I recently set out in earnest to write the book that I’ve been threatening to write for so many years now. The better part of the last few years was spent contemplating whether or not I had anything of real value to add to the clutter out there. This was easily over shadowed by whether or not I wanted to put myself out there to be challenged by pseudo intellectuals (they probably say the same about me) and academics (are they one and the same?) and recognised authorities in the fields in which I dabble. The realisation I was left with was the fact that even if there was truth to either of these considerations, I had not tested it to determine the veracity of it, and therefore it was nothing less than a failure of conviction on my part.
Conviction is an awkward thing, because more often than not, I’ve found my conviction tested not long after I boldly professed to hold said conviction. It’s like a game of tempting fate that I tend to play quite often. I square up bravely, pretending not to flinch, while internally steadying myself for the onslaught that has proven to be inevitable since the earliest days of my recollections. When it hits, I’ve pretty much prepared myself for most eventualities and therefore am able to remain composed when most around me are losing their minds.
But getting back to the point of this post, in my time using this blog to vent and rant and express myself in colourful ways at times, I’ve developed some bad habits in the way I write. I only realised how many bad habits I accumulated as I started writing the book. Chapter One has been re-edited several times and still needs a lot of work to make it reasonably coherent. The key difference between ranting on a blog and writing a book is that the blog is mostly intended to offload, whereas the book is intended to draw the reader closer so that they may be able to appreciate the perspectives that I share.
Therefore, on the blog, it’s a matter of resonating with the collective angst on a subject, while the book can’t stop there. It has to go beyond the resonation and reach a point of meaningful progression. At least that’s the aim from my side. So I’m having to take a critical view of my writing like never before. The play on words, or the clever puns and alliteration is now only a small portion of this iceberg that bops around in the sea before me. I could be safe and navigate my way around the iceberg by adopting tried and tested writing techniques from other authors, but that would firmly land me in the land of clutter, with all those others that have taken the safe route.
My challenge is now to retain some sense of my individual expression while also communicating in a way that reduces the cryptic vagueness of my writing. I guess someone that browses through a blog post is expecting something very different compared to someone that picks up a book to read. It’s that difference that I need to learn to appreciate so that I can adapt my tone and pitch in a way that does not detract from who I am and what I have to offer, while simultaneously engaging the reader enough to want to keep reading without growing weary of the content.
I guess the requisite level of narcissism required to put myself out there appears to be setting in. Whether innocently informed or self-indulgent in motivation remains to be seen. But that’s just another distraction that I need to avoid because contemplating how I’ll be received versus how I wish to be received is a fine line that is easy to trip me up without realising it before it’s too late. So best to avoid the fine lines, the assumptions, or the excessive questioning, and just dive straight into the deep and work my way to the shore. Perhaps in that lies the secret of conviction.
Time will tell.