Friday, September 18, 2009

On my soap box talking to the vast emptiness of the interwebs

Over the past month or so I have acquired a insatiable need for information, knowledge, wisdom and stories. It could be the result of my disappointment in the American people for not being more involved and knowledgeable about the news and issues of our day.

But I only can say this because I have no life. I spend my free time watching the news, reading news and analysis online, listening to podcasts and audio books while also reading two or three books at any given time. I have such a short attention span I bounce from book to book to book and back again. I just have to make sure to keep the books different enough so I don't get too confused. I may not be able to remember to take the trash out, but I can keep the storylines of several books clear in my head. I'm crazy like that.

Because they say to write better you need to read a lot, I should be a lot better at writing. But I have a major flaw. Well, at least one in regards to writing: I have no attention span. Thus, I do a very poor job of organizing my thoughts as I write them out. It's always been this way.

I remember one weekend back when I was still in high school. Must have been my junior year. I was a staff writer and page editor for the school newspaper, and I had a front-page story about the end of the popular sophomore history and social studies class. I don't remember the name of the program, but I do remember loving the class my sophomore year. I was the only kid in the class to get an A on the very difficult World War II final. I say this not to brag about the grade, but to show how much I worked and listened in that class. That WWII final was one of the few times I actually studied in high school.

But back to the story. I remember sitting in the middle of my father's bed with my laptop writing the story. I don't remember why I was in the bed, but I do remember the pure joy I had putting that article together. I got all the quotes written out, then I wrote all the points I needed to cover, put it together with the appropriate quotes, and then finally took forever putting it in order. I was trying to tell the story but also work in the classic journalist model of the inverted pyramid (the most important thing first, and so on).

Flash forward to my sophomore year in college, working on the college newspaper as the features editor. I was trying to write an editorial, but I couldn't get it to flow. Good thing I had some great help. I just needed to outline my idea and points I wanted to make; then write it. So between those two experiences, I created my process for writing: get everything down, make sure you have a solid outline, and make clear your goal for the piece.

Here I am, a little more than three years removed from college, and I am still working to become a better writer than I was the day before. For me that means focusing more on form and structure. I don't lack for topics to write about, opinions to share, or ideas to try out. Writing for me is a great mediator for life. Always trying to be better, always fighting between skill and passion, time and energy.

So, this blog is more than my little soap box. This is my way of working out the workings of my thinking as well as the world going on around me. With all of the stuff I take in from all of today's sources of information, my brain is filling up. Writing about something here lets me work it out in my head so I can move on to the next idea to think about. So not everything I post here will be good. Odds are that most of it will be crap. I just hope today's crap is better than yesterday's crap.

At the very least, maybe I am one of the various sources that someone gets their information from, then at least I'm making a difference and not just talking to the vast emptiness of the interwebs.

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