As I sit here with my V8 considering what to write about for my very first blog post (I know, the lashes should be coming any minute now for being this late), I consider what I’ve done with the last forth of my life. That’s right, ¼ of my existence is already gone, and for what? Education. As Americans, we spend a approximately a quarter of our lives on preparing for our lives. An acquaintance of mine recently noted that the system is flawed, ridiculous, and should be only a few years of our life. I didn’t say much to oppose him, but I did mention something noble about how “life isn’t the destination, it’s the journey” and other things that make people roll their eyes when you post it on Facebook.
Okay, let’s get serious for a moment. This article focuses on the opportunity to publish a book or write for a magazine, which only a fraction of people actually ever attain. But how many people actually try? My playlist at the moment consists of several songs that firmly state how many people spend their life daydreaming, instead of going out and actually doing what they might love to do.
So why not write a book? Why not sit down and actually try putting words to paper, instead of dreaming up what you could have done now and later on when you don’t have the opportunity – or even worse, when it’s too late? My theory is that individuals are afraid. Not just afraid in the sense that they can’t accomplish it, but afraid to put themselves out on the line. For many, writing a book for the first time is like laying your soul bare. Submitting your work to public scrutiny is not just putting your heart on your sleeve; publishing for the public is pulling the shirt off, wrapping it up around your heart, and tossing it to the bath salt zombies. Critics can be harsh, especially with the anonymity of the internet.
I’d like to study more how our culture has sunken in on itself. Sunken in roughly defined as the individuals becoming their own private islands, instead of large intertwined communities. We may pretend that technology has brought us closer together, and in a way it has. But the actual, intimate connections have been lost, and in that the ability to truly appreciate the feedback we can get on our works of writing and anything we do. Instead of well thought out critiques on pieces that take a longer time to get to the author and create, anyone from anywhere can write anything about your work, which can be instantly received via the world wide web. We’ve all experienced the rude or short comments on the internet such as “flaming” that are discouraging no matter how many times you tell yourself it’s not important. Even at a ratio of 100 positive feedback to one negative, that one negative comment can send you careening down into a pit of anti-literature despair. Well, most people. After a certain amount of pushing yourself to lay your work bare, a person learns to work around those comments, and work with the ones that offer helpful advice. I believe the encouragement for people to write is faltering because of this fact, the knowledge that as soon as we publish a piece online or even in person, it’s immediately accessible. Instant gratification and instant criticism can both be achieved.
This is a hard trek to achieve, but hey, YOLO. A motto I don’t endorse at all, but has its good merits. The intent was right, the execution… not so much.
So, how do we solve this?
This is a post to simply encourage people to stop daydreaming about the things they “could” do, and give it a try. It’s like when you put two things behind your back and force yourself to pick one. Once you have to make a decision, you figure out what you really want. This is the same concept, applied to a grander scale. If you at least try to write a book and “get it out there,” you’ll realize either that it’s something you truly do want to accomplish, or if it was just a passing fancy and there’s something other you want to spend your time doing.