Steady As She Travels

Trying to regain my inspiration in Chicago. (That's not me though, that's a bird.)

As a writer and a traveler (and certainly more as a writer THAN a traveler), I have a bad tendency of over-thinking my blog posts, over-planning my writing, and generally becoming overwhelmed in the process. I constantly compile lists of “blog post ideas” and “story ideas” and “essay topics” and “future projects”, well, you get the point. But then, too much time passes and I completely let all of these once brilliant (or at least not too terribly mediocre anyway) ideas go to complete shit. Often times it’s because these are time sensitive writings (a review about an event I just attended or perhaps just a situation I completely changed my mind on), but other times I know I could easily dig in to my list of “Drafts” here on WordPress, brush up one of those unfinished pieces and finally write it out. And why not? Well, I guess probably because that would fall in to the category of work, which I obviously have a severe allergy to (Note to potential employers: I am joking! Seriously! Hire me and i’ll prove it? Sigh.)

Still, you don’t get better at something without practicing, without perfecting, without pushing. Writing, in this respect, is much like traveling. Not “Hey, let’s go for a guys weekend in Vegas” kind of traveling or “time to hit Milan for some shopping” traveling, since those concepts are completely foreign to me and even mentioning them leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Supermarket checkout romance novels kind of bad. Justin Bieber: First 2 Step Forever* bad. I’m talking about real travel. Going on adventures. Taking risks. Experiencing it every bit of the way. For me (and many other travelers I’m sure), it’s the entire trip that appeals to us. We enjoy getting to our destination when we have one, but everything in between is great and our destinations would not be so amazing and magnificent if it weren’t for the journey involved. We would be ill prepared for our destinations if our journeys didn’t make us grow and learn beforehand. And the longer it takes to arrive, the slower you travel toward it, the more you get to experience what’s currently around you! There’s a reason some choose to hitchhike, road trip, freight hop, bike tour, and even walk across the world rather than take a quick and simple plane ride. And if you lose your patience too soon or get overwhelmed thinking about how long the journey might take, it’s guaranteed you’ll miss out on all the great little things that accompany steady travel, including all the lessons learned as a result.

The same goes for writing. It’s easy to allow oneself to get bogged down by the idea of never completing a major work, to get agitated because you’re a few days past your self-imposed deadline, to get frustrated at all the work you want or need to do to the point you want to just say fuck it and throw your hands in the air (like you just dont care). If we all did this, sure there’d be some good times had but eventually there would be no writing and we’d never get anywhere.  I mean, shit, hasn’t anyone seen Idiocracy?!

So while I know that I might not be the world’s most consistent blogger/writer, I am going to try and begin making some real changes in my current traveling/writing habits and make writing my top priority and I challenge you all to do the same. I know I will never grow as a writer and person if I consistently allow myself to become paralyzed in thought when I don’t know what step to take next. When I’m in a different city or town and I don’t know which direction to go in, I might stop for a few minutes here and there to collect myself, to potentially find directions, to consult my compass or cellphone, but in the end, I know I need to keep going. This is certainly a new mantra to be adopted with writing as well. Even if it doesn’t turn out exactly the way I want it, I know I need to continue forward with writing.

Not to be hokey, but are you a writer reading this right now? If so, take the next 5 minutes and write something, write ANYTHING, and if you have a blog, link me to it! Or just leave a comment with your writing so I can see what you put out there as well. I’d love to see what my readers are coming up with. Planning is good but doing is definitely where it’s at. Time to be a little more proactive (but with less acne – score! another shout out to the Beebs!).



*Let’s see how many hits name dropping the Beebs gets me today! I wonder if it’ll beat the time I wrote about meeting James Franco. But no, seriously, I had no idea this kid wrote a book! Amazon’s nifty “search inside this book” led me to this quality find:

“‘It’s a big, big world. It’s easy to get lost in it…’

I love those lines in the lyrics. Sometimes I feel like that’s what everyone’s expecting. My world got very big, very fast, and a lot of people expect me to get lost in it.”

Yeah. …Yeah.


3 responses

  1. Hey what is all this? I’m seeing an alarming drift into profound introspection and writing-about-writing going on here. I also know that you’re in Chicago. Let’s hear about what you’re seeing and doing already! Come on, don’t hold out on us. There’s too much generalising going on here and not enough YOU. You’re what we want to read about!

    Sorry if it’s too early in the morning for this. When you suggested we chat you pretty much signed up to be harangued by me forever.

    • You’re right, you’re right, you’re right. And while my normal reaction upon reading this would normally be WAHHHHH GO AWAY, I am enjoying being called out and pressed to write so early in the… oh, wait, it’s the afternoon. The way I see this whole blogging bit (although technically i’ve been doing it for, shit, a bit over a decade) is that, at least as far as “travel writing” is concerned, I’m in a predicament not too different from yours, searching for my “accent,” perhaps more my voice (minus that you had one and I’m never quite so sure of mine). I’ve traveled before but I was never thinking about writing much about it. And you’re right in it sounding introspective since that’s what I do best, especially at 4am when this was written up hah. All that said, I appreciate you pushing me and I won’t disappoint.

      I’ll get back to those 2 blog entries ABOUT my actual travels and post them today, so get prepared for more reading than you bargained for!

  2. Just remember this goes both ways… feel free to smack me around when I post something that you think just ain’t doing what it should. It happens a lot.

    New rule: it’s never OK to publish after 1am. Always leave it for one final edit in the clarity of the morning. I’m imposing this rule on myself too.

    And don’t look for a voice. You already have one. It’s the content, not the style that’s an issue here. Looking forward to the real writing. Hit me with all you’ve got.

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