The Problem of Writing

It is time to address this writing problem head on. Even though I am writing more than I ever have, I still have an apparent resistance and fear of writing for an audience. I can only assume that it is rooted in a fear of being appraised and found to be less than perfect.

Perhaps I experienced teachers who left me feeling humiliated and deficient in my English composition submissions. I never seemed to be able to get much more than a C+ or an occasional B in school for writing. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t feel that I had an opinion, or that the content would not be “correct”. Perhaps I didn’t feel confident in my own knowledge, or opinion, or understanding, – or didn’t want what I thought challenged or criticized. Perhaps I feared exposure.

Perhaps I unconsciously resisted the discipline required. Too much work. Too much risk of not being successful. Like playing the piano. Perhaps I thought it was, or viewed it as work, and therefore unpleasant rather than a creative exercise, – the expression of my creativity, – my creative self, – and my uniqueness. Perhaps it is all ego and concern for myself. That’s the most likely reason. That strikes a chord. A fear of exposure. A fear of opprobrium. A concern for self instead of a concern for others. A fear of being laughed at instead of the pleasure of self-expression, – the expression of my identity.

Perhaps it is a fear of expressing my identity. Perhaps there are still parts of my identity that I wish to continue to hide from myself as well as others. Perhaps that is a worthwhile reason to write, – to push myself through the barrier that I seem to constantly experience.

I have created as part of my persona the perception that I don’t like to write, – that I resist writing, – that it is difficult for me. Perhaps I need to start at the fundamentals. Why do I want to write?

One of the principal reasons is that it is a means to the end, – to an end. It is how I communicate, – how I am able to communicate information, opinions, data, views that gives or can give others some ideas that they didn’t have before, something of value to them, something they can act on, something that makes them feel better, – more positive, – more inspired, – more empowered.

So I hear a voice that says, “Who do you think you are?” What makes you think you are so smart, – so superior?” So now I am a little confused. It really doesn’t have anything to do with that. Although the desire to be so smart and superior and the fear of being seen as someone who feels he is superior certainly comes into play. The distress that both my parents felt, – “Who do you think you are?” “Okay smart guy. What makes you think you’re so smart?” “I’ll show you what smart is.”

So I have to take myself out of the writing process, – or at least my ego. As a consultant, I could write about situations “out there”. As an individual, I seem to have difficulty writing about what is “in here”.

To overcome fear, I have to focus more on giving. I have to focus on making writing, – the communication of information, ideas, data, opinion, and views as the end, – as an end. That the organization and communication of this information is, in itself, worthwhile, – and not to try and “control” the response, – manage the outcome, – see it as a means to accomplishing an end.

It is an end in itself. A product. A letter that conveys information or articulates and organizes information and knowledge in a manner that allows others to act, – or see their opportunities to act, – that articulates situations and offers choices that people can choose to act on or not act on. It leaves them with deciding whether or not they have a responsibility to act, whether or not it will be beneficial to themselves or to others to act, – or maybe leaves open the range of possibilities and the extent of the field that they can operate on to their own imagination, – empowering them and releasing their creativity and the range of opportunities they have.

So, writing is communication. Without communication, learning cannot occur, relationships cannot exist, energy cannot be directed, solutions cannot be found, creative expression is not possible, identities cannot be developed, individuals cannot be empowered.

And energy directed to learning how to learn, and to learning things that are important to learn about for our well-being and survival will enrich us all, – and improve the quality of all our lives, – the quality of life for individuals, – for us individually and collectively.

Communication through writing moves me one step further forward in making a contribution to others, – to making a difference, – and to realizing the above. It is an end, an important end.

1996.02.11