Writing: the Introspectioning

I’m adding a new section to this blog, where I do some VERY intense introspection. Consider yourself warned.

This blog has, itself been a point of anxiety and frustration for me. This is dissappointing for me, because if you read my mission statement, it’s clear that this is precisely what the blog was meant not to be. Narrative Leaps was supposed to be a place for me where I can shed any inhibitions or cares that would prevent me from producing content.

It’s not that I’m not writing. If you looked at my google drive, you’ll see dozens of documents, many containing thousand words, typed from my very own hands. The problem is that these words are not organized. There are sentences, some of which are organized into paragraphs, but the paragraphs do not flow together, and the sentences often have trouble fitting into paragraphs. There are plenty of false starts, ideas that I began, but came to doubt the truth or relevance of halfway through, or could not figure out how to support.

I hesitate to talk about these sorts of things because introspection about my own writing process is probably far more interesting to me than it is to anybody else. I write about it because, frankly, it is easy. I am writing about literally what I am doing this very moment. I don’t have to worry about losing my train of thought, or getting bogged down in the act of writing when the subject of my writing and the act of writing it are one in the same.

It’s hard for me to keep flow going when I write. I like to think I’m reasonably good at finding ways to construct clever sentences, or concise expressions of solitary ideas, but it’s getting the sentences to fit into paragraphs, and getting he paragraphs to build to something— that’s the tough part. It’s hard to do this all at once. It’s like juggling; throwing one ball, while catching another, and it I make one mistake, my entire train of thought comes grinding to a halt.

Even in college, I was never good at crafting larger pieces. Occasionally, I would be able to string arguments together at length, when I’d thought deeply about the idea and it made sense to me. But mostly, essay writing consisted of me creating these chopped up paragraphs, full of false starts and unsupported ideas, bouncing between my notes, the source I was writing about, and the growing pile of false-start paragraphs, until the deadline began to approach and a I re-wrote everything in ways that, if not always compelling or sound, at least approximated the form of an argument and suggested at deeper thought.

Sometimes I do manage to condense my thought; if I didn’t, this blog wouldn’t have any entries at all. But this crystallization feels like it happens so rarely, and so inconsistently. I can spend so long groping, creating these malformed paragraphs that ultimately never fit together, without any sign of progress. This is what really gets me.

I suppose the only cure is to keep reading, and keep writing. My best idea is to take a stab at outlining posts before I even begin, because it will let me focus on the overarching structure of the argument— what I want to say- without getting too bogged down in the actual construction of paragraphs. Then I can move on to the construction of paragraphs without having to wonder where in the hell my argument is going.

This is normal, I think. Ultimately, I keep at it because I think this sort of thing is worth doing.


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