Nick Mercers provides some insight into why he chooses to write for us and his blog.
Because, as much as it lets others ask questions, it encourages me to ask questions of myself.
Granted, I have always questioned myself, I’m hyper-self-critical. In general, it’s not necessarily a good thing. I hesitate or stop completely. I waste opportunities. I’ll pass up a good chance (with a woman, for a job,…) for a safer, if not longer, chance. However, in writing, my exhaustive self-analysis, is probably beneficial. It means I take longer to write, because I’m always correcting what I wrote and how I wrote it. There aren’t many sentences in this post that haven’t been ‘renovated’ in some way. That’s not to say there aren’t mistakes, or that I catch-all of those errors on the first, second, or even third read. I’m cognizant, but maybe not enough, of the propensity of my self-criticism to take the emotive punch out of what I write. So I try to guard against that. I try to be open, and I hope that shows through, but since this personality trait has been with me my whole life, it’s not completely natural for me to silence it. It is at constant odds with the my ‘newly’ acquired (9 years ago) impulsive nature.
My impulsive side has not completely balanced out my patient and measured side (or vice versa), but it has made some headway. That said, I’m certainly calmer and less anxious than I was before my brain injury, which could have more to do with the severity of my brain injury than with the injury itself, however I don’t know, I’m just speculating, and I don’t have any medical information to back up such a claim. See that? That was my impulsive writing side being tempered before your eyes. What’s ironic is that I got a bit impulsive writing about my calmness.
Another bit of irony in this whole ‘impulsive’ discussion is that it takes me longer to write a post because I feel the need to go off on tangents. In the past paragraph and a couple of lines, I wanted to write about the irony of newscasters using “irony” constantly when they obviously don’t know what the word means. When I write things like “I feel the need”, I immediately want to write “the need for speed!” …and this sentence has let me do that. Thank you writing! (See how smooth that was? You were just quoting Top Gun and you had no interest in doing that when you started reading this post!)
At the beginning of this post I wrote that writing ’encourages me to ask questions of myself.’ It encourages me to ask those self-critical writing questions, the ‘patient, measured vs. impulsive’ questions, and the weird, stupid, fun questions about tv, movies, sports, etc…Most of all, it encourages, if not forces me to answer the question “what do you want to write about?” That’s the best part about having your own blog. I decide what and how much I write.
I decided to write about writing because I enjoy it. Because it lets me have a full on conversation with myself and not be self-conscious about it. Aside from swimming (which I’m presently taking a break from for a few months) I don’t actively participate in, or play any of the sports that would otherwise capture all of my free time (which is presently a lot). It’s not the same feeling and it doesn’t replace my desire to play those sports again sometime in the future, but writing has become an important part of how I express myself.
I don’t write because I necessarily really like the final product. I write because I like the process. I like having an idea, not being sure that there’s much to write about, then building around that idea and turning it into something I want others to read. This post is far from perfect. I got distracted, and probably distracted the reader, in the third paragraph, writing about irony and Top Gun, and the next one won’t be perfect, nor the one after that. To me, nothing I write will ever be ‘my best piece of writing’. I always want to be reaching for that. The same holds for my ongoing, life-long recovery from brain injury. I will always be reaching.
Nick, that’s awesome. As a journalism student myself (a lifetime ago), I’ll always remember something Professor Kamil Winter told me: “The art of writing is nothing more than re-writing.” And you’ve got the art down to a science, so to speak.