to begin the piece, and I get exhausted and cry and stuff my face with cookies. Such is life, right? No, fuck you, internal critic who doesn’t even have a PhD.
When did I become such an amateur? I wasn’t like this before.
So, here’s an interesting thing. I used to have exactly zero problems with my internal critic. I never censored myself in the way that I do nowadays, worrying that sentences aren’t going the way they ought to. It used to be much easier for me to type 2,000 words out in one sitting then it is for me nowadays even to type up 200 words. And you know what changed, in my life, since then? I stopped taking my anxiety medication.
Nowadays I suffer from much less anxiety than I used to, and there’s no way that I’m ever going to be happy to go back to taking a truck’s worth of Ativan every day, which is something I did for years. I just don’t need it anymore. And it was a bitch to wean off that stuff. But, tragically for Western literature, my inspiration has dried up, and my ability to commit even to basic hack work, like typing out sentences even if they’re not that good, for the principle or profit of it, has dwindled.
When I drink, which isn’t very often because drinking makes me sad or foolish, the words flow better. It’s easier, and I’m happy to write. But that’s when I drink. And I don’t want to drink just because it makes writing easier. But if I were going to go to go down that path, I may as well jump to the heroin. After all nothing takes away your inhibitions like a bit of heroin, right?
Nope, drinking or doing drugs simply because that would make writing feel possible again is out of the question, as is badmouthing Shia LaBoeuf, who is a muse to many of us. Side note: if you send me heroin, that’s different, because I didn’t buy it, and I will thank you.
So, until I learn whether my deepest impulse is to give a shit or not to give a shit about blogging, I’m just going to have to try to blog regularly, much more regularly, until I have a better idea. Hopefully this will get me used to writing often and freely again. And if not, well, who gives a shit.