I’ve noticed recently that all my blog posts have become more reliant on the photography than words. In some ways, I think it’s because of my desire to please others rather than myself—and we all know that photography makes readers happier than faced with paragraphs of text.
In another way, it might have also been laziness creeping into my blog; laziness that I’ve been experiencing ever since my brain approached comprehension that I was done, finished forever with college—No more 4-month-long stints for me!—that has rendered me incapable of stringing more than 500 hundred words together at one time and calling it a day. I mean, homework these days passes as a few exercises out of a workbook and a heavy reliance on Google translate.
It was too easy, lugging my camera around with me and documenting with photos rather than words the adventures that I’ve been having. Thinking of posts that I could create with the small stint up the mountain, churning as many posts out of each event. And with these posts, all I had to do was insert a few choice photos, some brief explanatory words (full sentences not required) and we were off! Was this so that I didn’t have to write too much every time or because that much happened on an excursion?
And then today, I realized that I was depriving myself of something that I didn’t miss until today. I miss the creative process; I miss the first drafts, the multiple edits, the carefully crafted sentences. I realized that I had it all wrong: if readers didn’t want to read all of this, it’s their choice to skim; by posting mostly photos, I’d been doing the skimming for my readers and depriving readers who are looking for something more exactly that.
These days, I fear for my mental capacity. For too long, I haven’t worked towards something—unless you count the French language as something I butt heads with every day. There have been no writing assignments, no long-term engagements that require me to focus for a certain period of time. Instead, my mind’s gotten lazy. I have ADD to the point that the only medium that can contain me is my computer, only because it is multiple mediums in one.
Of course, I don’t have to tell you why this is a bad thing. The inability to focus, the lack of production… these are all things that we inherently know are bad. But there’s another level of bad on top of that for me: the inability to string together common ideas and themes. After all, isn’t that the essence of writing other than, you know, being able to spell and use grammar correctly? Blog posts are sort of like mini essays. And essays, despite being a sequence of paragraphs that seem to have no connection with each other, do end up having an overall theme usually realized at the end that connects the dots.
Let me give you an example… right now. Ahem.
Recently, I’ve had to edit and advise a number of people on their college essays, one of which was my brother. His essays were artistically written, strongly worded, and had potential. What he lacked—immensely—was the ability to make it mean something. And here, while I was deconstructing his essay and self-esteem, I saw parallels between what my writing has become and his writing. He had all the ingredients for a perfect essay, he just didn’t know how to cook it. At the end you don’t get the “Ohh, this is what it means!” moment where you expect it because he doesn’t even build up to the “Ohh”.
Everyone can tell an event; it’s just a sequence of actions that occurred that cumulate in a result. Few can tell stories; a series of seemingly disjointed events that come together to convey an idea. Alone, these events aren’t necessarily meaningful, but when given a history of similar events, we can then use it to analyze why that pattern occurs. For example, a haircut is not a big deal. However, if a character feels depressed every time he/she gets a haircut, we can trace that story.
Maybe part of the reason that I haven’t been taking this completely seriously is because to me, blogs have always been a less formal medium of writing. They have never been very stylistic or artistically written, tending more towards speech. Have you noticed, though, how my writing gravitates towards the more formal? I think my writing persona and my IRL personas are completely different people, which is why I struggled so much with this as my less-formal medium. I had been thinking about starting a vlog but I think my face breaks when it’s in front of a camera.
Anyways, since I am supposed to be a writer and these blog posts have be my form of practice, it’s probably safe to say that I have not been practicing my craft. Some of the blame has been through linguistic regression—sometimes I can’t even string together English words in correct syntax—, and more of the blame has been through exhaustion.
I think for the first month, I’ve floated through existence here in Grenoble—I’ve been so focused on how to survive daily tasks that would take no time at all back in the states that I’ve forgotten to dedicate time towards self-development. And there’s a reason for this, too. Having to survive instead of naturally perform these mundane tasks takes a toll. In some ways, I need twice the energy to live here than I do back at home, especially when the mere thought of communicating ideas—which are sometimes more grunting, pointing, and blushing than actual words—to another human being behind a fast food counter makes me cringe. I’m sure that self-development naturally occurs through living this more-difficult life, but to really achieve progress is to actively pursue it.
I guess what I’m trying to say—what the theme of this post is—is to watch out for lengthier posts. I’m unleashing the author in me. I’ve decided to leave the ADD to blog readers instead of me. Go ahead, skim. I dare you.