It’s a funny thing to go looking for… for me at, least. I was trolling through Amazon’s site looking for a book on journal writing. Y’know… a book about this exact thing that I’m doing right here on this web page. A book about how to keep a collection of personal writing for, say, a third of your life and make it readable with a deliberate purpose.
Of course, most of what I found looked like complete rubbish.
The low down: The “how to write a journal” books are all about self-help therapy or finding a spiritual journey of some sort or another. And on the other side, “how to write a blog” books all take the approach that the only reason anyone would write a blog is to string together a bunch of honey-pot style articles to generate ad-revenue via traffic. All my looking and I never really found a good book on just how to write to tell your story. So, needless to say, I didn’t buy anything.
I’ve been thinking about this a little bit lately, mostly because I’ve reached this sort-of impasse on my writing here. You’d never notice if you’ve been reading my prolific vacation posts for the last week. But all that writing was part of a deliberate effort to break myself out of a bit of a funk.
The problem goes something like this: as the quality of writing increases, the quality of content should seemingly increase in parallel. In other words, I check back on my old crap, back from five or ten years ago, and it’s not much better than much of the drivel that is posted on Facebook these days: vague updates, links to other junk, or random opinions with no substance behind them. Then I look at the stuff I’ve written more recently, and the quality generally improves: articles, ideas fleshed out, or detailed expositions on concepts or opinions. The writing is improving. The content is improving. (Feel free to disagree…)
Now, I’m in a catch. Suddenly I sit down to write anything and… well… the bar is that much higher. I feel like I need to get something of substance to say here or not bother writing at all. So, I kick myself down and don’t write the trivial stuff. And more and more gets classified as trivial. So less and less gets written about. Does that make sense?
I went looking for some advice in book form: how to write a journal or a blog. But every bit of advice seems to be either from people trying to make a quick buck by writing on some topic, filling the web with semi-factual drivel or opinions, and attempting to monetize that with Google Ads, or from people looking to recover from addiction or trauma by spilling their guts to a private sheath of paper.
Neither are what I’m looking for: I want to read about how to write for the sake of telling your story. Why to write this? What to write about? What to do? What not to do? …make sense?
Or maybe, it just needs to be written. I’ll need to think about that some more. Perhaps with my years of blog-writing experience, I might have something to say. But, figuring out what that might be — what I’ve done right or what I’ve done wrong — that’s the tricky part.