Getting past the blog-block, part two: in which I grapple with my own writing neuroses

Last week I mused about how the hatchet job I did on my Bloglines account in late winter had stifled my blogging. Today, I’m focussing on a more personal reason why I sometimes struggle with blogging.

First, I should mention that I always feel like I’d like more time to write. Writing is something that I sometimes feel I must do just to stay alive. Given that I feel this way, I actually spend an embarrasingly small portion of my life writing.

I’m not entirely sure why this is, but I think I’m starting to understand — and the reason has a lot to do with why I find blogging hard.

As vital as writing feels to me, I actually find it quite painful. It’s not a bad kind of pain — not a nagging, toothache kind of pain. It’s more like the pain I feel when I’m on a strenuous hike (another pasttime that I do less and less of these days). It hurts but in a really good, “working through it” kind of way. Coming out on the other side is like struggling for breath on a mountain trail and then suddenly finding myself at the top. Realizing I’ve managed to put words together in a way that actually conveys the patterns of thought in my brain is sort of ridiculously satisfying. This process — this entire process — is what I think about when I think about writing.

As a result, I find it hard to do quick, spontaneous writing. I need writing to be hard and laboured. If it’s not, I feel like a fraud. If I read my words over and I sense their half-cooked, I think to myself that I’d rather just not put them out there.

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to turn out well-crafted essays each time I sit down to blog. And, many times, I get half-way through a blog post and then realize I simply don’t have the time or energy to address the topic at hand with what I feel is the appropriate rigor.

Of course, I recognize that I’m holding myself to an entirely different standard than anyone whose blog I read. I don’t expect everyone else’s blogs to be fully-cooked masterpieces. In fact, I like when their posts are spontaneous and off-the-cuff.

So, as I think about this, I realize that what I’m really struggling with is exposure. For me to blog more frequently and more effortlessly, I need to be comfortable with exposing those parts of my writing process that are unrefined and raw.

I’m not entirely sure how to go about getting to this comfort-level. Perhaps I need to take an old-school composition class approach: limit myself to ten minutes of writing and then just hit “Publish.”

Anyone got any other ideas?

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