Writing is a lonely pursuit. It comes from within, and without external influence. A writer's life is a solitary one, and when it's not going well, there is no help from outside.
There is no more desolate feeling than sitting down to stare at a blank page with the knowledge that it is your job to fill it with your thoughts. It is at times like this when the writer's mind goes blank. The empty page staring back at you is no help. It glares at you with a singular challenge: “Go ahead,” it seems to say, “Fill me up with something so interesting, so compelling, that others will want to read what you have written.” A daunting challenge.
It is not enough to simply write a story. I am amused by much in life, and the goal is to translate that humor into something that others will think is funny or clever. I challenge you to try it now. Say something funny or clever. Seriously, I'm waiting. No can do, huh? You now have a brief glimpse into my predicament.
Rarely do I have something in mind when I sit down to write my blog. Those moments of inspiration are infrequent. Instead, I start to put down on paper things that are floating around in my head. More often than not, I start to write a story and I get stuck halfway through. This then becomes a draft, and I save it in a file appropriately labeled “Drafts.” Perhaps if I come back to it later the patron saint of writers will smite me with the cudgel of cleverness. As you can probably tell, that hasn't happened here.
Instead, I ramble on in a sort of stream-of-consciousness, hoping that this blog will find itself and finish with something useful that I can publish. This seldom happens. It's a lot like playing golf. I'm a terrible golfer. The reason I continue to play golf is that once in every round, I pick the right club and execute a perfect swing, and the ball does exactly what I intended it to do. This one singular event is enough to make me forget the agony of the other 100+ strokes that didn't do what they were intended to do. And so I resolve to give golf another try on another day and see if I can once again achieve that perfect fusion of action and intent. That is why I continue to write this blog. I must find that perfect confluence of beginning, middle, and end that creates a perfect story and will transport the reader into my world, if only for a few minutes.
Great writers have patience. To write five or six hundred pages of a story is an agonizing task that can take months, or even years. I don't have that patience. I need to start and finish quickly, before my mind moves me on to other things. This is why I have chosen the blog to express myself. Each story must be no longer than about 1,200 words, or the reader will lose interest and move on. It's the difference between directing a feature film and a commercial. I can do commercials, but I would fail miserably at creating a feature film
And so, to you dear reader, I dedicate this and other blogs. Truthfully, I don't write them for you; I write them for me. It's cathartic. It's relaxing, and it's satisfying. If I can occasionally write something you enjoy, I have achieved my purpose. When someone leaves a comment or writes me a quick e-mail, it gives me a feeling unlike any other. It changes that solitary endeavor into something meaningful. It means that I have touched you in some way. Perhaps you laughed. Maybe you cried a little. More likely, I may have made you smile and nod your head. If I've done any of those things, then I have done something worthwhile, and I thank you for briefly allowing me to enter your world for just a moment.
That is why writers write.