On having no idea how to write anymore and choosing to try anyways

At some point, I stopped writing. I’d say I don’t understand why, but I do. I stopped writing because I no longer had to. After May, there no more column deadlines, no more papers due, even no more hours spent avoiding homework when I sometimes just started typing into a set-to-private blogger account.

Everything changed, and I didn’t bother— or wasn’t ready– to incorporate writing into the new way of things.

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When I think about blogging, or even journaling, I know there are plenty of words there, plenty of things could talk about. Thing is, I don’t always know what they are. I think about it, and just become overwhelmed by it. I feel like, since I haven’t written, chances are I won’t know my own voice anymore, and I’m terrified of the process of getting it back.

This has happened before. Just not right after graduating college and walking into a completely different life.

I know I want to write, I know I like to write, I know I feel clearer when I’ve been writing, but coming back to my long-neglected piece of internet always ends up feeling like an insurmountable task.

Which is unfortunate, because I could really use feeling clearer in this weird, settled-but-unsettled bit of just-post-grad life.

I have a lot to process as I carry on in the transition season, this releasing, decompressing season.

And it’s a learning season too — I finally have time for some of the big issues, time to read the books and the articles, time to have the conversations, or listen to them when I don’t feel ready to participate.

I’m decompressing from a tightly, roughly packed up season of high-stress academia, and at the same time taking in new information as quick as I can — and trying to process it all as best as I can.

It’s a lot.

But writing about it? Telling you about it? That’s intimidating. Processing — that means an unfinished product. Unfinished thoughts, not necessarily safe for public consumption.

I’m still stuck in this mindset of having a clean and careful persona, a Moody-appropriate visage. To the point where, after you read that sentence, I want to immediately tell you clean and careful and Moody appropriate my life actually is.

Which tells me that it might be time for me to learn that proclaiming to the world that I am not perfect (or Moody-student-appropriate) will not be the end of my world. Sharing half-formed ideas, if I acknowledge they’re half formed, might not immediately discredit me from anything and everything.

But I hesitate, and I wrestle with ideas of privacy, with the idea that my imperfections, even just my personal feelings, don’t actually need to be public domain. That my opinions are probably still far too ill-formed to see the light of day.

That maybe I could just blog about the books I read, or just about living in the city, or just about my clothes/makeup/hair. After all, plenty of people having thriving blogs that stick to any of those things (including reviews of nail polish. Did you know how many nail polish review blogs there are? A lot. I used to follow a couple. And really, dozens.). But the thing is, I could write about just any of those things, but I haven’t. I don’t seem to want to carry on unless I’m at least a little bit personal. (Or entertaining. I could be perfectly happy just writing funny things — but then I’d have to actually be that funny. Regularly. So that’s a no go.)

When it comes down to it, if I’m going to start writing regularly; I’m going to have to be a little bit self-centered. I’m going to have to write about me, because me is really about all I know about.

And I’m going to have to write about things I haven’t completely processed yet, things I don’t know everything about.

So how do you do that? How do you put your thoughts out there, even when you know they aren’t really ready to be analyzed, might not hold up under heavy scrutiny? How do you dare to just say things?

Suggestions are welcome. Advice is welcome.

But unless every single suggestion and piece of advice I get is, “No, don’t!,” and probably even if it is, I’m probably going to just try it anyways.

(And maybe at some point I’ll remember how on the freaking earth you finish a blog post without feeling ridiculous, because I mean REALLY. I have NO idea what I’m doing here. So, goodbye. Goodnight. Sweet dreams. Have a nice day.)

2 Replies to “On having no idea how to write anymore and choosing to try anyways”

  1. You’re an excellent writer, Jenna. And you obviously have a desire to put yourself out there, so do it! Don’t believe the lie that somehow it’s self-centered to pour so much into one’s own inner narrative. Self-reflexivity is a virtue, not a vice; and the world needs more people who take the time to engage in such disciplines. And that’s what it is: it’s a discipline. Maybe think of it in terms of an ascetic discipline: drawing yourself away into a time of meditation.

    And don’t worry about half-formed ideas. Everyone’s learning; we’re all in process. And sharing your ideas will lead to engaging dialogue with those who care to join the conversation, which furthers the inward dialectic of self-discovery. But having to justify your views is a good thing–not that you need to, but that it brings clarity and an evolution as you do it. The point, too, is not to be right–right? If that’s so, then you needn’t worry about changing some of your beliefs. In fact, unless you’re a fideist and nothing will ever convince you to change your mind about anything, you’re going to modify your views over time. So it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Your fellow interlocutors will be making the very same leap of faith that you are. It’s a leap of faith together, not alone.

    It seems that these two issues are central:
    Are you willing to let families, friends, and others know about that inner dialogue you’re having?
    Are you willing to allow yourself to consider unforeseen alternatives in your worldview?

    You say you’re reading new books and articles…well let’s here about them! What are you reading? But perhaps more importantly–why are you reading them? For many of my worldview changes, I sensed the direction I was going even before I got there, and “set myself up” for the changes I was ready to make (or at least to seriously consider). The benefit of blogging through it all is that you’ll have a number of conversation partners, all of whom will be reflecting on your posts from very different perspectives and situations. And perhaps some relationships will be tested, due to the honesty that is inherent in good writing. But any relationship worth holding onto will remain anyway.

    Need more reasons, or is that enough?

    Looking forward to future posts…in fact, why not advertise for them on the MBIH Facebook page? You know that the entire community there is supportive, well-read, and zany

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