I love Roy Tennant’s blog from May 21 entitled “First, Just Do It”. It speaks directly to my constant struggle as a fledgling writer. As usual, Tennant’s piece is chock full of good stuff, but this nugget is the core of the message:
Having something to say is not the issue. Having the motivation to write is.
Tennant, an “internationally known speaker and writer on library and information technology issues”, is a name in the library world. His columns are informative, entertaining, and always thought-provoking. Here he addresses that old saw regarding writing: “First, have something to say.” On the surface this makes sense but Tennant digs a little deeper and takes it to task. The drive to have Something To Say often causes us to question the worth of our experiences and stifles our creativity and ability to say anything.
I struggle with this every time I sit down at the keyboard. I’ve been doing a lot more blogging lately and it is a often a struggle. I constantly second-guess what I’m doing. I wonder if this blog even “counts” as writing, as most of the time I reiterate what others have said (and better) and add my little “me too” at the end.
But, as Tennant relates, we are all full of self doubt and this need to have Something To Say, or to relate something Important can give us the excuse to say nothing at all. Between all the other voices in my head calling to get out, I also have the echoes of “I’m not worthy” dinging around in my melon like a cut-rate Wayne’s World sketch.
Tennant’s point is that what sets a writer apart is not the message but the courage, hubris, or sheer foolhardiness to say it. “The real issue is having the guts to do it…it’s taking the time…simply doing the job.”
Now, I’m still not sure I can call what I’m doing at all courageous, at least not with straight face. I write a literally one-in-a-billion blog that if all my readers on a good day* paid me a dollar I might be able to buy breakfast at Denny’s. Maybe. But I want to keep at it. Some days are great…I get a lot of hits and even [sigh] a comment or two. Some days, I’m still whistling in the dark. But even though Tennant and thousands of others have said it again and again, it bears repeating.
Just. Do. It.