I recently gave myself an unofficial goal of publishing a blog post every week.
Welp, I've already failed at that goal. And what do you do when you see that you're going to fail? That's right: You cheat.
So I'm going to share something I recorded on Racket. What is Racket? I'm early into exploring the platform, so I'm not really sure. My elevator pitch would be that it's like Medium but with audio (up to nine minutes worth).
“It's like putting together a puzzle.” That's how my buddy explained oil and gas abstracting. “Does that sound like something you'd be interested in?”
Yeah, I told him. I'll give it a shot. I still had no idea what “abstracting” and “chain of title” and “runsheet” and “mineral ownership report” meant, but it all sounded better than selling cars in the middle of the financial crisis.
I entered college knowing only that I wanted to write for a living.
I had accepted that I wasn't going to support myself on the paperback royalties of novels I would never write. Technical writing sounded unimaginative, and I'm not sure my university offered such a program anyway. Therefore, journalism seemed my only option, so I stepped onto campus as a journalism major. By the end of my first quarter, I had switched to Undecided, as I then had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but journalism was not part of those future plans. Fast forward to 2021, and I doubt anyone would say with a straight face that I made the wrong decision. But I can say with the straightest of faces that I made the right decision for the wrong reasons.
For over a week now, I've told myself that I need to write a new blog post. And for over a week now, I've failed to deliver. Few drafts get past the idea phase before they're abandoned. Interesting ideas, upon further inspection, quickly find their way into the recycle bin.
The situation is little better for my fiction writing. Perhaps the difference is that being part of a writing group with regular submission deadlines obligates me to push through and deliver something. Still, it hasn't been easy.
Perform a quick Google search for the criteria for calling yourself a writer, and you're likely to find any number of requirements. Do you have to be published before you can call yourself a writer? Are you a writer if you pump out genre fiction, or are you a writer only if your works are shelved in literary fiction? Are you a writer only if you obsess over your craft to the point that you neglect everything else in your life—your relationships, employment, and health and hygiene? Are you a writer only if you get paid for your work?
Over many moons now I've asked myself that existential question that every writer asks him or herself: “Why do I write?” Or maybe even more specifically, “Why am I writing about this?” And I've definitely been asking myself that question in regard to this blog and how it's evolved into something deeply personal, something which may turn some people off. Something which at times may concern me. Maybe even scare me a bit. Though hardly anyone reads this blog, it's out there to be found if anyone seeks it. These posts are now public record for anyone to see. This site makes me vulnerable in a way to which I am still adjusting.
After asking these questions about my motivations again and again, I think I've finally come up with an answer that works. After much soul searching, I've concluded that I'm writing to fight loneliness.