Collin published a fantastic post yesterday thinking through, among other things, love, writing, Roland Barthes, Etsy, and Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo. He’s had reasons for having fallen out of the blogging routine of late, reasons that are quite different from mine, but that seem to have had much the same effect: a vastly diminished ability to tune out the noise of the rest of the world and to focus in on what there is to be said and how to say it, without fear about how it’ll all turn out.
What he notes he’s learned from Etsy is a kind of “shamelessness,” a willingness to put everything out there regardless of what any given audience might think of it. The lesson Etsy holds for writing, he says, is a reminder to “just make the words fit together, put them out there, and get rid of the hope and fear that comes from obsessing about the outcome.”
This shamelessness is no small part of what I need to relearn as well, if I’m going to reignite things here. Some of the potential for shame I’ve felt around writing in public of late has come from the seemingly sudden visibility of my work and my position — if people are actually paying attention to what I write, shouldn’t I be really super careful about it? But some of it, I think, comes from finding myself still (again) in the gap between projects — the last one recently released into the world, the next one… not really very well conceived at all.
As I read Collin’s post, I was drawn to this notion of shamelessness as a condition for writing of the sort in which I hope to immerse myself. Shedding shame is a necessary precursor to blogging, I think, and that blogging is likely to be a key component in helping me around the main obstacle keeping me from writing these days: not being at all sure that I have anything worth saying.
When each paragraph has to bear the weight of the next Big Project, its fragility and its apparent emptiness become all too visible. When each paragraph is just a passing thought, a throwaway, something that might lead to the next thought, or might simply drift off on the breeze, that fragility and emptiness might be transformed into virtues.
So my task for the coming weeks is to work on just making the words fit, on just putting them out there, unashamed that they are nothing more than what they are.