Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Writer Lens

So I’m in a bit of a rut right now, staring at the laptop screen not knowing what to write.

I remember last year, when I was in that “write every damn day” thing, I saw the world a little differently than I do now. I tried to look at everything from an angle of “okay, so how would I write about that?”

It was a weird lens to put have on, and to have on, and even weirder to have them on all the time too. I remember asking myself that question constantly whenever any stimulus came my way, that is to say whenever a fellow teacher told me something, or whenever a student did or said something (sometimes they don’t even do or say anything and I’d still ask the question), or whenever an interesting tweet came up on my timeline. It was always a question of how I would write about that thing.

Like, I remember this one time, when a teacher was telling me something, and midway through her talking to me, I got lost in my own train of thoughts as I was trying to figure out a way to write about something she was telling me, and I had to say “sorry, what was that?” when I finally snapped out of it and figured out that I had no idea what she was telling me. So it’s like that.

Not to say that I ended up writing all that much, anyway. I always found ways to say that a thing wasn’t interesting enough to write about, and when I did find myself saying that a thing was interesting enough, I still procrastinated on typing the stuff out, eventually leading me to either forgetting about it, or eventually having something else to write about instead.

I don’t ask myself that question throughout my day that much anymore. Heck, today I didn’t ask it even once. I struggle to remember how many times I’ve asked myself that question these past few months. I’d be surprised if the total was more than the amount of fingers I have (I have ten, in case you were wondering). 

And as a result, I think I’m less observant a person. I gloss my eyes over a lot of things, not bothering to ask questions about things, not being critical about things a lot of the time, just float on by living my life from day to day. And I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

On the one hand, constantly being in writer-mode allows me to be critical of things more of the time, and makes me craft words in my head regularly while experiencing the world. But on the other hand, it also makes me feel detached to my surroundings. It’s almost as if I’m trying my best to look at things from afar, seeing life as more of a story of which I have very little part to play in. I cannot vouch for how healthy this may be as a member of a community or society. I might come off (to myself as well as other people) slightly less than human.

And about the opposite thing if I have my writing lenses off. I ask less questions about the world, and am less ready to write about things in general. But it can also be construed as allowing the world to rotate while one fades into nothing, so that something special may happen. Although I do like the sentiment of that, it also doesn’t get me to write much of anything. And if I were a super talented person, then I might be able to not write anything for years and years and then with a kaboom write a Nobel prize winning masterpiece in one go, but I do not see myself as that person. 

I see myself as a person who needs a lot of practice, a lot of hard work just to be as good as the next person, and if I want to be better, then it takes even more work. So I find having that writer-lens thingy to be helpful in the regard that it helps me practice and get better. At least, I hope I do.

So after talking to the wife about it a little, she said something that made sense, which was balance. I just have to find a balance between experiencing life and writing about it. Experience life to the fullest while it’s going on, and have the ability to re-experience those things as a writer when I’m in the process of writing things down. I say that as if it were an easy thing to do. It’s not (I chuckle to myself at this point because every time anyone says “it’s not”, my brain reminds me that it sounds a lot like “it’s snot”). But like most good things, it’s worth doing, even if it’s not easy (lol, it’s snot easy).

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