Thursday, 28 July 2011

Some thoughts on my own writing and why I do it

These days, I often think about what I'm doing with my life. More specifically, I often think about my writing. Obviously, I enjoy writing. That's why I set up this blog, so I could write about various things that interest me. That's why I write articles and blogs over at ESC Nation, so I can write about something that particularly interests me.

When I was younger, one thing I always wanted to be was a journalist. Clearly, that didn't work out. I didn't particularly pursue it. Part of me isn't really sure why. On the other hand, I can't imagine myself as some super journalist working for a national newspaper, under pressure of getting scoops and exclusives, with a demanding boss on top of me and the spectre of losing my job if I don't deliver the latest crime, celebrity or world events story first. Similarly, I don't see myself interviewing disgruntled local residents about the amount of dog poo on the pavement on the street outside their house (though sometimes I think it could be a lot of fun). Neither of those things is me, so I'm glad I didn't go down that road.

I do write a lot in my job as a fundraiser, composing application documents to try to convince funders that our project is worthwhile of their donation. The parallels of successful writing are evident in both applications and blogs and articles - a well-written article will engage the reader, draw them in and perhaps even make them laugh. A well-written application will hopefully allow the reader to identify with the beneficiary and the cause and convince them of its worth.

One thing that's therefore very important is the standard of my writing. That’s perhaps a problem I have, both at work and in my more recreational writing. It's not so much that I don't have the ideas; it's putting those ideas down on paper in an eloquent and engaging manner. One problem I often have is timing. When I'm at work, I often think of an article or blog entry I want to write, and start to formulate it in my head. When it comes time to write it down, I'm devoid of inspiration. Similarly, lying awake in bed I often think of great application ideas, but when I'm at work, they've gone from my head and it doesn't flow like it should.

I know I need to improve the standard of my personal writing if I'm going to make more of it. I’m enough of a realist to know that, the way it is now, I have no hope of taking it any further, if I decided I wanted to. And obviously, the best way to improve is to keep doing it, to practise. Clearly, I don't do that enough, as can be seen from the amount of content on this blog. And I know I should write more, and I do have the ideas, but that lack of inspiration hits all too often. Not even lack of inspiration necessarily, more a lack of motivation. I can't think how to phrase something succinctly, and so I give up. I lay about on the couch, put the TV or watch videos of kittens falling down on the internet. If I'm serious about this, I need to, well, get more serious. I need to get off my own backside. I need to care. I need to stop letting small setbacks get me down and frustrated.

And more than anything, I need to decide what I really want. And what I'm willing to do to get it.

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