I didn’t realize how much I missed writing for myself until I finally had the chance to do it again. For most of this last year, I’ve been writing essays and posts for academic blogs because they were evaluated by the people who get to decide if the last two years of my life were worth anything. All that writing certainly helped me get better, and I did actually enjoy a lot of it, but it is so different getting to decide exactly what and when I write and for what purpose, the difference between going for a walk because it’s nice out and going for a walk because someone has convinced you that you’ll never have a career if you don’t put in eighteen miles a morning.
For the last 10 weeks, I’ve been writing a lot of stuff for other blogs I’ve had to keep for class, but the purpose of each of those posts was always the same. I’d write about something I was doing in a class I was teaching, compare it to some rhetorical theory, and pepper in some silliness because that’s what it took to keep me from hurling myself out my office window.
It’s so wonderful being able to write what I want again, being able to be satisfied with a post not really having a point, or being kind of rambly, or getting to cuss. I don’t know if I communicate this that well in the writing I do here, but I fucking love cussing. I love being able to latch onto the strong emotional connotation of a nice, plump curse and throw that shit into a sentence where it doesn’t really belong. I treat cussing like snack companies treat jalapenos: it may not belong or even work well, but I’m going to shove this stuff into every place I can find. In other news, I’ve learned I like jalapeno chips but not jalapeno popcorn, pickles, Chex mix, or–presumably–cereal.
One thing I do like that grad school gave me was stamina. There was a point when I was working on my thesis where I did not stop working on it for 26 hours. That’s two and a half seasons of Game of Thrones that I could have watched instead of furiously typing and tearfully finishing my analysis of all my research. But now I can apply all that writerly stamina to writing I actually like doing, to writing that doesn’t hurt to finish. I’ve written 6 other posts today just because I had time and enough tea to get me to just the right level fo caffeinated. Being able to choose how hard I work is amazing and totally different from having my best wrung out of me like I’m some sopping towel of passable analytical skill.
The other valuable thing I’m noticing about the writing I’ve been doing lately is that I can see directly who it’s for. I know how to write for this blog, and I love doing it, and reading comments and talking to other bloggers is something all the discussion boards in my online graduate program never managed to simulate.
Anyway, it’s good to be back, and I’m quite happy I get to write here again, and I don’t see any reason why I might stop.