After weeks without my treasured notebook (my security blanket, my rabbit’s foot), I now have no excuse for not writing more. I get discouraged whenever my daily post or posts merely consist of either audio clips or video clips. My ideal is a homegrown, thoughtful word molding, but those types of posts have not been coming lately.
Instead, I have been doing a lot of organizing, cleaning, and attempts at starting new projects around the house. There hasn’t been a lot of music playing in the background during these times. Instead, the TV is tuned to MSNBC or CNN and I am getting my talking-heads political fix while doing something else. As a result, when I do try to write something original, I can’t completely extricate the day’s talking points from my head.
It’s not that my language or reasoning skills aren’t fundamentally strong.1 Quite to the contrary, I believe that I am a man who can write an entire post about swimming in salt water, and never use the word “briny” except when I’m talking about a taste sensation in my mouth.2 Additionally, I seek consistency in my writing, because I know that the people who read this blog prefer a writer who doesn’t talk one way when focused on topics in Birmingham and another way when writing about San Diego or Cambridge.3
I ran into this stalling-out problem in the past, when I was a retail business owner. Maintaining momentum demands a refreshing of one’s course, a continuous reassessment of the pros and cons of the situation. It is something that, even though the input of others can be useful, can be done most effectively as an independent agent. Eventually, in that retail business mileau, I had to tell the community, “Thanks, but no thanks,” for that financial black hole to nowhere. If I really wanted a financial black hole, I’d dig it myself.4 So, I ended up without a retail storefront and an excess of already-paid inventory that I could never sell in my home town. What to do? I supposed I could put it on eBay and try to sell it for a profit.5
I also did seek the advice of someone widely recognized for his business acumen. I had many questions, but this gentleman was more intent on proselytizing to me about his newly-hatched economic theories than attempting to help me brainstorm some productive solutions to my problem. He earned the benefit of three hours of my time, just for agreeing to meet with me. Usually, I am pretty quick with the bullshit-o-meter, but listening to him speak, it was easy to forget that this was a man who had authored two books about the topic but had never run a single successful company or retail operation.6 When the cloud of his rhetoric had passed, when the roar of the academic plaudits faded away, when the conference room lights went out, and after those spectral styrofoam Greek collegiate columns had been hauled back to some imaginary prop room – what exactly was this man’s advice?7
Whatever it was, it was worthless. That guy is crazy5, I remember thinking.
Back at “square one” I landed, feathers ruffled8, with the gnawing realization that I was going to have to work this one out for myself – a concept that I was for before I was against it9, before I ridiculously tried to get someone else to tell me what to do. So, as when I soldiered on past uninspired attempts at reform8 in that business situation, I’ve found that when I get similarly “stuck” in my attempts at writing good cogent posts, the best approach is to just knuckle down and do it.
The lesson? I guess that a blog writer is sort of like a “retail business owner,” except that you have fewer actual financial responsibilities.10 That reality, alone, should make it an easier job.
1 John McCain (15 September 2008): You know, there’s been tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and Wall Street and it is – people are frightened by these events. Our economy, I think, still the fundamentals of our economy are strong. But these are very, very difficult time. And I promise you, we will never put America in this position again. We will clean up Wall Street. We will reform government.
2 Sarah Palin (3 September 2008): This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word “victory” except when he’s talking about his own campaign.
3 Sarah Palin (3 September 2008): We tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.
4 Sarah Palin (29 August 2008): I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress – I told Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks,” on that Bridge to Nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, I said we’d build it ourselves.
5 John McCain (5 September 2008): You know what I enjoyed the most? She took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay – and made a profit. Have you had a chance to meet her wonderful family? Aren’t they incredible, aren’t they incredible? And could I mention her husband, Todd. That guy is crazy!
6 Sarah Palin (3 September 2008): But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform – not even in the state Senate.
7 Sarah Palin (3 September 2008): We’ve all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out and those styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot, what exactly is our opponents plan?
8 Sarah Palin (18 September 2008): That’s the reform that we’ve got to get in there and make sure that this happens. We’ve got to put government and these regulatory agencies back on the side of the people. It’s what John McCain and I – we have very consistent track records showing that we’re capable and we’re willing to do this. Ruffling feathers along the way, but it’s what we’re expected to do and what we’re promising to do.
9 [citations too numerous to mention]
10 Sarah Palin (3 September 2008): Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities.