Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Blogger muscles: use 'em or lose 'em

With all due respect to Leslie, blogging is nothing like riding a bicycle. After I haven't posted in a while, it's more like shooting a jumper when I haven't balled in years, my left hand on the piano, which has become completely useless after 10+ years of not playing (the right hand is only marginally more functional), or sex after a long dry spell. I know what I want to do, I know exactly what to do but the mechanics aren't quite there.

3 weeks ago, I went on blog vacation and gave up the driver's seat, partly because of circumstances and partly because I needed to refresh. The plan was, I'd spend the 3 weeks recharging and inspiring myself and I'd come back stronger than ever. But that hasn't happened - I'm sitting here trying to write, and... nothing (which I find deliciously ironic since I spent the past couple of nights pumping out the "stop worrying and just write" gospel in response to Heather's writer's block).

It's my personality too, I think - I'm constantly wracked with self doubt and the fear that, any day now, I will be exposed as a fraud. When the insecurity hit me in sports, it was easy to make it go away. I'd hit the weights a little harder, do a few extra wind sprints. But how do I respond as writer? Yeah, I guess the "just write" is the writing equivalent of a 2-mile run and in a sense, that's what I'm doing now. But beyond the crap writing, I don't see the tangible effects - swollen muscles, sore joints - that I would see with extra physical training.

It doesn't help that I'm not really sure what I want to be as a writer. I could write a verbose, over-intellectualized piece in the same vain as (if not remotely as good as) Klosterfuck's piece on Barry Bonds for ESPN (it's a fantastic read btw, and probably the only worthwhile column written on the whole Bonds affair) but I don't know if that's what I want to be writing. I'd love to be able to write the stuff The Phat Phree is churning out, but that's not my voice.

Plus, I'm not reading much of anything right now. Beyond a couple of sites, most of my RSS feeds have gone ignored (fear not, fellow bloggers, it's less a reflection on your writing than my general apathy towards everything). There's nothing out there that I want to respond to or a discussion I want to engage in.

I actually have a couple of ideas for posts in mind but I just haven't been to make anything out of them yet. Writing is essentially exercising the muscles in the brains, and I have to feed and train them before they're back to full fitness. It'll come back to me, I think, but it's just not there yet, whatever "it" is.

In a nutshell, here is what's going on with me - you remember that time, you ran into that girl you hung out with in college? You know, that girl who was a little crazy in a good way? And you went up to her room because, I don't know, you were both unattached and you just wanted something familiar sans strings attached. And you're making out with her, knowing what's going to happen next, but you're thinking "What the hell am I doing here? Do I really want to spend the night here?" And you go on to have emotionally unsatisfying sex because dammit, you have needs and maybe this will get you out of your funk, but it leaves you unhappier and more confused than before?

No? That hasn't happened? Yeah, I wish I didn't think that way.


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