Try; Try Again


Please excuse the delayed post.  Encountered mass frustration due to website failure last night while attempting to schedule post for 7am today.

Draft didn’t save.

I was angry.  My poor aging laptop got slammed shut.

Didn’t want to rewrite the better part of a sizable post last night, but I knew I wanted to keep my Tuesday/Friday schedule.  This nighttime post is the compromise.

To start, some questions to ponder:

  • When does it become acceptable to consider myself a writer?
      • Do I need to be published first?
  • Why is it so difficult to say, out loud to myself and others, “I am a writer”?
      • Do other people encounter this difficulty?
      • Does it have to do with fear/pride/pessimism?
  • If/when I’m finally ready to call myself a writer, does that mean I can/should give advice to others?
  • Should I share my ideas about the writing process now, even though I still consider myself a newbie?
  • Slightly related, what has this blog done for me/my writing habits since I started writing on a regulated schedule?
      • Should I be thinking of the blog posts as my own cathartic exercises, journal entries of a sort, or as public writings that people are interested in reading and learning about.

There comes a time, every few weeks, when I start to doubt my abilities and the purpose of this blog… hence the questions above.  But I will not be deterred.  In the process of writing this post, I’ve decided that I will try my best to keep any self-doubt OUT of this blog.  The advice I will give, and the comments on my own or others’ approach to writing, will come as plain fact – without any uncertainty or hesitation.

As always, I welcome and encourage suggestions and thoughts on my writing.  Specifically on this post, I hope for comments on my questions above.

Just under the wire for calling this a Tuesday post.

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About jmmack

Full-time swim coach and pool program manager in the Seattle area. Swimmer, writer, cross-stitcher, HP fan, wife, sister, auntie of two nephews, human to a feisty Jack-Russell mix.
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3 Responses to Try; Try Again

  1. I’m with Joe on this one. Fuck ’em. The Real Ron Fairly once said “when you strike out, nothing happens”, which was pretty dopey whether you’re talking about a ballplayer or a writer. Writers are going to whiff it now and then, but plenty happens when you do — you learn what works and doesn’t work; you steel your gut for the next time up to the plate. Swing away Jess!

  2. Joe Walker says:

    I’ll answer some.

    When does it become acceptable to consider myself a writer?
    The moment you stop asking that question. Hell, I consider myself a writer (after a few other things), so you probably should too.

    Do I need to be published first?
    You’ve mentioned this a few times. What do you mean by “published?” As far as I can tell, your writing is public, therefore you are published. Do you mean that someone else is paying you to write? I suppose that would be required to call yourself a “professional writer,” but that’s not what you’re saying.

    Why is it so difficult to say, out loud to myself and others, “I am a writer”?
    Fear of others’ reactions. Fuck ’em. The truth does not depend on what they think of you, or on what you anticipate they’ll think.

    Do other people encounter this difficulty?
    I started calling myself a musician when I committed myself to Blue Judy after college. But it felt a little like cheating when it wasn’t how I earned a living. That took a while to get used to, but I knew I was correct simply because I knew I was correct. I just decided, and that’s all it takes.

    If/when I’m finally ready to call myself a writer, does that mean I can/should give advice to others?
    No. Not saying you can’t or shouldn’t, just that that’s not what that means. I estimate half of the world-class musicians I’ve heard try to teach are awful awful teachers. Giving advice is a separate skill that needs its own cultivation.

    Should I be thinking of the blog posts as my own cathartic exercises, journal entries of a sort, or as public writings that people are interested in reading and learning about.
    Both. Journal entries that are well-structured, spell-checked, filtered, etc. do great things for organizing your thoughts. That’s what all of From the Woodshed is.

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