I’m pretty good at following rules.
You might not know this, what with all my cussing and shirtlessness, but deep in my core I am a (recovering) rule-follower and people pleaser. Every time I sit down to write, I am reminded that I have a bunch of self-imposed rules floating around in my head — rules about what to write about and how to write it, how much I should stay on topic, how seriously I should take myself.
After a while, it’s easier to not write at all than to try to keep all the (self-imposed) rules popping up every few moments to tell me what I SHOULD be doing.
Here’s a thing I’ve realized: Some of the best shit I’ve written (in my own opinion, not necessarily yours, and that’s what counts because it’s my name before the .com) has come in those brief moments when I’ve been able to elevate myself above the neurotic arguments going on in my head (your grammar sucks! this is self-absorbed navel-gazing drivel! you can’t write about that! nobody even cares. why are you doing this?) and smash together a few paragraphs of slightly-less-edited straight-from-my-heart writing. These are the things I’m proud of.
I guess you could call it honesty, or clarity. Not that the rule-following shit I write is less than honest in its content, but perhaps in its presentation. The tone is polished and buffed a bit to sound like Micah trying to sound like Micah J. Murray, rather than Micah just digging into the cavity of his chest and fetching you a fistful of assorted free-range thoughts and feels.
I want to make blogging fun again.
I realize that may mean different things to each of us, as we all have our own unique concepts of fun. For me, that means forgetting what I’m supposed to write, what I usually say, what I’m supposed to sound like, and writing whatever comes out of my hands when I take break from squinting at HTML and rage-reading articles about American politics.
Oh politics. Let’s talk about that for a moment, shall we? Four years ago when there was an election going down, I wrote a lot about politics and shit. It made sense at the time — I was smack dab in the middle of a ideological transition from tea-party-sympathetic libertarian-leaning conservative to becoming the gay-loving, gun-hating, NPR-listening, anti-patriotic communist democrat that I am today. At the time, my blog was a place to hash that process out out; in retrospect, that was probably more helpful for me than for my Facebook friends who were subjected to my non-stop baby-progressive handwringing.
These days, you can’t take two steps on Facebook without tripping over a Pokemon and landing face-first in a shit-pile of always-breaking always-stupider-than-before stories about Donald Fucking Trump (with the accompanying think-pieces, long-form journalism essays, BuzzFeed lists, memes, GIF’s, and collective face-palming of those of us who don’t want to elect Hitler 2.0.)
The thing is, a week or two ago, somewhere after the raging dumpster fire that was the RNC, I realized that all of our collective screaming on Facebook wasn’t going to really affect anything, probably. You know how it is with political beliefs: the more arguments we hear against something, the more we dig in and defend our position. Facts do little to sway our beliefs when our identities depend so strongly upon them. And if someone IS going to vote for Donald Fucking Trump, why would they be dissuaded by me, a gay-loving gun-hating liberal?
I still keep reading that stuff, because there it is, but also sometimes I want to come up for air. Sometimes I want less yelling about how wrong other people are (and oh man, some people are SO SO WRONG) and more writing about my little tiny slice of beautiful, boring life.
Don’t think this means that I won’t throw down if I need to. Sometimes shit needs to be said — about justice and equality, about how Black Lives Matter, about how maybe we shouldn’t just go ahead and elect The Second Coming of Hitler to be our president, about how a lot of what was introduced to us as “Christianity” is some first-rate bullshit meant to fuck up your mind, kill your heart, and keep you too scared of your own soul to ever take just one deep, life-saving breath. Sometimes.
But also, I want to find a way to capture the breadth of my brief human experience and put it in these words. To stick my fingers in my ears so I can’t hear the voices in my head telling me to follow the rules. To get in the habit again of writing something I can be proud of. To make blogging fun again.
The good thing is, I’ve slacked off on writing long enough that probably most of you aren’t even reading anymore. Nobody is expecting anything from me (nobody ever was, honestly, but sometimes it’s pleasant to delude ourselves with stories about our own importance in the universe.) Now I get to start again in this blank space, this color-by-number canvas with all the lines subtracted, and say whatever the hell I want.
If you’re a writer (and honestly, the only people who have read so far are people who are desperately trying to avoid the writing they know they should be doing at this point.) would you consider joining me? Maybe the writers’ block that I omnisciently referenced in parentheses just a sentence ago could do with a solid kick-in-the-ass of fun. Let’s wander off the carefully marked trail and find ourselves a big open space where we can run around and trip over our own feet and feel our own pulses again.
If you’re here for snarky post-evangelical theological analysis, you might might have to scroll back a few years to get your fix. If you’re here for angsty soul-wrenching half-poetic wailing, I’m happy to report that I am significantly happier that I was a year or two ago: good for my heart, bad for my angsty writing. But if you’re here for this — for disjointed bits and pieces of my ordinary life, for the spectacle of watching a writer spar with the keyboard and his own ego in an attempt to write a few words of which he can be proud — welcome. And thank you. I’m glad you’re here.
Tomorrow (I use that word loosely, maybe next week?) I’ll write you a thing about what I’ve been doing for the past few months. It will be just like one of your aunt’s annual Christmas Newsletters, only with more cusswords and shirtlessness.
I put together a little thing for those of us who want to try this “fun blogging” thing. Click here and join us.
[ image: tim ]
SUBSCRIBE (AND GET MY FREE E-BOOK TOO!)
I wrote "10 Things I Hate About Your Blog (and How to Fix Them)" to help you make your blog kick ass this year. I'd love to send you a copy; just put your name and email right here and I'll hook you up.