It never fails that every six months or so, someone who knew me from my days as a journalism student prods me to get back into the field. Their arguments always run like this:
“You’re such a good writer. You should really consider it; it would be so easy for you.”
“But don’t you miss it? The research, the interviewing … creating the story?”
“Why’d you get a degree in it if you’re not going to use it?”
The truth is, I do miss it. I miss writing with a purpose. The only writing I do these days are blogs and even then, it’s only when I’m in turmoil. I would love to write about things that have little or nothing to do with me, my feelings, and my experiences.
And I really miss the writing process, especially the editing. That was always the part I enjoyed most: going back to a piece with fresh eyes, looking for some detail or insight I left out that the reader(s) wouldn’t get anywhere else.
But it’s not “easy” for me, at least not anymore. It’s taken me years to determine what I think a good writer should be, and it’s taking even longer for me to actually BE that (or fathom doing so). A good writer takes time to craft something. A good writer puts in more effort editing a piece than actually writing it. I’m not much different. I also think that the way I think makes it hard for me. I can spit out something, but the time and effort of going back and poring over every word choice, sentence structure, and detail provided is sometimes more than I can take. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to writing, and my life just doesn’t afford me that time right now.
I also realized that the one part about writing that I hated is something I’ve never been able to shake. I’m just not confident enough to let it out to people. It’s one thing to let strangers read what I’ve written. They don’t know my life, and I don’t feel beholden to their approval of me or my writing. It’s a totally different ball game when those same readers are people I know and care about. Or at least people whose opinion of my writing I value. Nothing is worse than laboring over a piece and getting a reaction from someone that makes you question whether you got them all wrong.
I can’t say with certainty that I’ll ever commit to writing on a regular basis again. I think I’m going to give it one good shot in the next few months and see how it feels. I hope it makes me feel better than it did the last time I wrote, though. Otherwise, I’ll probably just give up for good.