'The autonomous individual, striving to realize himself and prove his worth, has created all that is great in literature, art, music, science and technology. The autonomous individual, also, when he can neither realize himself nor justify his existence by his own efforts, is a breeding call of frustration, and the seed of the convulsions which shake our world to its foundations.' --Eric Hoffer

Writing Is Supposed to Be Personal

by Ethan Glover, Sat, Feb 18, 2017 - (Edited) Sat, Feb 18, 2017

I used to be a good, prolific writer. I don't know how or when I lost the ability and patience to sit down and write a page or two on my thoughts. Sometimes I find myself searching through web archives of things I wrote when I was a teenager. I know they wouldn't be of interest to me now. But I feel like by losing my journals, writings, and drawings, I lost part of myself. My cheesy teenage thoughts on Triond. My many blogs like Thorax232, Inside The Mind of Ethan, Love the Revolution, and even Anarchant. I once filled an entire notebook with a lot of funny comic strips in an evening. It was a tremendous stream of consciousness that I poured onto the page. I'll never be able to remember most of those comics. I'll never be able to replicate them. They're just gone. And I miss them.

From one perspective, it's impossible to save everything we do or create. We can't get caught up in nostalgia or we'll forget to look forward. But to me, I didn't just lose a few writings. I lost part of what makes me who I am. I had a passion for journaling. I made a lot of it public and it inspired a lot of other writing.

Today when I write, I fail for one of two reasons. I get caught up in Hemingway style editing that guts out all meaning and context from pieces. Or I get so deep in research, looking for every connection, that I find myself writing a subject encyclopedia. Oblivious to what I meant to write in the first place.

I want to get back to simple, raw writing. Throw some stuff together with pen and paper, then type it out correcting for any basic grammar rules. I feel like when I spend too much time editing, I lose the mindset that went into writing down the thought process. When I spend too much time researching, the same happens. The tone disappears. The writing becomes work rather than conversation.

I've long said that people should get off social media and start a blog. Write your thoughts in long form without distraction. That's the advantage blogs have over conversation. It's all you. Just keep writing until you have nothing else to say. Publish, share, and discuss.

If your friends have blogs, you can get their thoughts in their entirety. You get something they wrote while alone with their own mind. It provides the food for better discussion on the finer details afterward.

Maybe I've never been a good writer. I've only written a few good things. But I get a lot out of writing, journaling, and blogging. I've lost sight of what it means to me by trying to be a good writer. In that process, I stopped enjoying it. I want to get back to writing my raw consciousness rather than a processed, stripped down version. A version that not even I can relate to.