Post from April 28, 2014 (↻ June 9, 2021), filed under Everything Else (feed).
I’m staring at 29 ideas for articles, manifested in text files, for offline writing purposes. 8 are stubs. 14 are in progress. 7 are finished. All of them annoy me. I have 7 “social posts,” too. 7 finished. I don’t draft “social posts.” They annoy me, too.
It’s not that just having re-read The Elements of Style intimidates me. Or Clark’s very promising Writing Tools, freshly started. Or the fact that I’m not a native English speaker.
If it did, I don’t think I’d want to violate that many style rules in this article alone. Nor had I written 100 Things. No, it has something to do with fear. I chicken out.
As I publicly branched out into other fields—adventure and philosophy, most notably—the size of my world increased. But I do carry the pressure of an I-guess-yes-not-bad career as well as 35 springs, or summers, or autumns with me. That means, more room to write about, less room to f it up. Or so.
I just added a note to Keep, which I use to brainstorm and track thoughts and quotes:
1 Question: Writing
What’s up here with my hesitation, and my worries?
I haven’t thought about the note yet. I thought instead to work through the dilemma here. The dilemma that has something to do with fears.
I have one draft here that is very critical of the United States. I want to call them out on killing millions of people and, instead of doing memorial services for the millions of innocents they murdered all over the world, setting the U.S. propaganda machinery in motion to provoke another World War, just so that the international banking cartel and the military-industrial complex can make more billions on the graves of our mothers and brothers. (Cartel and complex are not subject of the post, either.)
I have one draft here that got just rejected by Smashing Magazine for maybe terrible writing, but equally maybe a biased, bitter, or inexperienced reviewer. I may never find out; I won’t probe. But it stings, of course, and doubt sets in. Am I a misunderstood genius? Or have I written some BS nobody wants to read?
Then I have a draft here that calls to do something about admitting electronic evidence in courts, a draft that I got an unspecific response for from Felix von Leitner and a “no time” from Bruce Schneier. FML. What do you do, then? Well, what do I do?
Chicken out. I keep staring at the drafts, and I look at them, tweak here and there, dilute and distort them, and I doubt, and I might instead write some half-a’ed questions web developers don’t want to care about or books I somewhat am nervous about sharing.
But, maybe, perhaps, eventually, tossing all Strunk and White and Clark out of the hotel window, I should just f it, suck it up, and write. Maybe I should write about what I care about, let the words pour out, and f your point of view. Not because I don’t care, but because I care too much.
So maybe I do that. Maybe I do that right now, with this post. So if I do have the guts to proceed you may begin to see more posts here, worse style, more controversy, more hurt feelings, but maybe you will sense a bit more life flowing through them, too. But I really like to stop now. Thanks for listening. And, yes, for not deeming me an idiot if I mistype something or criticize your pet peeve or so, if that’s still my concern. Thanks. Bye.
I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
If you have a question or suggestion about what I write, please leave a comment (if available) or a message. Thank you!
On April 28, 2014, 20:43 CEST, JT said:
I think we can all relate to fear, whether it’s what other people think, or what we ourselves think—of the quality of our work, or the sheer ideas themselves. The great thing about being able to publish, as you do on this blog and via your published books, is that this is your podium. Write about what matters to you as you only have to be accountable to yourself and your thoughts.
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