Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Writing in the First Person

Writing has always been a self-indulgent activity for me and by that, very much therapeutic. Whenever I am down or could use a lift in my spirits, I write something and anxiously anticipate positive reinforcement about what I just wrote. Miraculously, I almost always get what I intended…a compliment.

Writing for the most part is all about instant gratification. How else could you justify the facebook statuses and tweets? Those are both examples of writing (albeit short) that crave followership. People post updates to their facebooks and twitter accounts because they want people to respond back. Whether it’s a “like” or an actual comment, the more responses someone receives the greater the self-esteem.

Show me a writer who only writes for himself or herself and I’ll show you a person who doesn’t have any friends. Does that sound harsh? Maybe, but let’s be honest, if your going to put yourself out there by producing a blog, what’s the point if by doing so you don’t have any membership? All of us “bloggers” write for some kind of audience. If we didn’t, we’d just keep a private diary or a journal.

At an early age I understood that I was blessed with a gift. I haven’t necessarily honed it by any means but the fact that I’m still writing at age 29 is a good indication that I haven’t been “booed off stage.” Friends and family members have always encouraged me to continue to write; even when I have struggled as to what it is I should be writing.  I’ve been told that I am talented and that is enough for me to find something newsworthy to ramble about.

Looking back at my works, I can appreciate the types of writing I’ve done; research papers, work outlines, blog posts etc…The mere fact that I’ve published these sort of things by no means qualifies me as a writer, nor do I consider myself as such. That hesitation is along the same lines as why I never consider myself a “runner.” To me that term leads to committing myself to a group that I generally would not want to be associated with for varying reasons. When I talked to a “runner” about my refusal to categorize myself as such, he simply replied, “If you do the races, you’re a runner.” Touché.

This blogging experience has been as much about my own ego trip as it has been about the content by which I write about. All of the feedback that I’ve received has typically gone straight to my head and has only perpetuated me to write more. Sad isn’t it?

Regardless of whether one writes for applause and acclaim. Writing has always been and will continue to be very personal. It is not until I begin to punch the keys on this computer that I even know what I’m going to think next. Often, I’m not sure where I stand on a position until I start allowing my brain to run free as my nimble fingers try their best to keep up on the keyboard.

I don’t know if I would have continued to write if I knew that nobody else was reading. It has always been incomprehensible to me that writers would do it for the pure joy of writing. I could never understand a recluse like J.D. Salinger. It’s like a professional athlete who would compete regardless of whether there was a crowd of 30,000 screaming fans. Without fans, what’s the point of showmanship?

This blog is a prime example of how insecure I can be. Early on when I first started I was eager to gain followers. I remember sending out mass emails for people “READ MY BLOG!” When it was all said in done, within a year it was probably just my dad and my ex-girlfriend. Both read it not because there was brilliant content, but because they wanted to see what I was up to.

There are many things in my life that I do unselfishly for others. Writing is not one of them. This is perhaps one of the few areas in my life where I have allowed my ego to get the best of me. For a long time I've tried to deny that this blog is only about "me," but in all actuality it truly is. My best friend once gave me some of the best constructive criticism about this blog when I first started. He told me focus on posts about "me," that after all was what people were visiting this blog for.

Over four years on posting on this blog (more off than on), I have discovered that I still don't know what the theme is about. I want it to be about sharing my experiences of helping others, but sometimes just the mere fact that I'm writing seems to help myself. As ironic as that may sound, this post may be one of my most sincere and honest approaches at determining what it is that drives me to write in the first place. Until I sat down to write this post, I had not really given it much thought. But now, I'm getting a better idea.

I know how lonely it can be in the blogosphere. There are probably thousands like me who want to find an outlet to express themselves and would do just about anything for someone to hear what they have to say. Up until today I never followed a single one of my friend’s blogs. Sure, I’d read their posts from time to time, but the selfish writer in me was convinced that I only had room and time to follow one blog…that was my own. Today I added 5 other blogs and I did so if for no other reason that I could sympathize with how much of a struggle it is to work hard on something and feel as if nobody is listening.  Of course, I also added them with the hope that they’d follow me too.

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