Pushing through the dip

I love writing. It’s a fascinating mental exercise. It forces you to think, and do so coherently. Often enough, you think that you have a good argument, it all makes sense in your head, and yet it’s so hard to write it down. You can get away with unstructured thoughts when talking, as it’s unstructured itself, but to put together logical sentences out of it, it’s a big challenge. But boy, I love challenges. It’s a powerful tool, too. You might have something to say — and I think I do — but it’s useless until you say it, and say it well. Good writing can be extremely persuasive and when in good hands, change a lot of people for the better.

Only problem is, I’m not good at it. I want to be, I’m trying to be, but I’m just not. Not even close. And that makes me uncomfortable, because I want to share my thoughts, but I don’t want to share work that’s shitty.

That’s a serious issue for any creative endeavor. It’s easy and fun to start, to mess around with a piece of code, to design your first website. But as you go further, it becomes tough, because your taste sharpens faster than your skill. There’s a gap. You can see that the work you do is just not good — and yet it’s the best you can do (for now). It seems to me, though, that it’s more painful with writing than, say, programming or design. Perhaps it’s because writing is a window into your mind and forces you to make yourself vulnerable. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve gotten good enough with the other two that I’m embarrassed to be a noob again.

Either way, the only way for me to get good at writing is to push through the dip and just write. In my previous attempts to blog, I didn’t. I had taste good enough to tell me that my writing is bad, but I didn’t have enough perseverance to swallow my pride and keep writing anyway. It’s painful, but it’s the only way.

And by the way, isn’t it interesting that it’s never a problem with talking? You never get a talker’s block. You just talk. And sure, not every sentence you utter is brilliant, but that doesn’t stop you from talking, right? You don’t always talk smart, but you never would if you never said anything. Now, writing is harder, but the same process applies.

So I’ve been writing for a while now, but not in the public — that was too scary and I didn’t want to give up quickly again. I’ve been writing for myself. I’ve been journaling, analyzing the world around me, the trends and processes in my industry, trying to predict the future or just trying to articulate the things I’ve learned. The topic didn’t really matter, nor did the quality. I just wrote whatever I felt like writing. I didn’t write it to share with others, after all, only to practice.

And that certainly didn’t make me good at writing, but it certainly made me much better. Good enough to make the itch to share my writing come back. Good enough for me to feel comfortable writing in public.

Published July 23, 2013. Last updated October 05, 2015. Send feedback.