From the Braver Institute
For five years now I have been writing this column every week and in that time it would seem that a little of both those statements rings true. Writing this column has been a lot of fun at times, but more often than not I don’t know what I am doing.
It was never my intention to be a writer. Many, if not most of you, are probably thinking “Don’t worry about it Braver, you aren’t a writer.” Fair enough, and I am inclined to agree. The only qualifications I have in this area are four years of writing related classes in high school, the halfdecade I have spent at this desk, attention deficit disorder and an overactive imagination. The latter two items are probably my strongest credentials.
Churning out a column every week sounds like it should be easy, and it should, except that it’s not. Coming up with an idea to write about can be extremely painful. Sure, I could write about the weather or some current event and stretch it out to seven-hundred to a thousand words but if it doesn’t really interest me that whole ADD thing kicks in and I am off on a tangent that has nothing to do with what I am writing about and then I have to go back to square one.
This whole column business is just an experiment. When I agreed to write it, I was only agreeing to give it a try. I wanted to test the waters to see if I could actually do it. Five years later I feel like my big toe has read the temperature of the water and now my brain needs to decide whether I should go swimming or head back to the beach.
My biggest fear is that I will run out of things to write about and I will wake up on deadline morning and the only thing that will come out of my head is drool and a blank look.
Even with that fear looming over my shoulder I have learned that if I just sit down and make myself write, it all kind of happens on its own. Like magic the column starts to write itself. Unfortunately I forget all of that by the following week and I find myself filled with stress and angst as deadline approaches.
Sometimes I wonder why I keep putting myself through this. Why bother with the stress that comes with writing. I certainly don’t do it for the money.
There is value in the satisfaction of completing a column, and there is the status that comes with being a big-shot columnist with a worldwide audience and I am sure my name gets dropped at all the big social events by the handful of people who have managed to make acquaintance of the recluse that is me. I have even made a few friends who are very dear to me as a result of this column.
That is all very rewarding indeed, but the thing about this gig that keeps me doing it is getting letters from readers.
I have heard from people all over the country on a wide variety of topics. Some of it has been fan mail which is really great. Some of it has been hate mail, which is fun beyond words and always good for a chuckle. Sometimes it is mail from people responding to questions I have raised in this space. Whatever the reason for the correspondence it is all good and it is what keeps me going.
It all keeps me wondering if I can pull this writing thing off.
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