Writing is hard OR the flying purple cat

purplecatNot to get all meta and write about how writing is hard, but it is. I have been eased into writing blog posts by the daily exercise of writing tweets. 140 characters was bite-sized enough for me to jump in without hesitation. It got me in the habit of publishing content and thinking about the best way to phrase things. And for people like me who aren't good wordsmiths, it was an excellent lesson in brevity. God knows I have nothing to say. At least on twitter it'll only hurt for a second.

Blogging, on the other hand, has been a struggle for me. Although I've had this blog up for over a year, it languished with one post until about a week ago. In a fit of frustration, I tweeted that "every day I wish I was a better writer." It's true. I think more about being a better writer than I do about being a better designer. Strange. Folks like Stefan Sagmeister and Jonathan Ive are great designers partly because they're great designers and partly because they can speak and write passionately to win over non-design folk who need words to tell them what their eyes cannot.

Writing was the subject this morning on OPB. Think Out Loud was interviewing Oregon's Poet Laureate. It got me thinking about my own experience with learning to write as a child. I must've been in about second grade when a poetry teaching workshop came to my classroom. They introduced us to the existence of poetry by reading some nice poems. I can clearly remember listening to them and thinking "Oh, I get it. A poem is just some silly words mashed together." At the end of the workshop they had us wee ones write our own poems. I took to this with purpose and thought up the most ridiculous, non-sequitur jumble of words I could manage. I believe it was a "poem" about a flying purple cat. A few months went by and I had forgotten the hippies and their silly workshop when a letter came in the mail that my story had been selected for publication. The little overachiever in me was thrilled to tack up yet another award.

The years have elapsed and the book has long been lost. I wish I could read that poem. I suspect that my attempt at absurdity still had a child's strict need for a linear story.

I'm not sure if I've progressed much since then. I still find it hard to follow Charlie's advice. He said I never assume I have anything to say or than anyone will read it, I just write.

So I'm giving it another try. Please bear with me.


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