Why I Write

Staring at a blank slate, it is quite simple to go completely brain dead. An empty canvas has a sense of intimidation, as if staring into the void. Only, the void is made up of casual acquaintances, people who could easily look and sneer at your work.

Perhaps this is the sorry excuse I have given myself for why this entire school year is sandwiched between two blog posts – this being the latter one. My blog has been as dead as John C. Calhoun, although with much less buzz and much less discussion. Instead, I have jotted down incoherent thoughts on scraps of digital trash, in pithy tweets or on the bottom of long-winded English essays, to be hurriedly deleted before the final submission. Those thoughts, while greatly appreciated for clearing out my headspace, is just not the same as purposefully, artistically, creating something in the open. It is soothing to write for oneself, but it is empowering to write for an audience.

Writing for an audience requires several things:

  1. A calm, analytical mind to synthesize different ideas together,
  2. Time to reflect and time to compose, and
  3. An interesting life

All three of these things are in high demand, by me, for me. Summer life can quickly be boggled down in tedium and needless repetitive pattern, and without any motivation, I could simply get into the day-in, day-out groove of programming and data analysis. While this is more than fine, it would be more *fun* to really seek new experiences out every single day, to enrich myself in methods that I have not thought of before. Knowing that I need to write about (something/anything) every few days will keep me more aware. If nothing else, I would be more cognitive of my surroundings, looking for a story.

It is like looking at the world through the viewfinder of a camera versus just aimlessly gazing around. Through the peephole, you diligently search for the best vantage point, the best place to tell your story. Otherwise, your eyes flicker from sight to sight, never focusing on one thing and even perhaps losing the bigger picture.

Of course, the immediate counter-argument is that taking those photographs/writing those blogs subtracts from the pure, unadulterated experience of simply existing. But I believe that I have simply existed for far too long, and that I can do with a bit more focus. And after all, it is not as if I am super-gluing a camera to my glasses. Instead, it is as I am hanging a Polaroid around my neck. It gives me a tool to see the world in a new light, but doesn’t force anything on me.

Furthermore, I feel that my writing style has become… stilted in a way over the past year. Although I have been constantly producing work, it was in very different settings than a normal blog post or creative piece. I want to hone my investigative journalism skills, but I do not want to do it at the sacrifice of my own voice. I want my cake and have it too, and it just so happens that summer is the perfect time for that.

So starting from this upcoming week, I pledge to update at least twice a week, preferably by 10pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They could be short, slice-of-life moments that I want to document, or longer, more thoughtful #DeepDives about some topic that I want to have a discussion about. Whatever it takes to get those creative juices flowing again. And hopefully, by the end of the summer, I will have something to truly reflect about once more.

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