From the Braver Institute
Writing can be a lot of work. It can be really tough to sit down and stitch together six or seven hundred words into something that I am satisfied with and gets my point across. Hitting the trifecta of having it also be interesting to other people is something I have long given up striving for since it is impossible to please everyone.
Of course writing isn’t like yardwork or cutting firewood, requiring physical exertion. No, writing is not manual labor, but it can be exhausting. That is why I write early in the morning. I have tried to write in the evening but invariably when I sit down at the keyboard and start typing I either become incredibly fatigued or I pass out due to boredom. Either way I wake up early in the morning with my head on my desk in a puddle of drool.
These days I forego any attempt at writing in the evening and I must say that waking up in bed in a puddle of drool is infinitely better than at my desk.
While I don’t really mind the work involved in cranking out this column every week, the process of coming up with something to write about is the black cloud that looms on my literary horizon. It is a terrifyingly ominous thing.
As I write this, I realize another thing that makes it tough to write sometimes is the lack of motivation. I’m not saying that I am an unmotivated person, I am saying that there is precious little motivation to write. Sure, the millions of dollars I get for doing this each week is nice but it isn’t enough to make me want to write.
The knowledge that someone will read this is probably the biggest motivation. Secretly, writers want readers. Yes writers will say things like “I write for me and even if no one reads it I will still do it and blah, blah, blah …” but the truth is that writers really want someone to see their work. It is bonus if that work is appreciated.
Now I have no idea how many of you are holding a newspaper right now on the cusp of nodding off into your own puddle of drool but I have a fair idea of how many people are reading this online since technology allows for ways to count such things. Of course even the best statistical software cannot tell how many people fall asleep reading it.
Through social media and other methods of online distribution this column is read by a number of people scattered across the country and even the globe. It is a little rewarding to see those numbers but they become completely disappointing when I see the numbers
I get from posting one of my photos online.
I beat my brains out trying to get a column written and a good number of people see it and it is shared or forwarded to others a handful of times, but when I post a photo it spreads like wildfire. No, it doesn’t go viral but the feedback is almost instant and is full of acclamation.
I find photography to be easier than writing. Every time I pick up one of my cameras I find that I can take a pretty cool photo no matter where I am. I’m not bragging here, a cool photo is subjective and I happen to think the photographs I make are cooler than the words I write. Of course I fell in love with photography long before I ever had the idea that I might be able to write.
Maybe I should return to my first love and become a photographer. I could have a photo here every week instead of a column. Besides, no one has time to read anymore. We live in a world where people have an attention span that can barely stay focused through all 140 characters of a Tweet let alone a newspaper column.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well that’s three to four hundred more words than you’re getting out of me every week.
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