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This newsletter is going to be pretty meta and hopefully short too.
Something interesting is happening to me. I rarely experience writer’s block. When I find the time to write, I usually can write fine. It doesn’t mean it’s good, but I’m rarely stuck nor do I procrastinate about it.
When I feel like writing my blog, I just write something. With my blogs, I usually have the opposite of writer’s block. I just have too many posts to write. My backlog of “future posts” is probably in the hundreds now (although, I think I can scrap posts about an event that took place in 2013 among others). Not having enough time and energy is usually the only thing preventing me from writing more on my blogs.
Journaling? Writing on paper for myself? Fine. Give me a pen and paper and I’ll do it, for hours non-stop if needed. I don’t do it nearly enough. I understand its therapeutic value, and we all need to take care of our mental health these days, but I don’t know, I kinda write to be read. It feels strange to me to write something that no one else but me will ever read. I know that the point of journaling is not to be read, it’s the writing process itself that matters, but still…
Fiction? Oh by the way, if you’re here because you’re one of my blogs’ readers (most of you are), know that if all of my blogs have been quiet lately it’s because I started writing fiction again. Starting next week, regular life (with classes to prepare and to teach) will resume, so before that, for the past month and a half, I’ve spent most of my “writing time” with writing fiction. Not exactly a novel, although it’s starting to look a bit like it. Starting next week, the balancing act of managing too many things at once will start again. We’ll see where it leads us. However, this summer, it felt good not multitasking for once. But I’m getting off-topic here, and my next newsletter will probably be about writing fiction anyway.
So yeah, writer’s block when writing fiction? No, not really either. I have all of these stories in my mind, some have been simmering there for years, so when I sit and start writing, they come out. It doesn’t mean that they’re good. It doesn’t mean that they’re interesting, but I have no problem putting them on paper/computer.
I could go on.
Research? Back when I used to do academic research, I didn’t really enjoy doing it, but… writer’s block really wasn’t the issue either.
Where am I going with this you may be wondering at this point.
Well, here. My point is here, Substack. Told you this post was going to be meta.
I really love Substack. I think I love everything about it. The fact that it’s at the same time a blog, an e-mail, a journal if I want it to be. Its writing interface is so user-friendly and almost relaxing to use. It really is one of the best tools to create written content on the internet these days. Also, I guess it’s my cue to invite you to subscribe to this letter if you haven’t yet:
There is just one problem. I do experience writer’s block when I want to write here on Substack.
Why is that?
I thought about it and I think I came up with two explanations.
When I read other newsletters, they’re just so good. So well written, some with amazing visuals, all with amazing content (well, I don’t stay subscribed to the ones that I don’t find interesting). I feel that my newsletter is pretty lame in comparison. But maybe I’m setting the bar too high with this. A lot of the people I read are professional writers. They’ll spend hours and hours on one post. And they’ll do it because it’s their job. They actually get paid for it. You may have heard that a lot of writers and journalists with a big enough following have moved here in the past few years and they now basically make a living from their paid subscribers that they count in the hundreds. Well, that’s not me. I’ll never make a living from Substack (don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind it if I could). Also, if I have a few hours available to spend writing a text, I’ll spend it on an important blog post, or on fiction. If I start spending that time on Substack (should I?) it means that I’ll have to spend less time writing elsewhere. Too many ideas, not enough time. That’s always been the story of my life I guess. But all in all, these writers and I just don’t play in the same “Substack league,” I should keep that in mind and don’t beat myself up about it.
The second reason is more interesting. When I write - a blog post for example - I do my thing and I publish it on my blog. Then, I promote it on social media. People who are subscribed to the blog get a notification either by e-mail or on their RSS readers. Some random people find it through search engines. But whichever way readers come to the blog, the point is that they go to the blog. They use their browser, go to the site and read it (or not). I wrote something, I say “hey, I wrote something, interested?” and then people come or not.
But here with Substack, the process is a little bit different. My text invites itself into your inbox. Sure, you are subscribed, but I still impose myself on you a little bit. We all have inboxes full of too many things these days, and my newsletter is one more of those too many things.
So, yes, I feel that I must not waste your time. That I must write something you’ll find at least half interesting. And this is when writer’s block shows up.
Lately, I’ve been wanting to write here about a bunch of different thoughts I had about this or that, but I end up not doing it, because do you really care about those thoughts? Not sure…
So yes, that’s pretty much it.
It wasn’t that short (not that long either) and now you know why I don’t write that much here.
I’ll try to write more. Will you be interested? That is the question.
Actually, tell me what you think. Any topic you’d like me to talk about more? Or less?
Here is a short list of things I sometimes what to cover here:
Books I read.
TV shows and movies I watch.
Teaching (If I had the time, I think I’d create a newsletter just for this, the problem is I’d need a lot of time to have great content on it - see paragraphs above)
Thoughts about Japan and life here, beyond my blog’s topics
Thoughts about the news in general.
The list could go on, but that’s the topics I thought about writing about lately but ended up not doing.
Alright, that’s all for today.
If you like what you read, click on the little like button, I don’t know if that does anything beyond flattering my ego, but that’s something too. Share if you think that’s shareable content and click on the logo below to find me here and there on the web.
Take care and stay safe.