The notion of writing, placing down symbols to represent a thought, an idea (regardless of its truth,) is a strange one-and one that differentiates humans from the many organisms that inhabit this planet. A key question that arises (at least for me) is who is writing for?
Is it for the author? A record of fleeting thoughts so that we can relive what our degenerating brains can no longer properly remember? An enjoyable moment to dump our brains, perhaps understand ourselves better.
Or is it for our peers? A physical manifestation of our thoughts so that we can share them others-but to what end? Communication is the obvious answer, but to communicate what exactly is less so. Is it to gloat? To show others that, yes indeed I have important and revelatory thoughts in this head of mine. Or perhaps to seem aloof, I do not need to complain nor talk to others, the only confidante I need is my pen.
I always had this fantasy that I would keep a diary with all of my deep inner thoughts and feelings, my cool and fantastical ideas that could revolutionize the world-like Da Vinci’s notes. It would be for my own personal use but more importantly (this is a fantasy) when I die (or something tragic befalls me) someone will find my notebooks and would realize that I was a much better person than they had previously thought. I imagine this is my way of being remembered when I’m gone, that I will be hailed as a genius of some sort posthumously (so I wouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of fame apparently.)
This caused my earlier attempts at journalling to be pretentious, pompous and just embarrassing. Looking back at those entries do not remind of things to do, instead it just makes me despise how I write when I’m extremely emotionally charged.
Then the Internet became popular and fame was simply a few keyboard touches and a mouse click away. Theoretically your writing could be seen by more people than a book published in the 1880s would ever see. The conundrum grows more muddled with the Internet. Are you writing to sell yourself to an imaginary audience of thousands, or is it still for you? I ventured into this world tentatively writing under pseudonyms and avatars. I tried to cater to audiences while desperately trying to keep showing the digital realm that I am a diverse human being (a girl even!) that was innocently giving them peeks into my mind. I wrote like I wanted to be hired by Gawker Media (initially Gizmodo, then io9,) so I wrote reviews and topical thoughts in the same vein as what was trendy. But constantly second guessing myself because of the nagging thought that “individuality matters! Be an individual you numskull!” So plans of CES coverage, Apple Keynotes, etc. built up until I just didn’t want to do it because Stephen Totillo already it and Brian Lam already shit on Apple for me, who needs copycat posers in a sea of them?
With so many conflicting thoughts I quickly ended up doing nothing but daydreaming about that moment when I will write and immediately become successful and relevant forever.
So what has changed? Nothing. I still constantly worry about what I am writing and why I am doing it. For me or for them (whoever they are)? Does the judgement of the Internet and those that roam it matter? Does the future judgement of history matter? More importantly, does it matter more than your own personal judgement?
The only thing that has changed is that I’ve become more indifferent (some would say savvy, I really wouldn’t.) I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter, that the world continues turning regardless of what I type and what you read. That’s the beauty of the world-it is based on action and inaction, not from symbols on a page nor sounds emitted from vibrating vocal cords. So if the NCAA reads this (which I doubt, but Hi!) or a future employer does, so be it. What I’m writing is a close approximation of how I am thinking right now in time, it is built from the past and will constantly change in the future.
So why do I write? Right here, right now on the Internet? Because I want to become a better writer and that requires practice. Because I want to express myself articulately to myself (and perhaps to you, Reader.) Because I want people to read this and understand one aspect of one person living in the same (maybe different, hello aliens!) world. Because maybe I’ll get famous and rich. Because it’s time for me to act and do something, to possibly alleviate some regret and enjoy myself.