I keep a few concurrent writing repository what-have-yous that skew to slightly different purposes—dream journal (recently restarted), daily journal, poetry and prose (handwritten and on the laptop)—and every few months I’m suddenly overcome with the urge to pare things down. Because, really, who needs to keep five journals, two of which are private for their only slightly more sensitive and embarrassing content?
The trouble frankly is that I like the physical act of writing as much as I like the thinking of writing. If I’m worked up I can put some words to paper and feel better. I guess this isn’t new territory but the effect is undeniable, even if it’s more or less gibberish I’m scribbling down. On the other hand, my relationship with formal writing exercises has been a little more loaded, specifically when introduced to the analytical essay in high school english class. For a logophile, it’s easy to get lost in the trees, easier still the branches, and completely forget the point of the assignment. I also used to be determined that I’d never write a rough draft, that it was somehow a failing if you couldn’t produce the perfect final version in one go. All that means is that I would spend many many many hours watching that ubiquitous blinking cursor searing itself into my retinae as I despaired over what to say and how to say it so that people would read my words and think “Hey, this person isn’t a dummy.” Maybe even go, “This person has interesting and unique ideas!”
Anyway, I’d like to think in those intervening years I learned to be a bit looser, careless, in fact, so that I could rid myself of the fear of writing something bad. Plus, and here’s the kicker, personal taste really determines everything. I don’t mean that as license to turn out a bunch of garbage into the world, but more as a way to ease up so that I can become a better more fluent writer if I give myself the space. There might be an audience who enjoys it but don’t sweat it if there isn’t. The hot weather makes it sweaty enough.