Nothing But Shitty First Drafts

hellooct14

Lately it’s been one shitty first draft after another.

It has been exactly 20 days since I last hit publish — longer than I’ve gone without blogging since day one. I’m up to nearly 20 unpublished drafts of varying lengths and have jotted down notes for at least a dozen other ideas.

It’s not that I haven’t been writing, but I’ve been getting about two-thirds of the way through writing a post only to realize that the incoherent, rambling mess I’ve written should clearly never see the light of day.

So what’s the deal?

20 days ago I published This Blog Post (the one about being a weirdo, in case you forgot because it’s been ACTUALLY FOREVER). And to be truthful, it felt like a pretty big deal to put that information out there in the Universe.

When I hit publish, I felt just barely within my vulnerability comfort zone … like I was bumping right up against the “feeling overexposed” edge, but not quite going over.

Basically it felt scary, but awesome.

But here’s the thing: working at the edge like that is exhilarating, but it’s not something you can sustain 24/7. Not every blog post will be a manifesto, not every insight will be radical, not every life change will be profound.

(For god’s sake, I regularly write about things like not having any clean yoga pants!)

Yet over the past 20 days I have struggled to write The Next Blog Post. Somehow nothing I came up with seemed big enough, important enough, meaty enough, well written enough to come next. I mean, what could possibly follow exposing some of the most sacred nooks and crannies of my heart? (Exactly. I have no idea either!)

So here I am writing about not being able to write again.

It’s not a manifesto. It’s not a radical insight about the meaning of life. It’s not even a pseudo-dramatic life change. It’s just me, sitting here casually putting pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard, as the case may be) and saying something.

And you know what, this post is certainly not mind-blowing, but it’s a (re)start and I’ll take it.

8 comments

  1. Kind of funny how telling such a deep truth is so freeing that it leaves a bit of an empty space where the truth used to sit, hiding. :) at least… For a little while. Nice to see you posting again!

  2. Welcome back! I usually get serious performance anxiety after I publish something that gets a ton of reads or gains me a bunch of new followers. In my head it goes something like, “crap, I’ve got 30 new people reading because I was witty and brilliant and talked about accidental orgasms and now I just want to post my workouts.” So I can relate. :)

  3. Robert Webster · · Reply

    Not every post need be an epic! Your fans have come to you because you voice something we have felt or dealt at one time or another. Most times you express it better to those of us who “…lead quiet lives of desparation…” Apologies to Henry David Thoreau!

  4. Yes! I wrote “the perfect song” in 2005. It took me about three years to write another one. 20 days is nothing, darlin’!

  5. @sunshine, nicole, robert & holly – you guys ROCK. much love!!

  6. I was recently in a similar place. Last week I posted “What Makes You Vulnerable?” and wrote about my recent wranglings with crippling depression. I was nervous about putting that post out there, but it thankfully got such an overwhelming response.

    I actually experienced the opposite of what you did: writing that post freed me to write about lighter stuff. It really was that awareness of depression that kept me back. Now that it’s out there, I can write the fun posts, like book reviews and artsy stuff, again.

    I hope you get to experience that (the freedom to write, not the depression!) again soon :)

    1. Michelle, thanks for this! I’m definitely feeling less blocked and craving writing again- now I just need to find more hours in the day!!! (PS- Really appreciated reading your blog post about depression. So much of what you had to say resonated with me and I’m looking forward to reading more of what you write… Whatever the topic! ;))

      1. You’re so welcome! Glad I could provide a little inspiration. And thanks also for your kind words about my depression post. I honestly was a bit worried as to how that would be received, but I’ve gotten such wonderful comments. And just the fact that it resonated with you and others makes it totally worth it :)

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