Writing Online: Are You Really Up to It?
When It All Becomes Just an Addiction
The other day I deleted hundred poems from my total writer's opus of 360 articles/poems written in short time of two years. I didn't do it only so that those internet thieves have less to steal. Although much more radical thoughts invaded my mind when I saw a big bunch of my stuff posted on Facebook by some poor idiot with no talent of their own.
The whole truth being told---I never considered myself to be much of a poet. That didn't change even after a reader generous with praises wrote: "Val, poetry is where you shine". As flattering as it felt at the time, it didn't say much for my main form of expression---articles about psycho-philosophy of living.
So I saved a few poems, not necessarily because they were particularly brilliant, but for the heck of it, to show off with my ability to write a mediocre poetry beside mediocre articles, that back there had an ambition to serve as a mediocre eye-opener to some mediocre folks.
That's basically where I am starting to taper down my writing activities. Besides, not that I was ever naïve to expect some lavish monetary reward from online writing, but neither did I expect one that would look like a mocking.
However, what prompted me the most to gradually quit is the hours consumed by this hobby. My topics didn't require any research since all information came straight from my head. And yet I was catching myself in some other activities obsessing in my mind over the next theme.
It was becoming an addiction, and that's why it had to go, just like my smoking, coffee drinking, beer, and sugar.
Praised by Wrong People?
Sitting for some hours at my laptop just wasn't much of an advertisement for the topics of my writing, in which I was clearly suggesting that people get some life---some quality time shared with those they claimed to love.
Besides, it's not healthy---for eyes, back, for circulation, and because of those harmful rays emitted from the screen. There are many other solo-hobbies which don't steal our mind from other important aspects of our life.
For, writers don't realize that their minds are in a constant state of "incubation" in which something is brewing and maturing for the next thing they will write about. Trying to avoid a writer's block, they may desperately keep looking around for an inspiration, not realizing that they are not really present in their life and with those they share life with.
Those accolades and reader's praises are further doing a number on their life, as they don't get that much of it from the people of their life. What was the last time their husband, or wife, or boss, or friend said to them: "Wow, you are brilliant!"?
Those words of recognition are like a magnet to ego, and to some of them even like a mirage in the desert---their life pretty much resembling one.
Passion of Becoming
What follows is my own sound reason for drastically slowing down my writing activity. Just like my bio, and the most of my articles would hint, my main life's passion is exploring my own hidden potential---through meditation, self-hypnosis, qigong, alpha training, some home made herbal tinctures which assist in deepening my meditations...and well, using my own mind.
I mean dehypnotizing myself from the suggestive influences of my early educators and society, from the paradigm the world lives by. There is no bigger purpose of my life than finding out what else I can be, what new models of psycho-physical functioning, and angles of looking at things I can cultivate.
Yes, it is a "solo-hobby" the expression which I used earlier, but it's enormously positively affecting my relationships with those closest to me and with the world. Our kids, now in their forties keep saying how they have never seen or heard of a marriage as harmonious as ours, and I am talking almost 53 years of it.
A part of that harmony was in my wife's acceptance of my passion for books, meditations, and qigong exercises, which were the times when I was not "present" while at home. It took a lot of "accepting" with those over thousand non-fiction books on human nature, and those countless meditations in the last 40 years.
Now, nothing to brag about---I still don't know what's in those other thousands of unread books; and I am still deepening my meditations; and haven't yet become a qigong master, or achieved the third level of self-hypnosis.
Forever just a student, never to graduate at this academy of life.
Money So Wasted on Unhappy Ones
And yet, in one way or another, with my English which is the second language to me, I tried to share with readers some of the wisdom of living that has worked for me.
Beside my great marriage, at this age of 72 some are giving me 10-15 years less; I haven't seen a doctor, used any prescription or over the counter medication for the last 10 years or so; I dropped my reading glasses, the only ones I had been using---and well, I could call myself quite a happy camper.
What my readers wouldn't find among my "instructions for living" in whatever form they came was "how to make more money". I always believed in that adage about the best of life being free, and have proven it with my own life.
While reading about the lives of celebrities and rich folks I often catch myself thinking: "Why does money come to those who never attained all that money can't buy?"
Nothing is wrong about having it, even a lot, but not when it's supposed to identify who we are, and be a surrogate for true joys of life, like good relationships, peace of mind, and a self-esteem based on more than a bank account.
I hope it's becoming more obvious why my writing couldn't qualify to match my other passion, and was stealing the valuable time from it.
With Minds Closed
I am not one bit inclined to explain that slowly climbing number of views by my rather simple writing style and vocabulary. Not by the classic formula of "blaming others rather than ourselves", but I simply noticed that people don't show much interest in things that are threatening to shake up their comfort zone.
That comfort zone may even be hurting us, but at least it's composed of all that's familiar---as opposed to daring to make an excursion into the unknown and risk having to face all lies we have been feeding ourselves.
Many of us categorically refuse to believe in personal change. Not only that, but so many will see it as their "integrity" of staying loyal to their belief systems which define who they are.
Decades back at the beginning of my eye-opening process, it hit me that I was just a particle of a human mass, thinking, feeling, and acting as they do. By imitating them I learned when it was "appropriate" to feel good, to be pissed, what was considered as a compliment and what was an insult.
Damn it, I thought---how much of me was really me?!
Challenging Human Condition
Like a man possessed I dove in the studies of hypnotism, suggestion, conditioning, and one shock after another showed me how the world was a bunch of biological robots basically operating out of an "automatic pilot".
On the other side of the chess board I saw all the garden variety of suggestive manipulators---political, religious, medical, business, and hey---even familial.
So I couldn't help noticing that bestsellers in literature and music had sad themes, as masses of entertainment consumers kept buying what was in tune with their inner world, the one of victimhood, unanswered love, passing youth, loneliness...you finish the long list for me.
Someone coined it as the "human condition", and someone else made universal excuse for losers like : "We are only humans".
Well, my life's quest has been to see what's beyond "being only humans". I read about exciting examples of human specimens achieving some incredible feats in their personal evolving. Not talking about geniuses but ordinary folks who simply had that inner drive to grow, to become and keep becoming more than they were last year.
Writing about all this stuff was gratifying to me, as I kept reminding myself and so re-feeding my mind in my pretty much strict mental diet. While trying to explain things to others, I reaffirmed them to myself, and that's probably the most rewarding part of my two years of playing an online writer.
To Be or Not to Be
To write online---or to have a life, somewhat reminds of the Shakespeare's: "To Be or Not to Be", and in a remote sense means the same. Writers, those passionate ones--- and they are the only ones that qualify to be called that way---tend to forget that creativity is best used in one's own life, so that it doesn't become something to escape from into fictional creations.
Many will protest that their life is just fine, and writing is just a dear hobby. But, again, it's one of those things like being a musician---it takes hours of rehearsing, and hours of performing in a constant effort to make the next one at least as good as the one that deserved that last applause.
Writing is actually not a hobby, it's a way of life. Hobby is fishing, collecting postal stamps, knitting, cooking---anything that starts without much mental preparation and finishes without carrying over the mood of it on the rest of our daily activities.
Is all this meant to discourage writers, or the hopeful beginners?
Not at all. But it carries a message to all of them to examine their life and how writing is in a sort of balance with the rest of their life where an emotional engagement is a must.
In this article which probably isn't the last one, but one of those more and more rare ones, I tried to use my own case as an example of when writing doesn't really fit in our life style.
Furthermore, I tried to point out that we might try to get recognition from those around us, without escaping on a stage where applauses often come out of sheer politeness and readers' good heart.
As for those few online super-achievers with a full life on the side---more power to you, just keep following your bliss!